Let me start off by saying that by no means am I a writer. My biggest struggle in school was essays. Ugh, I hated them! My husband, on the other hand, can spit out words on paper so easily that it makes me want to go eat a whole container of Nutella. (Editor’s Note: She would do this anyway.) I told him the other day that I wished I knew him in High School because I would have paid him with burritos to do my essays.
With that being said, when God lays something on your heart and He asks you to share it with others, you obey, regardless of inabilities, right? So here I am, writing this for our church blog to hopefully encourage…or should I say challenge you on how you can stand out the right way in this crazy world that we live in.
This year God has really been dealing with me on two specific areas: being content and not complaining. I guess those must be my top two struggles these days since He seems to bring that up to me on a consistent basis. To me, they seem to go hand in hand. If I am content, I am less likely to complain; and if I am complaining, I’m not content, right?
In Philippians 2:14, it says to “Do everything without complaining or disputing…” And if you read on to verse 15, it gives you the reason why God wants us not to complain, “So that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you SHINE AS LIGHTS IN THE WORLD.”
There are many right and wrong ways to stand out in the world, but here God shows us how we can stand out in the right way.
While that may seem like a simple task, in today’s world, and in my own little bubble, I see it and even find myself complaining more often than not.
In all reality, isn’t it so much more pleasant to be around those who don’t complain about every little thing than those who do? I want to be pleasant to be around!
So, let me get real with ya for just a minute. I will be the first to admit that I have struggled with complaining. I have gotten a lot better recently since God has been dealing with me about it, but I have to make a conscious effort NOT to complain.
I will give you an example of one of my most recent complaints. As lame as it might sound, it has to do with a materialistic item: our two-door Chevy Cobalt. Now, if you are a parent of a child that is in a car seat and you have a two door, there is definitely an opportunity to complain. I hear a lot of people say, “the struggle is real.” And let me tell ya, I do struggle to get my 20 lb child that is in his 20 lb car seat in the back seat of our two door car.
Every time I put him in there, I am wishing I had my sister’s flexibility. That’s a real struggle, yeah? While our car runs great, gets great gas mileage and is paid off, I still find something to complain about.
“It’s not big enough. I WANT a bigger vehicle!” “Ah! My back hurts when I put my kid in!!” “We ain’t gonna be able to fit another kid in here! You know that, right!?”
All these things I have said somewhat recently to my bearded husband and to a few family and friends. And while most of these complaints might be true, it really doesn’t give me any right to voice them in the way I do…as complaints.
Yes, we will need a bigger car soon as our family grows, but not now (which is when I would like it). We could easily go get a car on payments, but Josh and I are so adamant about not going into debt again, that we will save up for our next vehicle and pay cash.
So while waiting, I can stand out in the wrong way by complaining about not having the bigger vehicle that we “need,” or I can stand out in the right way by being content and thanking God for what I do have: a safe, great running vehicle for our current family of three.
Doesn’t that bring God so much more glory than sitting there complaining about it?
As history shows in the Bible, if you complain, it takes way longer to receive what you want or need if you are sitting there like a whining like a baby about it. It doesn’t make the situation any better, but a majority of the time you are stuck in that situation a lot longer than you need to be due to your complaints.
Look at the Israelites. What should have been an 11 day trip, turned into a 40 year, awful journey to reach their Promised Land and it was all because of their complaining!
I’m sure it is a pleasant aroma to God when I can sit there with contentment and say, “Thank you Lord for our current vehicle. I’m so thankful we have a nice, good working vehicle. Thank you for being soooo good to us!”
I want to do everything I possibly can to stand out in this world, in the right way. So, maybe it is as simple as: