My husband tells me all the time that I complain a lot. Well, I have a confession. I like to complain. It feels good to get things off my chest. It caters to my fleshly nature, which is somewhat satisfying – like relieving an itch. Which brings me to my next confession. I’ve deleted people’s status updates from showing up on my facebook because they are too positive. Yes, you read that correctly.
Lest I sound like the biggest crabapple in the world, let me explain. Although the power of life and death is in the tongue, it’s hard to stomach Christians who have their heads in the clouds. You can deny the reality of day-to-day life and its challenges until you’re blue in the face, but that won’t change the facts. Life can be tough, folks. It ain’t always fun and games.
On the other hand, complaining all the time is not the way to go either. I’m sure people have deleted my status updates from showing up in their facebook newsfeeds because I’m too much of a grump! As with everything in life, it’s all about balance.
Lately, the Holy Spirit has been convicting me about the ever-flowing stream words that pour out of my mouth. (Okay, let’s be real. It’s more of a perpetual tidal wave than a stream.) Psalm 19:4 says, “Let the words that I speak and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord.”
Words are the overflow of our thoughts. If you think thoughts that please God, you will speak words that please God.
What kinds of thoughts are pleasing to God? The Bible says that we are to think about things that are true, noble, right, lovely, and admirable (Phil. 4:8). We are to have a thankful heart in all circumstances (Phil 4:6).
I’ve thought long and hard about how to apply this in my day-to-day life. I think I’m starting to get the hang of it. For example, when I have a day in which the morning sickness is especially bad, I focus on the fact that we only ever planned on having two children so this is the last time I’ll go through this. Plus, the reward (a child) is certainly worth some temporary pain! As one friend said, “The light at the end of this tunnel is very, very bright.”
Here is another example. My husband works long shifts and my 17-month-old can be a bit of a handful. However, as another friend recently pointed out, I’m incredibly blessed that I can stay home with her rather than having to focus on a career. And since absence makes the heart grow fonder, I don’t take Dave’s presence in our home for granted. I’m so thankful when we have even five minutes to sit down and enjoy a tea together. And our weekly family days feel like Christmas! Oh how I treasure those moments!
Or how about this? Our house might not be the most beautiful home or situated in the most desirable neighbourhood, but it’s our very own and it suits our needs perfectly. And although the neighbours fight loudly, get drunk, and smoke pot (maybe that’s why I’ve been craving potato chips), we’ve started to build many positive relationships in the “hood”. We have the amazing privilege of shining God’s light wherever we are. I wouldn’t budge from this spot if someone paid me a million dollars. I’m right where the Lord wants me to be.
God blesses us so much in so many ways. It’s really not difficult at all to sit down and see His hand at work in our lives. You don’t have to deny reality or stick your head in the clouds in order to be thankful in all circumstances. It’s all about looking on the bright side.
And on that note, I’ll cease my current tidal wave of words by sharing my new favourite Bible passage, which sums it up better than I ever could:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”