Complaining

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"Complaining" by Sheri Wohlfert (CatholicMom.com)

Via Pixabay (2017), CC0 Public Domain

The pain you have been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming. Romans 8:18

I heard a great story the other day that seems to fit perfectly with the times! There are some orders of monks who live very austere lives. There was a time when they observes strict rules of silence. In one monastery a monk was allowed to say only two words every five years, and those would be spoken to the abbot. After  his first five years of silence, one monk said, “Food cold.” At the end of five more years he said, “Bed hard.” Finally after his fifteenth year in the monastery, he said, “I quit.”

“I’m not surprised,” said the abbot. “All you’ve done is complain since you got here.”

A group of ladies I often pray with decided to fast from complaining during Lent so we had a great discussion about how it starts, what it does and how to fix it! I’ve come to the conclusion that complaining is contagious. The other thing I’ve  noticed about complaining is that it can cloud a person’s perspective almost to the  point of seeing nothing but those things that are “wrong” with the world. I don’t recall the Gospel telling us to go forth and COMPLAIN but sometimes we get stuck in complain mode and don’t know how to move forward. The other side of complaining is peace and joyful contentment. It’s not perfection or total satisfaction but rather a clear view of “God’s got this,” I’m not the boss of the world and I’m only going to be judged on my own life, I don’t have to save or judge the world.

Here are a few things that might help get us over to the other side of complaining to that place that will allow us to live a life pleasing to the Father.

*Pray for peace in your heart, your home and in your world.

*Flip the switch. When you start thinking those complaining thoughts, catch yourself and flip the thought around. You can look at a rosebush and see the thorns or the rose buds.

*Vent with a friend who can offer perspective. There are always two ways to look at things and sometimes we just need to spit things out in a good conversation with someone who will challenge us to look at the stinky stuff through different eyes.

*For every complaint you lodge, match it with two things you’re grateful for.

*Stop the judging! We see a word on the page. . . . God sees the whole novel and we have no idea what happened in the last chapter. To judge and complain cripples our capacity to show mercy.

*Act and think mercifully!

*If you know what needs to change, then be the change you wish to see.

*Do the things that make you happy.

*If social media and TV are fueling your complaining, turn things off. FOMO (fear of missing out) has us chasing our tails trying to decide which side is right, wrong, good, bad, winning or losing.

*What will change the world, peace and mercy or complaining and fussing?

I remember when the boys were little and they were playing baseball together. They had some great coaches, but one in particular I remember because he had such a great way of teaching the boys things that mattered in baseball and in life. He would always tell the boys that at a game there were so many things going on at once it was hard to know what to pay attention to. He would yell to the boys, “Eyes on me boys, eyes on me!” When they followed that simple rule, he could lead and guide and coach them. He could help them through tricky situations and lead them to success. I imagine the Father looking down on each of us saying that same thing, “Eyes on me kids, eyes on me!”

A Seed To Plant:  Choose a couple things from the list and make a commitment to a week free of complaining.

Blessings on your day!

Copyright 2017 Sheri Wohlfert

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About Author

Sheri is a Catholic wife, mom, speaker and teacher. She uses her great sense of humor and her deep faith to help others discover the joy of being a child of God. Her roots are in Kansas but her home is in Michigan. The mission of her ministry is to encourage others to take a good look at the simple ways we can all find God doing joyful, blessed, amazing things smack dab in the middle of the laundry, ball games, farm chores and the hundred other things we manage to cram into a day. Sheri also writes at JoyfulWords.org.

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