At church this Sunday we had a guest presenter, Victoria Cade, the wife of our youth pastor, who also does ministry work. She was a great speaker as it turned out and, as always happens, the days that I least want to be at church the sermon ends up being the most applicable to my life.
I complain a lot. I ‘grumble’, which was a word that Victoria used quite a bit. Most of my grumbling has to do with work, but some of it is about other stuff…related to my husband, or my friends, or my family or whatever. I complain a lot. I am easily unhappy in some way or another. I do not always react when when I am not pleased, I am not horrible flexible when in situations that change or don’t meet my needs.
This isn’t news to me, I knew this before Sunday’s sermon. In fact, my inflexibility when faced with change was even something I have been working on for a while (the complaining – not so much). But I had never considered what my attitude when it comes to these things – my complaining and grumbling – what it had to do with my faith.
Philippians 2:14 reads: “Do everything without complaining and arguing”. Um, yeah. Well, I fail horribly on that front. But let’s be honest, that’s just one of many fronts on which I fail. And yet still, the verse spoke to me. It made me think a bit about my attitude towards life and what it says about me. I don’t want to be a negative person who complains about everything – in fact, I often notice that flaw in others. And yet, I am so quick to overlook it in myself. I do it all the time though. I complain about how much is wrong with the educational system, or how poorly parents parent, or how the Church is so broken (which it is). But none of that complaining improves the situations. All it does is serve to bring me down further.
Victoria made another great point in her sermon. When I complain I hide God’s light from the world. I am not a good ambassador of God when I grumble. And in that moment of frustration it is hard to see that. It is hard to be rational enough to realize that I am not showing the world (even if that ‘world’ is just my husband in the privacy of our car on the way to the gym) God’s light and in fact, I might be robbing someone else of their happiness. Because let’s face it, when you are in a good mood, there is nothing worse than someone who is miserable.
So what now? Well, perhaps some prayer and a lot focus on being less grumbly. It can only get better if I try.