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Does Not Complain

What is Maturity: a Series of Mini Blogs 7/16

· Joy Guide,Maturity Blog Series

The Greek word translated “complainer” means literally “one who is discontented with his lot in life.”

Seriously. Stop complaining. Because first of all your blessings so far outweigh whatever it is your complaining about, and secondly because chances are good you actually CHOOSE this circumstance that you're now complaining about.

Using myself as an example:

  1. "It's so cold! I hate being cold!" Well, Tabitha, you live somewhere that gets cold. Find a way to live somewhere else or stop complaining about it and learn to at least cope.
  2. "I'm bored." There are 18 things you could be doing right now that are all more productive that your whining, so find your list and and do stuff.
  3. "I'm so sore today." I chose to be a ballet dancer and teacher. Soreness is my life. Soreness is literally the physical manifestation of living my dream. ENJOY THAT SORENESS, TABS.

Common complaints:

  1. "I hate this job." Cool, that's fine. Then get a new one. Don't complain about it; take action.
  2. "This apartment is the actual worst." Awesome. Then move.
  3. "My kids are out of control and never listen." Good, this is totally in your power to change as their partent.
  4. "I'm so out of shape I can't do that activity." Glad to see you've recognized a fun new challenge in your life! Now you get to work your way up to the activities you want to do!
  5. "I'm so fat." Are you actually fat? Yes? Then start making small changes to lose it.
  6. "I'm always broke." That sucks, what are you doing to save and track spending?

Not only is complaining counter productive, but it trains your mind to focus on the negative which in turn teaches your mind and emotions that there must be no solution, which kills your joys, which then leads to feeling miserable, which is suffering, and the whole thing is avoidable.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning. (Philippians 2:14)

What if it's legit though...

As I'm writing this I'm thinking about a virtual friend who is currently in Africa picking up her newly adopted babies. I know, that's a whole story in itself, right?! So breeze past that for a moment please...

I'm addicted to following her IG stories about all their experiences not only as first time parents to babies, but adopting children, in a third world country, in Africa where it's a thousand degrees hot, where English is not the first language, and where diapers are 30 for $50. A few times in her stories she's alluded to complaining and in my head I was like, "YOU GET TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THIS, GIRL."

I mean, her situation makes the things I am complaining about so silly ("Whyyyy isn't there a Trader Joe's in Big Bear?! Ugh! I have to drive 45 MINUTES to a Trader Joe's; it's the worst.") Meanwhile, this woman is literally driving through mud and traffic you only understand if you've left the US just to get diapers.

Well, one of my FAVORITE things about following this friend I've never met is that she ALWAYS expresses the discomfort but then almost immediately counters herself with all the things she is SUPER thankful for! It's incredibly refreshing and makes her a magnet for others! She's uplifting, encouraging, and inspiring in her daily choice to revel in the joys and blessings of her life EVEN IN a really tough, uncomfortable time.

Seriously, go follow her and her adventures.

(Seriously, go follow her. I linked the image.)

What if you and I did that right now in this moment? Think about what you're uncomfortable with or unhappy about. Now put it in perspective with all the things that are WONDERFUL about your life.

I'm NOT saying it's not ok to acknowledge things that are uncomfortable or challenging. I'm saying don't get stuck in it; counter it with gratitude so that your joy can bring you back to balance.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Gratitude.

A Gratitude practice is the BEST antidote for this extremely first world problem. A gratitude practice can be done in many ways and always works wonders in your life. Here are a few ways to start you gratitude practice today:

  1. Gratitude Instragram Challenge: challenge yourself to post one thing you're grateful for every day for a month.
  2. Gratitude Journal: daily write out all the things you're thankful for.
  3. Gratitude Reminders: a bracelet, a charm hanging from your rear view mirror, or key chain, the TV remote, your wallet, designate SOMETHING that reminds you to think about things you are blessed by every time you see it.
  4. Gratitude Prayer: in your prayer habit START your daily prayers with what you're thankful for.
  5. Gratitude Mediation: in your meditation practice meditate on those things that you are truly grateful for.

Gratitude is a fundamental element of joy! I dare you to find someone who is joyful who isn't also grateful!

Your gratitude will wipe out your complaining faster than anything else possibly can. This is a key practice in the Joy Guide journey that I myself have come to ADORE. It's also a powerful tool in the battle to always speak well.

Start now! Catch yourself complaining! Start hearing how much everyone around us complains! Start noticing how incredibly good it feels to be around people who are grateful and don't complain! Let's be those people!

Giving thanks always and for everything. (Ephesians 5:20)

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