I know I’ve been doing a lot of complaining lately. “I’m moving. I have to pack. I’m so busy.” Whine, whine, whine. I’m sure you’re all sick of it, and I apologize. Today, I’m making a conscious effort to be thankful for my circumstances and for what they mean.
I read this the other day, and I should probably tattoo it on my arm.
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Philippians 4:6-7, The Message
And then, a couple of days later, I read this:
“When I am consumed by my problems – stressed out about my life, my family, and my job – I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God’s command to always rejoice. In other words, that I have a “right” to disobey God because of the magnitude of my responsibilities.
Worry implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives.
Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control.
Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we’ve been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won’t be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God’s strength, our problems are small, indeed.”
From Crazy Love by Francis Chan
I had a hard time finding a stopping point on that one. My reading both of these things came with impeccable timing. Divine providence? Of course. It’s nearly Thanksgiving, the time of year when I’m supposed to reflect on all the wonderful gifts that God has given me this year, and I’m complaining. Why? Because I have to move to a new house. First thing I’m thankful for? The fact that I have a house to live in. I’m not being kicked out into the street. I have a home. I nearly wrote a “but…” I stopped myself. I am thankful to have a home.
Where to go next? I am thankful that I have two beautiful, healthy children. Although, I’m sure if I had sick or handicapped children, I’d still love them and think they were beautiful, so maybe the adjectives are unnecessary. I’m thankful for my children.
I’m thankful for family and the opportunities that I get to see them. I complain that it’s not often enough, but we get to spend Thanksgiving with my parents and Christmas with John’s parents this year. It’s good. I’m grateful that we have family to spend the holidays with.
I’m thankful for my church. I’ve been a little overwhelmed with e-mail and invites for all the things that are happening at our church this December, but thank God for them! It means our church is alive and well. And even though our calendar is quickly filling up, these are the events that I’m most excited about.
I can go on, but I feel like this post is growing a bit long. As things get crazier and busier as we pass Thanksgiving and barrel toward Christmas, if you catch me complaining, call me on it. I’m not kidding. Please remind me that at least I have a house to live in, clothes to pack, gifts to wrap, kids to drive to school, etc. Maybe I’ll do the same for you.