Friday, October 9, 2015

How to complain the right way

I know how to complain. You do, too.

This isn't fair.
I will never dig out of this.
Nobody appreciates me.
I wish I had nicer things!
Why can't I make any more money?
I don't have any friends.
Why is this happening to me??

It's all really pathetic on paper yet pretty important in our heads and hearts. We want to give credence to our feelings, so we express them to a friend, a spouse, social media, or some unsuspecting car at a stoplight. Does it help?

Some. Verbal statements seem more accurate than fleeting thoughts, so it's nice to express how we feel. The hard part comes next--how to be positive. So we give our complaints the respect they deserve, and we speak them out. We're frustrated that God's not doing a better job of meeting our needs, and we don't see any escape routes.

In times like these, I turn to the Psalms. David wrote at least 20 specific laments, and he's a doggone good complainer. But here's the interesting thing--David complains to God. Before his declarations settle in to his psyche, he responds to his own complaints with faith. He gives himself the answers that seem hard to believe. Yet he knows they are true:

God is good.
God loves me.
God will protect me.
God will avenge my enemies.
God has a plan for my life.
God will use this hardship for good in my life.
God has blessed me a hundred times before; He will bless me again.

David let those words sink in, and he believed them even more.

So don't just complain about your issues. Turn to God for help. Make your laments and believe that He cares. Plain ol' complaining is just a waste of time.

image from jesusplus.org