Venting, complaining, word-vomit - it's all the same. These are signs of ungratefulness. It's okay to share an experience or tell your friend, family member, or spouse about something that upset you that day or ask for advice or guidance. The line should be drawn, however, when that topic, experience, or feeling becomes a dwelling place.
The other day I was overwhelmed and frustrated. I got home from work exhausted and on edge when my husband asked me if I was okay. That's when the flood gates shot open. I just unloaded. In the midst of it, I noticed the incredibly bright light that always shines into our bedroom window (it's been bothering me since we moved there) and shifted my complaining to how much I hate our complex. In that moment I didn't think once about how so many people have suffered these last couple years because of the pandemic and now because of the state of our economy. Millions of families have lost their homes, jobs, health insurance, and freedom, and here I am complaining about my home. My fridge is full. I still have a job. I have clothes. I have a bed. I have literally everything that I need. I am lacking nothing. God has provided for me completely. I have NOTHING to complain about.
What's worse is that I will catch myself thinking of all the terrible things that have and that are happening to me (victim mentality much?). I'll have little conversations in my head with people I parted ways with years ago, rehashing feelings I thought I'd said good bye to.
And don't get me started on the little things: my car isn't cool enough. My coffee tasted awful this morning - I wish I had enough money to buy coffee everyday. My apartment is small and the complex is dirty. We will never move out of here. Why can't I have a more proportionate body? I wish I had a better job....
See what I mean?
If you were around me while I said those things, would you think I was a grateful person?
Now, I know I'm human. It's a fact that I am a human being with emotions and feelings and blah blah blah. That doesn't give me a greenlight to give into the routine of complaining and saying whatever I'm feeling. In Proverbs 29:11 it says "a fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back (KJV)." We must filter our words because what we say is just as effective as what we do.
And no, I am not talking about the Law of Attraction. I am talking about how saying something so many times can get us to start believing the lie. If you stare at yourself in the mirror and call yourself "ugly" everyday, at a certain point you are going to start acting ugly, or stop taking care of yourself because you figure "what's the point? If I'm ugly, nothing can cover that up." Complaining and venting may have you feeling relief in that moment, but down the line the negativity turns into ungratefulness. This is where self-control needs to kick in. Having self-control in all aspects of life, but especially this one, is the key to turning your life around. There's a reason it is a fruit of the Spirit. Thankfulness is also a fruit of the Spirit and (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV) we are called to walk in the Spirit constantly (Galatians 5:16-17, 24-25 NKJV) and to die to our flesh daily (Luke 9:23-25, 1 Peter 2:24, Galatians 5:17 NKJV).
We are also told to guard our hearts and minds in Jesus (Philippians 4:7 KJV). You can't guard your inner most parts of you when you are allowing the things of this world to bother you. When things bother you, the venting and complaining starts. You think "I don't deserve this. Why can't people just treat me with respect? Why can't I just get my way? Why can't I have everything I want?" Trust me, I was a pro at it and I still struggle with it from time to time. Thankfully, God has done a work in my heart and it will continue. The transformation that has taken place lately is something I never thought I needed. I have woken up to my incessant complaining as pointless and ungrateful. When we focus on what we don't have we train ourselves into thinking that's our reality. Even if I was broke, homeless, and alone I would still have my salvation. I would still have hope. I would still have Jesus - the only one I need and already have.
I know we live in a world where complaining is encouraged. It's why we go out to brunch. It's why we have "girls night". It's the foundation of most friendships; but if you are constantly renewing your mind, guarding your heart, and filtering your thoughts and words, you will only see the blessings, making it hard to see anything else.
Here are some things to do this Thanksgiving week:
- Sit down and write out your blessings. Elaborate on them. Think about certain people, experiences, things that God has blessed you with and spend time in prayer thanking Him.
- Hand write a "Thank you" card to each person you are thankful for. Give it to them Thanksgiving Day or send them out. There's nothing better than an unexpected letter!
- Re-evaluate certain friendships and relationships. Are there people in your life that are always complaining? Are they willing to change their perspective? Does it feel like they are dragging you down? Who you hang out with is who you are.
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you all have an amazing food-coma filled Thanksgiving! God is good. He is seated on the throne. He always fulfills His promises on earth and in heaven.
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love and mercy endures FOREVER! (Psalm 107:1)
Sincerely + with love,
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