I walked into my kitchen late one night to find bread crumbs and some dirty dishes on the counter. The dishwasher had not been run and had plenty of room for more dishes. My first thought was, Ugh. Again? It takes 15 seconds to rinse these off and put them in the dishwasher.
Y’all are probably nicer than me, so this isn’t an issue for you. I promise I’m not Mommie Dearest, but I often find myself in these types of situations.
Remember: Grumbling reveals an unsatisfied heart. It is the quiet complaining I do when no one else is around. It is my discontent with my circumstances. Usually over unimportant things. Notice those my’s?If I’m going to get over grumbling, I must get over myself and my expectations.
The key is fixing my eyes on Christ.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Grumbling and discontent are a couple of weights that slow us down. It is easy to get tripped up by them.
Christ set the example for us. When He faced the trial of His life, He focused on future joy—being with His Father and spending eternity with you and me! He had His heart and mind focused on those He loved as He endured the cross.
In the same way, we can make Him bigger than whatever is going on around us. When we focus on Christ, petty things become less significant. This is my strategy for overcoming my grumbling nature.
In 31 Days of Praise, Ruth Myers says:
As fire melts unrefined silver, bringing the impurities to the surface, so trials bring the “scum” to the top in your life. When you praise God in the midst of a trial, you cooperate with His plan to remove the scum; when you complain, you resist His plan and stir the impurities right back into your character … Through praise you focus your attention on God. You acknowledge Him as your source of overcoming power.1PRAISE is the best strategy for overcoming grumbling!
My plan to praise?
Worship Music–I loaded the Worship playlist on my phone with my favorite worship songs.
Scripture Stickies–I have sticky notes with my favorite verses in key places around my house. I need these reminders in front of me. Especially verses that remind me how to think and to give grace to the people in my world.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8)
Praising the Lord is easy when circumstances are comfortable, but sometimes it’s a sacrifice.
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrificeof praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. (Hebrews 13:15 NIV)
There are many other things we can do to move our focus away from difficult situations. But a person can only work on so much at one time! As I mentioned before, this change is going to take a while. I will add strategies as I go along.
Difficult situations provide us with opportunities to honor the Lord.
When we praise God in the midst of our circumstances, we demonstrate our trust in Him and His care over our lives.
Instead of grumbling, when we give grace to those involved in our situation, we display the character of Christ.
It is then the world sees that there is hope beyond themselves–hope beyond circumstances. It gives credence to our message and can open doors to sharing more about the gospel with our loved ones.
It’s important to note a sticky situation surfaces, it needs to be handled. Sometimes difficult dialog is part of the solution. And that’s OK.
But those dirty dishes that had me frustrated? I had a choice. Would I grumble or give grace? My girls ate a late dinner after a late practice. When I looked up from the counter, I saw them buried under a pile of books, focused on their homework that was due the next day. When I remembered that, my whole attitude changed. It took me about 15 seconds to rinse the dishes and put them in the dishwasher. Did it really matter who did it? Let’s give grace without grumbling.
1Myers, R. (1994). 31 Days of Praise: Enjoying God Anew (p. 127). Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Books.