We've all done it. Our backs hurt, we're tired, we're hungry, the food's too salty, it's no fun, our hair is awful, we just don't wanna.

To make such beefs a bit lighter, my husband and I like to say, "Whine whine whine, moan moan moan, complain complain complain!"

Think about it. How often do you leap joyfully out of bed to start your day? When was the last time you thought happy thoughts when you saw the long lines at the grocery store? It's human nature to complain; we're sinful beings, and we want things our way—and preferably right now!

It always irked me in college when someone would complain about a school problem.  Whether it was something with the administration, the food (although there were never complaints about the tomato soup, people complained they didn't serve it often enough!), or a homework assignment, I always heard complaining, but rarely a positive word spoken.

A matter of attitude choice

It was the same thing at work—someone shows up tired, someone else has a sore throat, someone else's pencil just broke. Small potatoes, yes, but it's amazing how an attitude like that can color your day. Whine whine whine, moan moan moan, complain complain complain!

Again, remembering back to college, I once went to see the famous clown Patch Adams speak on campus. I have to admit that I don't remember much of what he said, but I do remember him saying that you have to choose to be happy. You have to CHOOSE to be happy. That struck me then as making a lot of sense; after all, it's our reaction to something that determines our disposition, not the thing itself.

This is why my favorite verse is Proverbs 17:22:

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Complaining will only bring you down, depress you, and take up way too much energy, especially when you focus too much on whatever it is you're complaining about. (Traffic, anyone?)

So, what do you do?  Take a deep breath, say a quick prayer, and try to find something good in whatever it is you're facing, be it dust bunnies or someone else's actions.

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without a fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe...” (Philippians 2:14-15)

Strength in joy

We are to be Christ's hands and feet in this world (we are part of the body of Christ—Ephesians 4:4-6), be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13), show Christ to the lost (Acts 26:18); how does complaining do any of that? It doesn't do anyone any good to gripe and moan, especially about something you can't change.

It's a tough thing to remember, let alone implement, when you have to get up with the baby for the third time or run out to the store late at night for the sack of flour you forgot earlier. But that is when you call on the Lord to draw on the strength he grants. Draw on that joy, remember your salvation in Him! After all, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10)!

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing if your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:2-3)

And as the theme song for “The Dick van Dyke Show” says, “A smile is just a frown that's turned upside-down, so smile and that frown will defrost.” Drop that complaint and choose joy!

See You In The Round!

*Scripture quotations are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.