Today’s post comes from CuriouslyQuizzical – AKA Alex. 🙂 I really like what she has to say – if you do, too, you should definitely check her out at her blog and if you’re inspired by her post today, she asks that you please head over to Compassion International so that your eyes might be opened in the way hers were. 🙂
Definition; Complain: to express grief, pain, or discontent <complaining about the weather>
I think my iPad is broken. Well, not quite broken, broken, but it’s messing up loading apps and it won’t let me hear my music. My car needs new tires and an alignment, which is going to cost a little over $800. I have the money, but now I can’t buy the video game and keyboard that I wanted. I am way behind in my manager classes and I’m afraid I’m going to fail the test. The house feels likes it’s always a mess and I feel like I’m always doing laundry. I’m sick. My appetite is horrible, so I hardly eat. All in all, my life stinks at the moment.
Ever have one of those days? It feels like everything is against you and you just wish you could close your eyes and it would all fix itself?
And yet, the things we tend to complain about, are things we don’t really need. God has provided for us and blessed us in abundance, especially America. Did you know that even the poor in the USA are better off then a vast majority of the world’s population?
“In fact, America’s bottom ventile is still richer than most of the world: That is, the typical person in the bottom 5 percent of the American income distribution is still richer than 68 percent of the world’s inhabitants….America’s poorest are, as a group, about as rich as India’s richest.” (http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2011/02/01/study_americas_poor_are_better_off_than_vast_majority_of_world_population)
Now, I’m not telling those without a home to “suck it up”, (because I have absolutely NO RIGHT to say that.) I’m just pointing out that we, America, are doing pretty well.
We complain a lot. According to the The Complaint-Free World website, “the average person complains between 15-30 times each day.” (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/understand-other-people/201206/giving-complaining#)
Yikes! That’s a lot! Don’t believe me? Try the Bracelet Challenge; you wear a bracelet (that’s easy to remove) and every time you complain, you move it to the other wrist. You’ll be surprised (maybe even shocked) at how many times you complain, usually about little things, like the weather, your family, school, etc….
Complaining affects us in a lot of ways, usually negatively.
“Take a moment to consider how many things you complain about in a given day. The weather, public transportation and traffic, your spouse, your kids, your friends, your boss, the movie you just saw and hated, the meal that arrived cold in the restaurant, the sandwich shop that got your order wrong, the elevator that took too long, the reality television show that booted off your favorite contestant, and the list goes on and on.
When we have so many dissatisfactions and frustrations, yet believe we’re powerless to do much about them or to get the results we want, we are left feeling helpless, hopeless, victimized, and bad about ourselves. Obviously, one such incident won’t harm our mental health, but we have so many complaints, this scenario happens many times a day. This accumulation of frustration and helplessness can add up over time and impact our mood, our self-esteem, and even our general mental health.”
Yes, complaining is needed sometimes and can have some positive effects. For example, we encourage customers to let us know how McDonalds can improve on our cleanliness, quality and service…we should view customers complaints as “gifts” because they tell us what we should improve and how we can do better. Complaining can help others, whether people or businesses, how they can improve and better themselves. Sometimes, this doesn’t always work out, but that doesn’t defeat the fact that it does work at times.
Unfortunately, we tend to complain about anything and everything that does not meet our standards. And this is the kind of complaining that does nothing but breed discontent.
Numbers 11 is a very powerful chapter and one of my favorites. Earlier in the book, we are shown the miracle of God providing manna to his people while they were in the wilderness. But that’s not where the miracle ends. It wasn’t just that God provided food, it was also that he provided GOOD food for them. This manna had all the nutrients and vitamins they needed to get through the long day of walking.
“It (manna) was not a monotonous food. That fact of the matter is…when they went through the wilderness, there feet did not swell. They did not get beriberi from eating the manna. That manna had all the necessary vitamins in it. That manna gave them complete nourishment.
There were many ways the manna could be prepared. Mrs. Moses probably compiled a cookbook with one hundred and one recipes for manna. The Spirit of God is saying this was an adequate food, a marvelous food, and he is showing to us that it was this food which the children of Israel despised.” (J. Vernon McGee, “Thru The Bible”, pg. 480.)
Now before you condemn the Israelites for their dissatisfaction with the providence of God, look at what we do. We complain about everything. Remember, the average person complains 15-30 times a day. How often have you complained about some wonderful, fulfilling provision from God? Maybe when you had Tuna Casserole three times this week? When you had clothes to wear, but your favorite was in the wash? When you have an ipad that works realy well, that you use for school, and games, and writing, but the music doesn’t work? *cough cough* *blushes*
“And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the Lord, the fire was quenched. And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the Lord burnt among them.”
God hates complaining. He hates discontent and murmuring and complaining. God killed some of his people because they were discontent. They saw what God had done for them, spit in his face and said, “It is not enough”.
Are you dissatisfied with the providence of God? How many times have you complained about being stuck in traffic. How many times have you complained about a certain song being played on the radio for the ten thousandth time? How many times have you complained about having “nothing to wear”? I know I have…more then I would like to admit, and I’m guessing, so have you.
Thank the Lord for His mercy and grace.
We have a chance to move on from that. To turn away from our murmurings and discontent. Of course, we will never be perfect and we will slip up, but praise God, we are forgiven and I can start over.
Before I leave, I want to introduce you to someone who, although I’ve only known her since February, has become very close to my heart.
Her name is Marzia Akter.
She is 4 years old and lives in Bangladesh with her grandparents. Sometimes, her grandfather doesn’t have a job, sometimes he does. Marzia is responsible for running errands in her home, a big responsibility for a 4 year old girl. She goes to pre-school and Bible class.
Marzia lives on the plains of Birisiri. Housing isn’t very good there, and are made out of dirt floors, mud walls and corrugated iron floors.
The food there isn’t the best, either. It consists of fish, rice and lentils. Kind of boring compared to the McDonalds we complain about. Common health problems are typhoid, skin diseases, viral fevers, colds and chickenpox. But even if she became sick, Marzia might not be able to get the medical attention she needs. Her grandfather doesn’t make a lot of money; maybe about $37 per month.
She lives in poverty. Her family barely makes it through the day. They scrape by, just like everybody else. They probably complain. They probably complain a lot, maybe even curse God for giving them such a bad life. But it’s not my job to tell them to “shut up and suck it up”. That’s God’s job. My job is to realize I have the ability to help these people. I have the ability to help Marzia make it through. And that’s what I do.
Every month, I send some money (via Compassion International) that will provide her Bible teaching, nutritious food, medical treatment, health screening, indoor and outdoor games, special celebrations, tuition, tutoring and educational materials. Not a lot, compared to what we have, but it’s what she needs to survive.
Marzia opened my eyes. I saw, through her, that I have what a need. I’m the one who needs to “shut up and suck it up”. I’m the one who needs to stop complaining. I have life essentials and also toys to play with when I’m bored. I have what I need to survive.
But most importantly, I have Christ. It’s a wonderful feeling when you finally realize that. And I hope you realize that soon.
“If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.”
― Regina Brett, author and newspaper columnist.