I did not land in jail today so today has been a complete success. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. Today I did not have to have my mother come bail me out of the Hamblen County jail, so the day ended on a very high note.
Perhaps I need to explain myself….
I like to think of myself as passionate, others may call me emotional. Expressive is how I would describe my reactions sometimes, while those who know me would say dramatic. In certain situations I like to think of myself as commanding, but I am pretty sure that some of my friends would say bossy.
Yes, I am the stereo-typical redhead. Fiery, opinionated, strong willed, and mouthy. While I like to keep peace and harmony and go with the flow, I am also more then willing to let you know how I feel…. especially if I feel I am right and you are wrong. And we all know that I am usually in the right. :0
My list of annoyances are pretty simple. Lukewarm coffee, cigarette smoke, music I can hear from the car next to me when my windows are rolled up, being talked to when I am trying to read, people who wear their pajamas to the store, and having to see ANY Khardashian on a tv, magazine, or newspaper. All of these things are just annoying enough that I get irritated and cranky.
However, if you REALLY want to set my temper ablaze, there is one thing that will get you a guaranteed first row seat to the fire……
I HATE whining! Constant moaning and groaning about how you feel, how cruddy your life is, how much you hate your job, how much your significant other annoys you, What a jerk your boss is, or how unfair life is…. these to me are like nails on chalkboard. The mere beginning of whine from someone and I feel my whole body tense, and yes I admit it, I want to smack a face.
Now I am not talking about genuine issues that we need to share and express. What I am talking about is the never ending, never happy, always dissatisfied rambling. You know the type of person I am talking about…
Always has an excuse why they are miserable
Forever seeing the glass as half empty
Have someone in mind? You know you do. In fact you may have thought 2 or 3 people who can fit that description. It seems they are everywhere and forever being the Debbie Downer in our day.
From an early age I was taught that whining was an unaccepted practice and would not be tolerated in our house hold. Being raised by two strong Southern women, My Mother and my Grandmother, I had instilled in me the belief that every day is a gift and you make the most of it. Bad day? Go to bed early, tomorrow will be better. In my 40 and half years of life I don’t believe I have ever heard either my Mother or my Grandmother groan or moan about ANYTHING. Seriously. And these are two women that at some points in their lives had legitimate reasons to maybe give a little groan about something.
Since it was not tolerated in my house, I totally failed at learning to tolerate others outside my home who were free to whine. Now of course I went through those typical teenage years where EVERYTHING about my life was wrong: My hair, my weight, the fact I had to share a room with my annoying sister, the clothes I wore, the strict discipline my mother and grandmother enforced. You get the picture. HOWEVER, my whining was kept to a minimum and I knew better then to whine in front of my mama, and my grandmother. Even if I did, I would regret it soon after. TRUST ME.
I have never understood the point of whining. What does it help? The answer is, the only thing constant complaining and whining accomplishes is making us cynical, resentful, and bitter. It fosters the idea that we deserve to be treated better, and we have earned the right to be treated special. It slowly takes away any joy or fullness we have in life. And if given the chance, it can keep us from living at all.
But whining also makes us lose focus on another truth: our God is GOOD. Day after day He continues to bless us, but a critical attitude- the epitome of ungratefulness- sees only the negative. Sadly it also shows that we don’t hold true to and believe the promise given by our good God:
“And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
Note that the verse does NOT say that ONLY good will happen, but rather everything that happens to us is FOR our good.
God has a plan.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, not harm you. Plans to you give you hope and a future.”
He is constantly at work in our lives. Every day we have to make an intentional decision to believe that our God is good and that His promises for a prosperous and hopeful future are not just words, but a blueprint for our lives.
When I taught Pre-K I was plagued every day with listening to constant whining. “I don’t want that color!” “Why can’t I have THAT toy?” and my favorite, “That’s not fair!” While this is typical for this age group, it still was a constant struggle for me. I would have to give the “Teacher” answer each time instead of giving the response I truly wanted to give, “Life’s not fair kid. Snap out of it! Move on!”
Listening to children whine is one issue, but hearing adults do it…. now that is a whole other matter. And that is also the issue that almost got me in trouble today.
Today I found myself listening to a conversation that was filled with endless moaning, groaning, and grumbling. The person was ranting about how horrible life was. They had no spouse, they felt fat, and felt God had just abandoned them. All this, according to them, was a direct result of their parents divorcing several years earlier.
I know that as a good friend I should have had some kind of words of encouragement for my friend, but I found my temper slowly rising…like lava that had been sitting dormant for 100 years at the bottom of an inactive volcano. Suddenly I just wanted to shout…..
Actually….. I did. I couldn’t take it any longer. Oh, did I fail to mention all this took place in a crowded restaurant? Heads turned, people whispered, small children cried (Ok, so maybe that is a wee bit dramatic, but you get the picture.) My friend was humiliated, and I myself was a little nervous. I was looking for the manager to come with the police and have me arrested for disrupting the peace.
I can say with full confidence that my friend is one of the most blessed people I know. He has been given so much, YET he always choses to look at the things he doesn’t have or the things he thinks he deserves. Nothing is EVER his fault and is always quick to blame God or others for his cruddy situation. Never does he take the time to look at all he has. He can’t appreciate the blessings in his life, because he is too busy complaining about the things he has doesn’t have or the issues he has to deal with.
And that my friends is the ugly truth. If we fail to see how much God has given us, we are never going to be happy.
“What do I have to be thankful for? You have no idea what I am going through?”
That is true. But I do know that you woke up this morning. Probably in a bed, inside a house, with plumbing. More then likely you are not sitting in the dark reading this, and I bet your are not naked. I can almost guarantee that your belly is full of all the food you have eaten today. More then likely someone has told you they love you today. (If not I am telling you now… I LOVE YOU)
Life is hard. But it is also good. If we waste time grumbling and complaining about what we don’t like about it, we are so gonna miss the good stuff. The children of Israel let their whining get so out of control that God kept them from entering into the Promised Land. Constant mumbling and complaining will neutralize the power of God in our lives as well. His blessings are sure, but they are not automatic.
To insist on being a negative, grouchy, grumpy, and whiney person will eventually cost you. We can miss opportunities and blessings that God has planned for us. Those we love can also get tired of hearing our constant moaning and turn away from us. We must believe when we say God is good. Saying He is good and then blaming Him when things don’t go our way…. well that just doesn’t make us good examples does it?
So, I had to get real with my friend. That’s what real friends do. I love my friend and I do not want him to miss out on the good life I know he has. Each day is filled with the opportunity to live life to the fullest. If we spend it complaining and grumbling we are blinded and may miss out on God’s best.
A long time ago, I started writing down 3 things I was blessed for each night before I went to bed. It was hard at first. Trust me, there have been times when the only thing I was thankful for was the breath I had just taken. The more I did this exercise the more and more I became aware of just how blessed I am. Am I perfect? NO! Am I always happy and cheery. NO! But I realize that I am blessed because I have a Good God who loves me and hasn’t failed me yet.
Now Snap out of it and go enjoy life! 😁