Gosh, I’ve been grumbling a lot lately.
About my aging car, my kids distaste for all things prepared in the crock pot, and the massive effort required to lose a single pound. I’ve even found myself grumbling over others’ grumbling.
Could anything be less productive?
Complaining can be both a self-fulfilling prophecy and self-sabotaging strategy.
The more I complain the worse my attitude gets. And when my attitude deteriorates, I lose focus and determination. When my motivation wanes, so does my productivity, which provides even more fuel to the grumbling fire.
If I’m not careful that cycle can quickly spiral out of control and consume my entire life. If you don’t believe me, check out this article about how negativity affects our brains. It doesn’t matter if we are simply venting, seeking sympathy, or have become chronic complainers, we are making more of a MESS than is necessary.
So, how do we break the cycle and contain the destruction?
By liberally applying gratitude to our grumbling.
In this life, we don’t often get to control nearly as much as we’d like, but we do get to choose how we react. We can either reinforce those old grooves of grumbling or establish new patterns of gratitude.
Let’s stop sabotaging our attitudes with grumbling and start improving them with gratitude.
One Bible author practiced this technique admirably despite enduring harsh circumstances. In his letter to the Philippians, instead of grumbling about his imprisonment, Paul found three things for which to be grateful. First, the imperial guards had been afforded the opportunity to hear the gospel. Second, his presence boosted other imprisoned Christians’ confidence in the gospel message. Third, even more Christians were being emboldened to speak the truth about Jesus without fear.
Here is my challenge for us all this week… Every time we find ourselves starting to complain, lets counter the urge with three things for which we are thankful.
I can grumble over the dirty dishes carelessly left on the counter OR be thankful that we have food to go in the bowl, that we have plenty more clean dishes in the cabinet, and that I do actually have a dishwasher capable of blasting away dried on oatmeal.
I can grumble over chaotic holiday travel OR I can be thankful that we can afford to fly instead of driving, that I have family I am excited to visit, and that we have time off to be together this year.
I can grumble over having to cover my husband’s plate as I place it in the refrigerator OR be thankful that he has a job that puts dinner on the table, that he is well respected in his workplace, and that he will be sleeping beside me later.
One caution, though. Do not make this a comparison game. Don’t seek out other’s with circumstances worse than your own to make you feel better. Inevitably, you’ll only find more reasons to grumble when you look around. Instead search for things you are truly grateful for in your own life.
If you are struggling to come up with something on your own, reach back into your MEMORIES and recall what God has done for you in the past. You can always be thankful for the breath in your lungs, the magnificent wonders of creation, and the salvation Christ won for us on the cross.
Overcome the MESS of destructive grumbling with a liberal dose of gratitude.
Gratitude improves attitudes.
If you are a closet brain science geek like me, you might enjoy the book, Switch On Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Thought Provoking Thursday, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Friday, Good Morning Monday, Soul Survival, Monday Musings, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Woman to Woman Wednesday, Women With Intention Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Word of God Speak, Testimony Tuesday.