For me, this past season has been a season of some broken dreams, challenges, and a load of questions. I had so many plans, but it looked like the desires I had set my eyes on were not what God had planned. The result? There were moments I lost touch with my relationship with Christ, and other moments I allowed anger and frustration to win over.
But the most annoying habit I picked up was complaining. For Christians, constant grumbling is such a toxic and awful habit to possess. Yet, every one of us has done at least some bit of it.
When things are not going our way, and we are struggling, it’s easy to forget God’s faithfulness, and instead spend most of our days looking at the wrong things in our lives. (I know I do)
Why is complaining and grumbling a sin?
Complaining and grumbling uncover the dissatisfaction in whatever circumstance God has placed you. In turn, dissatisfaction stems from a lack of faith and trust in God. When we don’t see God’s faithfulness, we tend to look at life through the lenses of a void, and we become blind to the fuller parts.
In my example, I saw unfulfilled prayers, forgetting that I was alive. I hated my living situation, forgetting that I could get three meals a day.
God loves us, but he sure does hate all the complaints of constant grumblers who see no good.
Remember the story of the Israelites in the desert? God had rescued them from slavery, provided water and food in the desert, but they could still not see his goodness and gracious efforts. They continued to complain non-stop, forgetting God’s goodness and his mercies.
We know how that story ends. The Israelites wandered for 40 years in a desert, and most of the older generation never stepped into the promised land.
Today, I take you through 3 tips that can help you complain less as a Christian and instead, a more thankful one.
How to complain less and be a content Chrisitan amidst challenges
Always remember to rejoice.
Say what? I know. Rejoicing when your dreams wash down the drain or when your heart is broken, is not easy. However, In Phillipians 4:4, Paul reminds us to always rejoice. That all men may testify of our patience. And not only that, Paul tells us to make our requests known to God, with ceaseless prayer and supplication.
Paul understood that constant complaining does no good for you. At best, it makes you unhappy, and at worst, it drives you further from God. That’s why he gives us a solution in this verse: That we may always pray and take our requests before God because he is the only one that can satisfy and fill the void in us.
And when we do so, God promises peace, and his spirit will help us keep our body and mind in Jesus, which equals less complaining. (You are beholding the creator of all things after all.)
Journaling your thoughts will help you complain less.
I know I talk about journaling a lot, like in this post about dealing with challenges in life. It’s only because journaling has been instrumental in my walk with Christ. But before we explore journaling, I need to put something into perspective. All complaining is not a sin. The constant grumbling and complaining is the sin.
If you look through the book of Psalms, most of the chapters are David lamenting about sin, depression, anxiety, fear, enemies, lost hope, and so on.
However, David’s complaints do not come from a place of sinful dissatisfaction. He is just a human being admitting to his maker about the challenging terrain of life and realizing how small he is, compared to God.
David’s lamentation in Psalms always led him back to God.
And this is what I’m talking about- journaling to let God know how hard life has been, how scared you are, how broken you feel, but still remembering that HE is on the throne. Journaling can help you put confusing moments into perspective while being honest with yourself and God.
Here’s a little exercise to help you stop complaining and feel more content:
Start a gratitude journal- Every morning after your bible study and prayers, write down 5 things you are most grateful for. Even the smallest of them. And each night before you sleep, write down 5 things that you are thankful about.
Recounting your blessings like this will always ground you to be more content and less of a grumbler.
Live in the moment and be intentional with your thoughts.
If we allow anxious thoughts to take over our lives, it becomes easy to be a grumbling Chrisitan. The trick is to remember to focus on the now, the hour, and the minute. It all comes down to being intentional and focused.
When you feel the need to grumble, remind yourself that the issue is just a tiny black dot compared to the white A4 sheet that is life.
Above all else, remember that God is the one in control. Even if you don’t always understand why things play out the way they do, he understands, and that is more than enough.