We live in a culture of complaining. It is basically cool to complain, especially if done creatively. We constantly find new ways to share how much we hate our jobs, how much school sucks, or how frustrating our relationships are.
We spout our love for our beds and our meal times, and complain about how annoyed we are whenever we’re not sleeping or eating. Some of us probably have a favorite meme or gif for complaining about how awful their lives are.
But complaining, as fun as it can be, has some drawbacks.
Mainly, complaining is exhausting. It drains you. It takes a lot of energy, and after we’ve vented and aired our frustrations, all we really feel up to is slipping into sweats, stuffing our faces with junk food, and binge-watching some mindless television show.
It’s also exhausting spiritually. Complaining, at its core, is ingratitude, and that can be very damaging to our souls. The more grateful someone is, the happier they are. Likewise, the more ungrateful someone is, the unhappier they are.
Unfortunately, ingratitude is ingrained into us. It’s interwoven into the fabric of our culture. The irony of rushing out to participate in extreme consumerism after “giving thanks” over a hefty meal is not lost on us. But this self-awareness doesn’t lead anywhere. We chuckle at ourselves, shrug our shoulders, and proceed to shove old grannies out of the way to grab the last 70” flat-screen.
This sort of useless self-awareness is not limited to a holiday either. Every day is filled with perfect opportunities to complain and show how ungrateful we are for everything in our lives.
Rather than being grateful that we have a roof over our heads, we complain about how small our apartment is.
Rather than thanking God that we have food to eat, we grumble about our soggy sandwich.
Rather than being glad that we have sufficient clothes, we glare at our wardrobes and exclaim that we have nothing to wear.
How can we begin to fix this massive problem? Culture does not exist in and of itself. People make up culture, and while we may not be able to immediately shift society, we have the power to change ourselves. Christians especially have dynamic, supernatural power to change. This isn’t of ourselves but the Holy Spirit can enact incredible and nearly impossible change in human hearts.
We shouldn’t need a holiday to remind us to be grateful. Gratitude should flow out of us.
Whether you’re in a bad season that never seems to end, or whether your life is going amazingly, we all have something to be thankful for.
Are you a Christian who has been saved from their sins?
Rejoice and thank God for his redeeming grace and his incredible sacrifice.
Do you have food to eat, a place to sleep, and clothes to wear?
Thank God for providing for your basic needs.
Do you have a job that provides you with a cash-flow?
Even if you hate it, thank God for his provision.
Do you have friends and/or family you love and who love you?
Praise the Lord for the wonderful relationships in your life.
Are you married? Do you have kids?
Worship God for giving you such blessings.
I could go on, but you get the point. God has blessed us in more ways than we may ever know. He has provided for us in incredible ways, and that’s why it’s time to stop complaining and be grateful.