Complaining is dangerous . It can damage or even destroy your relationship with God, your relationships with other people, and even with your relationship with yourself. It’s easy to complain. We likely don’t realize how much we do it. I believe it’s one of the most challenging things to overcome.Philippians 2:14 says, Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining…. That’s a pretty clear command. And not something anyone can do in their own way
Like I said before, it’s easy to complain. There are many things that happen every day that we could murmur about. But they really aren’t worth the effort it takes to get upset and gripe about it. For example, we travel a lot and stay in a lot of hotels. I like to take a hot bath to relax before speaking at our conferences. Once when I went to fix my bath, I discovered there was no hot water. So I called the front desk to see about getting hot , but they weren’t able to fix the problem when I needed them to. And later, I learned that my room was the only room in the hotel that didn’t have hot water!
Now, I could have gotten all upset about this at the time. But God helped me to relax about it and resist the temptation to get upset. And the truth is, complaining wouldn’t have changed anything – it would have just made the situation harder.
Complaining comes from an ungrateful, prideful attitude of the heart. It causes us to feel that we shouldn’t be inconvenienced or have bad things happen to us. The truth is, I’ve done most of my spiritual growing during the hardest and most painful times of my life. The trials of life have caused me to press in to God. And as I’ve done that, He’s changed me. He’s helped me to develop an attitude of gratitude and humility, which has brought real freedom into my life.
Make it your goal to have a constant attitude of gratitude. Resist the temptation to complain and instead praise and thank God for who He is and all He’s done for you. By God’s grace and through His strength, you can overcome complaining and live each day with a thankful heart!
I usually get up early so I can read and think and drink a little coffee before the rest of my family is awake. A couple of days ago, I looked over and saw Tony asleep in bed when I got out of the shower, and my stomach was instantly in knots. I had gone to bed early the night before because I was in a foul mood. We were working together on our new #staymarried group, but our hard drive had crashed. We had minimal programs, no printer set-up, no ink for the printer. It was a big irritating mess and a giant waste of my time. Tony was working through the tech stuff, and of course that irritated me, too. Waste of time, all of it. Bleh. I’m going to bed!
Now, after a full night’s rest, I saw more clearly that I’d been fantastically rude and taken my frustration out on him. I saw him sleeping and I knew I needed to apologize. Bleh, again! I hate apologizing. I mean, why can’t I just be grumpy and even a little mean when I feel like it? Why can’t we all just move on? I mean, he shouldn’t take it personally, right? I was mad about the computer, not about him. Yet, there he was, laying there sleeping, forgiving me before I even muster up whatever it is I need – humility, is it? – to apologize. I hate it.
I slinked into the bed, waking him up slowly, and I said it. “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me? I was a jerk and was really rude to you last night. I’m really sorry.” … and, exhale. Wow, that wasn’t so bad. As I started the words, I began to actually feel them. As I heard myself, I believed what I was saying more and more. I WAS a jerk, he didn’t deserve that. I WAS sorry. I DID hope he’d forgive me.
He kissed my cheek, “I forgive you. I love you,” and that was it. I was relieved. I couldn’t believe how much I was dreading apologizing, how frustrated I felt when I saw him in bed knowing I needed to ask forgiveness. I had just wanted it to go away without me taking any action at all. I was so annoyed with the whole thing in the first place and, now that it was over, I was so light and thankful and even happy. I pranced off to the kitchen to make us some coffee, sat and had a few minutes to myself, and the rest of the day was perfectly normal.
So, I’m wondering, am I the only one that dreads apologizing? I should say, I used to be much worse. I’m the stone-walling silent-treatment type by nature, and it used to take me a minimum of twenty four hours to come around. I would gnaw on my own self-righteousness, getting as much of that bitter flavor in my mouth as I could. I would glare and ignore and even wait for him to approach me in just the right way before I could even fathom apologizing for anything I did, which he probably provoked me to in the first place. Dream girl, right?
Tony’s never been that way. Not that he’s always right… although, I can hardly remember a time when he was actually wrong… but more that he always wants to reconcile as soon as possible. He has no need for grudges, no appetite for bitterness. He wants to move on and enjoy each other as fast as possible. Is that you? Are you quick to apologize? Quick to forgive? Quick to move on? We’ve learned each other better over time, of course. I have always known it wasn’t the best thing to hold onto my frustration, but knowing and doing often have a gap – or even a chasm – in between. The gap has been narrowing for me over the years. Just think, I went to bed in a huff and woke up and apologized – not bad. Now, if I could have apologized for my attitude before going to bed, that might even be considered “ holy” – but I’m not there yet.
Maybe it’s because I hate being wrong. Maybe it’s the pain of humility – though it isn’t actually humiliating. Maybe it’s the lack of self-control I have over my attitude in the first place that frustrates me. I would admit, yes, actually, it is all of these things. I hate apologizing for all of these reasons. When I need to apologize, I can easily think of even more reasons I hate it and even justify why I can’t or shouldn’t do so just yet. But, I’ve done it, and I’ll do it again. When I know I need to apologize, these are the things I try to keep in mind
The DOs and DON’Ts for Making an Apology. DON’T apologize for someone else’s feelings. “I’m sorry you’re mad,” is not an apology. It’s condescending. DO apologize for your own actions and attitude. “I’m sorry I was rude,” is an apology that takes ownership. Be specific about what you did wrong. “I’m sorry for whatever made you mad” is NOT going to work. If you need some time to think and reflect on what you did, take it. It’s better to come with a real apology than a generic one that will probably end up creating a whole new fight.
DON’T add an excuse to your apology. “I’m sorry I was rude, but I was really irritated,” means you’re not really sorry. You feel justified for the way you acted and you expect to be excused. One of the most memorable pieces of advice I’ve ever heard: When you say “I’m sorry, but …” you’re really just a sorry butt.
DO ask for forgiveness when you apologize. “I’m sorry,” on it’s own, is just a statement. It requires no response. “Will you forgive me?” is a humble request that can rebuild a relationship. When you ask your spouse to forgive you, wait. Listen. Be prepared for them to say in response, “I need a minute, I’m not there right now.” When you are in the wrong, you are never owed forgiveness. Be grateful when you receive it.
DON’T expect a reciprocal apology. Let’s say you were in a fight. You were both rude and hostile to each other and now you’ve decided to be the brave one and apologize first. Do not apologize expecting your spouse to apologize equally. They may not. If you expect them to, and they don’t, you may be tempted to say something like, “Never mind. I thought we were going to work this out together. I said I was sorry, you are obviously not sorry, so FORGET IT!” … Um… yeah… that’s not an apology. When you recognize you have done something wrong, just own your part of it. The end.
DO attempt to make a repair. Once you get through the brutal, “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?” it’s wise to make the next step and ask, “Is there anything I can do to make this right?” Then, be prepared to wear your underwear on your head as you head over to the Starbucks drive-through to order your love his apology Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Asking my husband for forgiveness as often as possible has proven to bring us closer together time and time again. My stubbornness and self-righteousness seem to have done nothing for our relationship at all. So, I’ll be wrong again and again. I’ll need his forgiveness again and again. Hopefully I’ll see it sooner rather than later each time. Hopefully I’ll remember not to add excuses on the end of my apologies. I will ask him to forgive me. I will await his response. I will push past the knots in my stomach to say what needs to be said, because I know I can count on a light kiss on the cheek and his arms around me reminding me that with each time we forgive each other we are committing to #staymarried.
There will always be something to worry about, all the time. Truly, life is full of ups and downs, unexpected disappointments and tragedies, and honestly a lot of things that just refuse to go according to our optimistic plans. Anyone who has lived a good number of years on earth would have some experience of this and if we look at it honestly, this might be a legitimate basis for worry and anxiety.
And so we find ourselves confronted regularly with the temptation to worry about how things work out; will our plan turn out well? will the good become better or worse? or will the not-so-good things become better or will take a dip into disaster? Whether it’s in our relationships, finances, health or any other area of our lives, there are possibilities which are beyond our control. This throws up some legitimate fears which then become the object of our worries.
The problem with worry, however, is that it often takes things that are mere negatives possibilities (and have alternative possibilities which are positive) and treats it as if they are inevitable. Worry treats things that could happen and treat them as if they have happened or will certainly happen. This kind of anxiety and unease makes people miserable and sucks the energy out of them. It is dangerous, if left unchecked, because it magnifies negativity in such a way that eventually leads people to act desperate and often times ruin things that could have been better. While legitimate fears and possibilities that may cause us to have some worry and anxiety may come up, we must deal with them in such a way that we overcome such feelings of worry quickly, because it is better to be (reasonably) optimistic than to worry. Here are some important reasons why we must confront worry as it comes up in our lives and not allow it to fester. 1. Worry makes our thinking problem-oriented We don’t need worry to size up the problems or negative prospects of a situation; our logical reasoning does that. Worry simply comes to make it our main or only focus and when our thinking becomes problem-oriented, we may find it hard to come up with prevention or solutions, even though it may be right on the tip of our fingers. Worry causes an imbalance in the mind. In order to be or remain a problem-solver, one cannot live in worry. 2. Worry robs us of the ability to live in the present Worry is mainly about projections; negative projections that may never happen. This makes it a torment that robs people of the ability to enjoy and engage with life in the present. Many relationships suffer badly when one or both parties are prone to worry, as they find it hard to emotionally (and/or physically) present for other parties. Many people who make a habit of worry may find life and people moving on without them but the worst part is that many times, most of their fears never actualize despite having robbed them of so much. 3. Worry creates a negative attitude If a person is worrying, they are ruminating over negative possibilities and eventually it comes up in their speech, their attitude and disposition to life. Nobody wants to be around a negative person. 4. Worry can lead to wrong decisions Many times, worry and anxiety make people make wrong decisions; they run when they shouldn’t, they antagonize the wrong people, they give their money to people they shouldn’t; the list is endless. It is a great danger to make decisions from a place of worry; it can be really damaging.
5. Worry can lead to controlling behaviour When we allow our fears and insecurities to take over us, the tendency is that we will want to control things in order to prevent what we are afraid of from happening. This is bad for our relationships. Trying to control everything around us often spirals into manipulative and abusive behaviour; we may tell lies, threaten people and do other desperate things just because we believe we are trying to prevent bad things from happening. Nobody in their right mind will stick around such behavior for long 6. Worry affects health and well-being It’s inevitable; the amount of negativity that constant worry supplies will create stress, deplete energy, make people unable to rest and properly take care of themselves. All of this will eventually show up as poor health; physical and mental