“Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.” -Doris Day
Some of the most successful people today attribute their success to one key ingredient in their lives … gratitude. So, if gratitude helps you achieve success, I guess the opposite is true, complaining leads to failure.
Did you know the average person complains an average of 15-30 times a day? Complaining is so common that I don’t think most of us don't even realize it’s complaining when we hear it. How many conversations are started while standing in line at the grocery store? Someone casually says “Man, is it hot outside. I can't even go outside without feeling like I’m baking in an oven.” Or, “When are they going to fix these roads? I swear this construction has been going on forever. I have to leave my house 15 minutes early just to get to work on time.” Or, “Can you believe the price of gas these days?! When I was growing up I remember paying 80 cents a gallon. This is ridiculous!” Just everyday conversations started with a complaint.
Here's the problem with complaining. Remember the story in the bible about the children of Israel. They were God's chosen people heading to their Promised Land. The land of more than enough. The land of abundance. Their dream life. This also represents us heading to our Promised Land, our dream life. But the Israelites wandered around for forty years in the wilderness, but the journey was only supposed to take two weeks! You might say “How pathetic!” Well, let’s hear why they wandered.
In Numbers 14:2 it says, “And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would God we had died in this wilderness!”
The children of Israel complained about EVERYTHING. They complained about the food. They complained about the water. They complained about the weather. They complained about the leadership. They complained about EVERYTHING. And, where did that get them? NOWHERE!
The word complain actually means to “remain” or “stay another night.” Could this be the reason things are not changing in our lives? We complain about the extra 20 pounds we've been carrying around that we can’t seem to lose. We complain about that inconsiderate spouse that never seems to change. We complain about the job that we have endured for the last 15 years. Could it be all the complaining that we have been doing is actually keeping us stuck where we are?
The bible says the story of the children of Israel is an example for us to learn from. What kept them from the best that God had? Murmuring, complaining, and a lack of gratitude. Our complaining is causing us to remain in these situations. Our complaining will freeze us in time with our problems as our companion.
Complaining does four things:
1. It stops forward motion.
2. It stirs dissatisfaction in others.
3. It magnifies negativity.
4. It becomes our way of thinking.
Have you ever been sitting around with a group of people just having a good old time and in walks Negative Nancy? Nancy starts on her list of complaints from “Look how awful my hair looks!” to “My kids are driving me absolutely crazy!” and the joy bubble you were in just got deflated. That’s because complaining fills the air with negativity and it breeds discontentment. Don’t be Negative Nancy!
Here's the solution. Rejoice!
The opposite of complaint in the dictionary is rejoicing. The bible says “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say Rejoice.” So when are we rejoicing … always. Not just when we feel like it. Always. When our kids are acting crazy, rejoice. When you got an unexpected bill, rejoice. When you just got promoted, rejoice. When you're having a good hair day, rejoice. When you're having a bad hair day, rejoice. It’s an attitude of gratitude by choice.
Complaining starts in our thoughts. Don’t allow them to ruminate, because they will eventually find their way out our mouth. So stop the whiny thoughts with words of gratitude and praise.
Now stop and think before you start complaining about your unfair boss, your jiggly thighs, or your lazy husband. Ask yourself, “Do I want to remain here? Do I really want to stay another night.” Refuse to be a whiny baby any longer. We have so much to be grateful for. We must not allow ourselves to forget the wonderful things our Father God has done for us. Choose to rejoice. And watch how your circumstances and life dramatically change.
“But thanks be unto God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 15:57