Thursday, May 15, 2014

Journey to Joyful Living

By Kim. M.

This morning I woke up thinking about Philippians 2:14, “Do everything without complaining and grumbling.” Seriously? Everything? Really? Do I believe God means THAT? Can’t I at least grumble to myself in my heart where no one else hears? The problem is that God knows what is in my heart will eventually come out in my words and my actions. How different would my attitude and the atmosphere of my home be if I took this command seriously and applied it personally, diligently, and daily through the power of the Holy Spirit living in me? I am using “I” in my journal this morning, because this is too personal for me to point any fingers. But if you find this same attitude going on in your heart, join me on this journey toward joyful living.

I think grumbling, even when I don’t say it out loud, has almost become like a dull roar in the way I live… like background noise. It doesn’t have to be an angry rant… just a constant, dull whirring sound. Here’s what I mean:
  • I am inconvenienced. I mumble about it.
  • I don’t like the way the person in front of me is driving. I talk to them about it – out loud comments, not profane, but about how poor their driving skills are. It’s talking to myself, of course, and in my own car, but often in front of my family.
  • My schedule is interrupted. I grit my teeth (silent grumbling).
  • Someone alters my plans without my permission. I breathe a frustrated sigh (grumbling in disguise).
  • Just as I am ready for bed, one of the kids wants to START their talking for the day. I hold it in but on the inside, my tired body is saying, “Me, first! Give me what I want: sleep!”
  • No one appreciates the meal I cooked or the clothes I washed. I have a pity party in my heart.
While I may not do all this “me centered” grumbling out loud, God knows the grumblings of my self-centered heart. Oh, Father, forgive me! Help me to replace my grumbling with gratefulness. Help me to turn my complaining into counting my many blessings. Teach me Your ways:
  • When doing loads of laundry – may I thank You, Lord, for clothing and kids and the energy and health to play and get clothes dirty.
  • When cut off by someone with poor driving skills – may I thank you for a car to drive and protection from harm.
  • When dozens of dirty dishes are on my counter – may I be grateful for family meals, good and abundant food, and a dishwasher to help with the cleanup.
  • When my sleep is delayed by a child who wants to talk about what is on her heart – may I be grateful that she wants to talk to ME and that You promise to give wisdom to meet the need.
  • When my plans are interrupted – may I thank You that my times are in Your hands.
  • When my “to do” list is too long – may I trust that You will help me to accomplish what You have for me to do.
Lord, it is time for a change; time to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Turn my grumbling to gratefulness. Take my complaining, and replace it with cheerfulness. From Psalm 119:108 – Lord, may my mouth freely offer praises and prayers to You, my Maker. Teach me Your Word and Your ways and apply them to my heart.