There are so many things I could whine about… work is too hard, I need more vacation time, my kids are fighting, we can’t seem to keep the house clean, there is never as much money as we want. It is so easy to complain!
As I begin to write this post, I am sitting in the car just beginning an 8-hour drive home from a weekend getaway. The kids are whining, we’re surrounded by gloomy fog, and the interstate is packed with holiday travelers, all dreading the imminent return to reality on Monday morning!
But guess what – I have absolutely nothing to complain about! I sit here aware of the long car ride ahead of us, but quite content thinking about the amazing weekend with dear friends – laughter, games, good wine, great food. I recognize that our time with them would not be possible without time spent in the car.
Work is hard, but I have steady employment where my skills are valued. The house doesn’t stay clean, but that is mostly due to shedding by our two dogs whom we happen to adore. My kids do fight, but most of the time they are kind and loving and helpful. We can create a good spin on almost anything if we keep a positive perspective!
This is easier to do as I get older. It’s a lesson I’m desperately trying to teach my kids – especially on long car rides! Complaints and whining will not help to improve a situation.
I took an 8-week seminary course this fall. New coursework, different kinds of textbooks, lots of time googling (and re-googling) new terminology. One such new word was doxological: to live in a state of praise and worship. Sounds like a great way to go through life – but so against today’s culture! Society is in a constant state of disappointment – in conversation, we one up each other about who has it worse. Why do we do this?
The seminary class itself was an example of keeping that positive perspective. It was time consuming – and left me sleep deprived. It would have been easy to whine about the class sucking up my free time. But I didn’t feel the need to complain – lack of sleep meant I could sit in my comfortable living room and engage with people all over the country who wanted to learn and grow in their faith. What could I possibly complain about?!?
When we live focused on the negative, we foster anxiety and fear. There is plenty to mourn in the world. Therefore, it is our duty and our joy to praise at all times! And as followers of Christ we have much to praise:
“Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!” Psalm 117:1-2
As our trek home continued, the weather and traffic worsened. With more than 3 hours left to go and darkness looming, we made the abnormal decision to stop for the night at a hotel. It’s a small, cheap (but clean) hotel in the middle of nowhere – with no pool (a foreign concept for our kids). There is nothing for us to do here, our Monday morning plans are messed up and we’ve imposed another night of dog-sitting on my sister. We could easily be grumpy or annoyed. But we’re not… My son quickly declared, “This is good because we have an extra night with just our family!” Thanks buddy! I think you get it…