Sometimes I want to post a complaint about something and then I think about actual world problems in 3rd world countries, and what other individuals or families are going through, and it makes me realize how complaining will do nothing but maybe invoke feelings and agreements in others which lead to more complaining and resentment and I just find that so unnecessary because there’s always something to be grateful for and praise God about, so all of that to say and hopefully encourage someone, be grateful, give thanks, look at what’s good, ask God to help with what’s not, pray, believe, read the Bible, and don’t complain.@tanyaremkiv, Instagram
The other day I sat in my cube and thought about how cold my feet were. The office building where I work typically runs a little cooler than most places, so it’s not like I didn’t expect it. Wearing sneakers and thin socks, my feet got to that cold level where they could almost feel slightly damp and just uncomfortable. Just thinking about it makes me want to recoil.
Anyway, I sat there, working away, and then I notice my ankles. Suddenly, they feel so bare, so cold, and the point where my jeans cut off (a little below the shin) makes me feel uneasy. I go from dwelling on the temperature of my feet to getting annoyed with the fact that I can rarely find jeans that are a decent length for my too-long legs.
Wanting to be relatable and all, I pick up my phone and open social media. I type out a mini complaint about how cold my feet are and why on earth can’t I find long enough jeans. I write it out one way, then erase it. Then another way, and delete it. Then I sit back and think, why the heck am I doing this?
Then it hits me.
I’m sitting here complaining about my cold, damp-feeling feet, with shoes and socks on. I’m in a safe building, working for an organization I love, and whining about this minor discomfort. I’m wearing these jeans because I bought them for $15 and picked them out this morning, thinking they go great with this shirt. Out of 8 pairs, I picked these out and slipped them onto my healthy, working, sturdy legs.
I wanted to post a complaint to relate to my thousand followers about these 1st world problems. That’s when I saw my heart and asked God to change my perspective.
I realized and began to think about actual problems in 3rd world countries; about various problems certain individuals and families are going through, some of which I know about personally; I thought about my immediate family and the actual problems they’re facing.
Sometimes we want to post a complaint about something to relate to someone somehow. We want to invite people into our pity-party, our complaining-game, and wallowing-world. And though there’s value in mourning with those who mourn, I want to point out that some of us exaggerate and dramatize parts of our lives because we, too, don’t want to be left out.
This is how we conform to the ways of the world. We go with the flow and try to invoke feelings and agreements with our not-so-bad lives. With every minor inconvenience, we throw verbal and vocal tantrums so that someone else will notice our frustration and annoyance. And without realizing it, we subconsciously “give permission” to those around us who then repeat the complaining and resentment.
But it is so unnecessary because there’s always something to be grateful for and praise God about, despite what we face. Literally, that’s what Paul talks about in the “joy” book of the New Testament, in Philippians. He wrote that letter while he was in jail, and yet his attitude is between every word and line. We must learn how to rejoice and find joy amidst trials, and even more so, with everything we take for granted, like my cold, damp feet and cut-off jeans.
Paul had every reason to be discontent and upset, but he encouraged the church of Philippi (and you and me) to give thanks to God, to not be anxious about anything. This is a much more simple principle than we make it to be.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6
All of this is to say, and hopefully encourages you, to be grateful, give thanks, look at what’s good, ask God to help with what’s not, pray, believe, read the Bible, and don’t complain.