Do everything without complaining….– Phil 2:14a
And they complained in their tents and they did not hear the voice of Lord Jehovah. – Psalm 106:25
Here’s a typical Maria tape – a transcript of my inner narration:
- Sigh….I’ve GOT to go for my cove walk (it’s painful because of the hills)
- Sigh….I’ve GOT to water the plants
- Sigh….I’ve GOT to make supper AND get a crockpot ready for tomorrow night
- Sigh….I’ve GOT to wash my hair today
- Sigh….I’ve GOT to start back to work, which will REALLY cut into ‘my’ time
I tend to dread chores/events that are either discomforting or ones that reduce my time to sit down and do what I truly love – reading and catching up on correspondence with friends via email.
I think that inner wingeing voice has had free reign for longer than I know. For a while now I’ve been aware that I am the source of most of my discontent. But looking back, I think I have lived for years, accompanied by that unceasing inner complaining.
It’s only in the past week that I have suddenly awoken to the fact that I, Maria, a born-anew person, am endued with the permanent Holy Spirit of power, love and even-keeled understanding. Hey, I don’t have to continue struggling with discontent. I can kill the fleshly default. How? By believing and acting on the many promises He has given me as part of my equipment.
And this idea to break my complaining habit is not just a good Maria plan. God WANTS me to turn away from such sin. No matter how ‘natural’ it may be. No matter how common, accepted and normative in our culture it seems. But come on, maybe verbalizing discontent, even to myself, might be something God frowns on, but is it really such a big deal, such a huge sin? Isn’t it just one of those ‘little-ole-lady’ sins, as my husband used to call them?
Um, nope. There’s an entire commandment devoted to it. #10 – Do not covet! What is coveting but wanting what you don’t have, wishing things were different.
Just this awareness that I CAN conquer my grousing habit has been enough to change the quality of my inner life. The insight that inner complaining is wicked and evil has motivated me to find a new narrative.
I find that as soon as a thought forms like, “Oh…the dreaded up-and-down hill walk faces me before I can sit down with coffee and Bible” I’m quick to substitute a new script:
I GET TO go exercise my body.
That one little 2.5-word replacement for “I’ve GOT TO” apparently is sufficient to halt the complaining and block my mood from souring.
So for sure I’m encouraged by my waning discontent, but even more significant is the growing realization that I was engaging and practicing sin. For according to Psalm 106 as quoted above, my inner murmurer was preventing me from hearing God.
Thank you, kind Father, for giving me your Holy Spirit who keeps on working to make me holy so I can see you and hear you more clearly.
Romans 7:25 – I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.