“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.” Psalm 23:5-6
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thess. 5:16-18
Totally exhausted, in much need of rest, I figured I’d hurry through changing the male belly band diaper on paralyzed dog Mr. Simeon so I could flop down on my little bed and nap when I discovered I had waited too long and the large urine-proof pad under him was soaking wet. Ugh. It was a mess. He was a mess. Now I would have to go through a bunch of extra steps to get everything cleaned up including him. That’s when it dawned on me. What a blessing the pad was urine-proof, and that the dog bed, the other pad, and the sheet under it were perfectly protected and fine. In a moment, I went from moaning and groaning and complaining in my thoughts to feeling entirely thankful. How blessed I was!
I confess to you I have a long history of negativity and complaining, and I can fall into grumbling and mumbling in a heartbeat over just about anything if I’m not careful, and complaining in God’s eyes is sin against Him. A wonderful way I have discovered to combat complaining is to look at the opposite side of what I find myself complaining about. To flip it around. To look for a blessing in the midst of whatever is upsetting me. To choose to be thankful instead of to complain.
Let me give you a few examples:
* My little apartment gets filled with dog hair beyond description, and if I spent 24-7 cleaning it would not be enough. I can choose to be thankful I have an apartment when so many people have nowhere to live!
* The food I purchased tastes yucky because it’s too old, wasn’t refrigerated properly, maybe isn’t well made, etc. I can choose to be thankful that the Lord provides food for me each day, and that I can afford to get more food!
* My family situation has been enormously emotionally painful through the years. I can choose to be thankful the Lord adopted me into His forever family when I placed my faith in Jesus Christ as Lord, I can be thankful that my family situation isn’t more painful than it is, and through the hurt of it all the Lord has made enormous changes in my life and given me an incredible sensitivity and compassion for people going through big challenges!
* I spend a great deal of time on my own even though I love people and would have given just about anything to have a loving family of my own with a kind and gentle husband with the possibility of adopting children and being in close touch with my family of origin not to mention zillions of close friends always nearby to spend time with. I can choose to be thankful the Lord didn’t give me what I wanted because He has made me exceedingly available to love and serve Him and to tell others about Him and help them find and follow Him!
* I have been rejected beyond measure for decades, and to this very day, every single time it happens, it hurts terribly, and I am quite sure the rejection will continue because the rejection I now face most regularly is the kind that comes with loving the Lord and telling others about Him. This little cross of rejection that I have carried and will continue to carry helps me to die to self and to live for Christ, and is an amazing opportunity to draw ever closer to the Lord because I have learned to bring the hurt to Him so He can heal my heart and am learning day by day to go to Him to give me everything I need and desire most especially love and intimate fellowship!
The Lord hates complaining, and He loves thanksgiving, and we can learn to flip around the stuff we complain about and see the blessings in the midst of them. I am learning to do that. Will you join me?
The expression about looking at a glass half full instead of looking at it half empty, in other words seeing the good instead of the bad, being thankful instead of complaining, seeing the blessing instead of the lack, should we not go further than this? When we have committed our lives to Christ, and realize we are in His loving fellowship forever, learning to draw closer and closer to Him, when we receive the gift of His Holy Spirit and ask for and continually receive fresh fillings of His Spirit, when we realize 24-7 we can come to the feet of Jesus and rest in Him and spend time with Him, when we learn ever more about Him, and know His love more and more, when we realize the privilege of being called His child and His servant, no matter the things about which we might be prone to complain, we can choose to realize in the light of eternity, our glasses, are they not overflowing? With Christ? With His love, mercy, goodness, kindness, compassion, promises, peace, and on and on? Oh, yes!