Turning Complaints Into Gratitude

27 Aug

I’ve noticed recently that, at times, I am surrounded by complaints and complainers. {Do you ever feel that way?} I have to admit that often, I am one of the complainers, voicing my discontent more than is necessary – more than I even realize most of the time. It’s so natural to just roll that complaint right off my tongue without even a pause before I let it loose.

source: pinterest

Do I even have a clue as to what this has done to my soul over time? That continual disapproval or criticism of all the little every day things?

  • I complain when I have a hot flash AFTER getting dressed, drying my hair, and putting on my makeup.
  • I complain because the school crossing guard makes me wait for {gasp!} three minutes before letting our line pass through.
  • I complain about morning traffic backing up on the interstate.
  • I complain when people wait until the last minute to ask me to do something for them at work.
  • I complain about someone doesn’t get my lunch order right.
  • I complain because most politicians are clueless.
  • I complain because I have to wait in line at Walmart.

You can see where this is headed. This is just a tiny glimpse of some of the complaints I express (if not always verbally, definitely in my head) and there are numerous – unnecessary – complaints.

I’ve almost finished reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. It’s a book that I honestly didn’t think I would like – I thought her writing was too flowery and a bit abstract for me. I bought it months ago, but hadn’t started reading it until recently. Her writing style is quite unique, it’s quite poetic and really draws you in. After a while, you feel as if she is sitting across the table from you sharing these pieces of her heart – what she’s learned about the role that giving thanks for the every day things plays in our spiritual well-being. I would highly recommend this book if you have not read it.

In her book, Ann shares:

Lament is a cry of belief in a good God, a God who has His ear to our hearts, a God who transfigures the ugly into beauty. Complaint is the bitter howl of unbelief in any benevolent God in this moment, a distrust in the love-beat of the Father’s heart.

and later this:

When I would read Henry Ward Beecher’s words later, I’d take it for my own story, so familiar his thoughts: “Pride slays thanksgiving … A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.”

Ouch, ouch, and OUCH! Ann Voskamp and Henry Ward Beecher just stepped all over my pride-full toes.

How can I have a spirit of thanksgiving or live a life full of gratitude if I only see (look for) the annoying, the negative, the bad? If I only “call out” the bad. What if I replaced the complaints with compliments? What I began to look for the good things instead of the bad? What if I truly believed that everything – EVERYTHING – in my life is a gift, a blessing from God?

I could re-evaluate my complaints into gratitude experiences:

  • I complain when I have a hot flash AFTER getting dressed, drying my hair, and putting on my makeup.
  • I would be grateful to have a hot shower, clothes to wear, electricity for the dryer, and makeup to wear.
  • I complain because the school crossing guard makes me wait for {gasp!} 3 minutes before letting our line pass through.
  • I would be grateful that she keeps us all safe.
  • I complain about morning traffic backing up on the interstate.
  • I would be grateful that I have a car to drive to work and a job to go to.
  • I complain when people wait until the last minute to ask me to do something for them at work.
  • I would be grateful for, hummm, this one’s tough.  :)  Oh, yeah!  I would be grateful that they need my assistance which means I am of value to them and the company.
  • I complain about someone doesn’t get my lunch order right.
  • I would be grateful to have food to eat. Many don’t.
  • I complain because most politicians are clueless.
  • I would be grateful to live in a country where I have the freedom to vote for clueless politicians. :)
  • I complain because I have to wait in line at Walmart.
  • I would be grateful to have the money to buy things I need at Walmart.

It’s all in how we look at it. I can stay blinded by my pride, believing that all these things are messing up my days OR I can be grateful for every little thing that seems bad, but really isn’t.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

It’s Monday, friends! Let’s make it a good one. And to all my friends on the Gulf Coast – BE SAFE!!
♥ Rachel

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5 Responses to “Turning Complaints Into Gratitude”

  1. jlpaddock August 27, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    I love this! You really are an inspiring writer. :-) I have actually also been thinking about being thankful also. It’s funny being thankful actually helps the patience thing. I’ve challenged myself to think of 5 things I’m thankful for every morning. It changes my outlook for the day. xx L

    • jlpaddock August 27, 2012 at 7:48 am #

      Oops…one too many also’s but you get the idea. :-)

    • rachturner August 27, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

      Thank you, Lynnea. You are quite inspiring, yourself! I completely agree – gratitude really does help with patience.

  2. Jennifer August 27, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    Rach,
    I was laughing out loud reading your post because it is so true and so funny. That is a good exercise to try to turn complaints into gratitude. A good lesson for the day.

    • rachturner August 27, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

      J – I went to the dentist today and was texting Barry while I waited. As usual, my appointment time came and went and I was still waiting, so I texted that to him something about I should give them 15 minutes grace period before I show up since they never take me on time. Then I sent another text that said, “but I’m not complaining, I’m just grateful to have teeth!” haha!!!

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