I complain a lot.
I can find fault with just about anything.
Part of it is my personality type. I'm a heavy NTJ for those of you who know Myers Briggs, so my goal is always efficiency and thinking outside the box. I can always come up with new ways of doing things, and it always bothers me when people aren't on board.
So yesterday I was speaking at a women's retreat. I had a wonderful time. The women were great, I felt invigorated giving my message, the weather was beautiful, the setting was lovely. And at one point I took a walk outside and talked to God. And as I walked, I just felt peaceful.
Then I thought, "there must be something that I'm supposed to pray about or fix." Usually when I pray, you see, I feel that God must be bringing to mind something that's wrong in my life.
Nothing came to mind. And then this thought went through my head: "Can't you ever just enjoy something without trying to see the negative?"
Now I've had a challenging week. I took on some projects that relied on other people, which is never a good idea when you're into efficiency and organization. And all week I was itching with all the problems everyone else was causing me. And as I took that walk, and felt peaceful, it occurred to me that I complain way too much.
Sometimes I complain about other people. Often I get my blood up about politicians, or the news, or church. I complain about other kids' parents. I complain about the place where my husband works. It's not that I don't say positive things, too. I do. It's just that if there's a negative to be pointed out, I'll see it, even if I don't mention it out loud.
We live in a negative culture, where we're always judging each other. Our politics is negative. And part of me enjoys that. I love reading political blogs and seeing what the next outrageous thing is that the party I abhor is up to. But it's sick in a way, too. Because even though I'm sure they're wrong, it doesn't do me any good to dwell on it. I know how I'll vote in an election. I know how I'll tell others to vote. Why should I glory in other people's mistakes? Why should I want to see what the next bad thing they've done is to justify my opinion of them?
Or what about with family and friends? When you live in an exciting family, as I do, there's always someone doing something crazy. And I have several friends and family members that would love to analyze these missteps with me. We don't call it complaining or criticizing. We discuss things, so that we can try to come alongside and help the children, or commisserate together. Yeah, right. We're just gossiping. And it doesn't help anyone.
I don't like this streak in me. So I have decided that with God's help I am going to have a complaint free week, where I focus on what is beautiful in the world. I'm not sure if I'll make it, because it's a little out of character for me, but I'm going to try.
For one week, I will not say anything negative. I will see the good in people, I will thank them for what they do, I will smile, I will be a blessing. I will learn to hold my tongue and enjoy the world.
But I don't want to do this alone, because I know I'm not the only one. So would you like to join me? Do you complain about your spouse way too much, even if it's only in your head? Do you complain about your job, or your in-laws, or taxes? Let's try not to. For one week, let's be positive, and see how it changes our lives and our outlooks!
Here's a great cartoon
that summarizes the whole thing, too!
So will you join me in Complaint Free Week? Starting today, until next Saturday at midnight, I'm going to pray that God will help me not to complain. Why don't you do the same? And fill in the Mr. Linky to tell us all about it!