Wednesday, July 14, 2010
"Do all things without complaining…” –Phil. 2:14
These days there are all kinds of personality tests. There are the heavy-duty psychological tests that are the most reliable, but it seems most of us rely on the super market magazines to determine our personality style. From Readers Digest to Vogue, publications carry all kinds of simple instruments to measure temperaments and tendencies. The validity of these tests rate right up there with horoscopes and Ouija boards, but we take the tests anyway. One test I saw rated whether we were “half full” or “half empty.” Another “test” measured the “sunny day and cloudy day” quotient.
But no matter our personality spectrum, we all share the common tendency to complain. Some personality types hide it better than others, but inside we are all judgmental and critical. It’s all part of that good ‘ole sin nature that we carry with us everyday. And it seems that the more stressed and hurried we are, the more the judge in us steps up to the plate.
Someone said that, “everyone wants to change the world, but no one wants to change himself.” No one likes complainers, but yet we complain. We dismiss it as justified protection or mature assertiveness, but in the end, its good ‘ole complaining at it’s best.
We have a tendency to see the worst in life. But the mature don't give in to their tendencies. Those that see the best in life have trained themselves to focus on what they have, not on what they’re missing. They understand that comparison only leads to complaining because someone else always has more than they do. The content person is a non-complainer because he understands that a loving God supplies all that’s needed. He holds on to life loosely so when an expectation isn't met, it’s okay.
Nowhere is this more crucial than in parenting. Children and teenagers are walking computers, uploading massive amounts of information continually. Of course, they are storing information that comes from the most valid sources. And at the top of the list are mom and dad.
What mom and dad say and do is unconsciously burned into the minds of kids and stored away forever. Complaining kids are generally products of complaining parents. If mom and dad do it, it magically validates permission for the child and teen to follow suit. Whoever invented the “do what I say and not what I do” rule apparently never had kids. Our kids are watching us like a hawk. Unfair pressure? Maybe, but all a part of the parenting job description.
So, prayerfully and purposely determine yourself to be an appreciator (I think I just made up a word) and not a complainer. When life doesn't go your way, go with the pitch and focus on the positive. Sure, be real about your feelings- it’s okay to be disappointed when life is tough, but when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. In other words, make the best of tough situations.
See the best in life and you’ll store in the hearts of your kids the tendency to see the best as well.
By Eric Joseph Staples ©