It’s amazing what God can bring to you when you are forced to listen. All week I have been extremely sick. It’s been quite a while since we’ve lived somewhere with 4 seasons and it is taking its toll on me this week. We haven’t homeschooled, I haven’t written, I missed church and Bible study, I sleep all day (when I’m not coughing/sneezing), and I’m just miserable. The headaches, body aches, sneezing, coughing, on and on and on.
I need to write for Monday Memes but I am stuck. I can’t think straight. I’m going through all the memes I’ve saved and the ones that people have sent in, but am stuck. So what do I do? Naturally, I do what any good Christian woman would do. I complain! If there is one thing to get me to complain, it is being sick. I’m well enough that I’m not hospitalized, but not well enough to do anything. It’s the most miserable place for me to be. And believe me, I’ve had some pretty miserable things happen in my life. But for some reason, being sick is just intolerable for me. So the Israelite in me popped up its head and I started complaining to God.
God, I feel miserable. I’m not getting my writing done. I can’t get homeschool done. My body won’t heal, we are a week and four kleenex boxes into this! I can’t sleep. Why can’t I just make it to church? God, don’t you want me to teach that class? Don’t you want me to be a good mom? Why is my family fighting downstairs? Why do I have to do taxes? Can’t my daughter just do as she is told? Why did the paint job turn into an entire bathroom remodel? (seriously, the complaining went on for a while.) And of course, I am multitasking. I’m going through memes while I’m complaining to the Holy One. (and aren’t I the one that repeatedly tells my child that God hates complaining?)
I stop my complaining and just ask God to please send me a meme. And this one pops up. Just praise Jesus anyway. So simple, yet not so simple. God wasn’t chastising me (although I may have deserved it). He wasn’t telling me to buck up, I had no right to complain. In a simple gesture, He was telling me, I know everything is not the way you want right now. I know you want to feel better, be a good mom, teach, and do life the way I have directed you to. Life sometimes gets in the way my child, but you need to just praise me anyway.
My Sunday School class members would tell me, “stop stressing, God’s got this.” And they would be so right. Things aren’t going my way. There have been many instances where things have not gone my way in the past (some way more disastrous than being sick). There will be times in the future where things will not go my way. But those things do not negate who Jesus is. They do not take away God’s sovereignty. God works all things to the good of those who believe. That does not mean that all things are good for believers. It means that God will take everything that happens to you and use it for His purpose.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to his purpose.
If you can’t find anything else to praise Jesus about, that should be enough right there. It’s hard to find reasons to praise when you are down and out. It’s hard to break that mental shift. When you start, however, you will find that you have more and more to praise Him about.
It may be as simple as turning on worship songs. You could find Psalms to read. You could list out things that you are thankful for. There are many ways. You may not feel like praising God, but just do it anyway. Soon you will find that you don’t mind it and that your mood is lifting.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Focusing on Jesus will re-wire our brain and get us back on track. You see, the more I focused on my circumstances, the less I was focusing on God. I spent less time praying and less time in His word. Eventually, when I spoke to God, all I could do was complain. I came before the Almighty God with nothing but complaints. My attitude was sorely in need of a readjustment.
Focusing on praising Jesus will give us that needed readjustment. Our circumstances may not change but our attitude will. Our attitude is what matters.
Why does our attitude matter? Aside from it being disrespectful to our Creator, it matters because it is our witness to the world. Paul wrote that we will shine like stars among unbelievers because we never complain. Standing out in that way will open up opportunities for us to share the Gospel with others. After all, there has to be a reason that you don’t complain. That reason is that Jesus has saved you from eternity in hell and holds your life in His hands.
Have you been complaining lately? What about?
What about that situation can you praise God for?
Spend some time this week in God’s word. Look for scripture that you can refer back to in order to refocus your mind from complaining to praising. This can be scriptures of praise that you can read to God, or passages that give you reason to praise.