Leaving One Way And Resting In Another {The Practice Of Not Complaining}

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Yesterday morning I left my sweet boys sleeping to hop on a plane for a visit with my lovely Nashville friends.  I booked my flight with some frequent flyer miles through United but failed to see the airline I was actually going to be on was US Air.  I got dropped off at the wrong terminal and ended up at the right terminal 4 minutes past the check in deadline.

I missed my flight.

The ticket agent remained calm even though she could tell I was upset. I was so irritated at the airline and mad at myself for not reading the confirmation email carefully. If Steve were traveling with me, this would not have happened.   I am the most disorganized traveler there ever was.

Staying complaint-free was really hard because it’s situations like these where {let’s be honest} complaining is what supposedly gets you somewhere.  Anyone work in customer service before? Can I get an amen?  After a few minutes of collecting myself, I decided getting on the next flight two hours later and a stand by connection wouldn’t be too bad.  If I got stuck in airports all day, I at least had a day to read my many books without the interruptions of normal life. A gift for which to be thankful.

This complaining sabbatical has already been teaching me if you remove the junk out of the drawer, it leaves space for the good stuff. The grateful stuff. The things of blessing and encouragement.

You know what else I’ve noticed? Not complaining gets you calmer faster which keeps everyone around you calm as well.

When I invited people to join me on this complaint sabbatical, there were some people who said flat out… “I can’t do this.”  Here’s the thing though… we always say we want God to change us.  But, if we really want to see God move us, we have to be willing. 

The truth is, some of us have some legit reasons to complain. My people here are made up of those who are dealing with loss, failing marriages, failing health, joblessness, unmet expectations, stress and depression.  I know this.  There is value in verbally processing and sometimes venting just down right feels good.  However what feels good for a moment, isn’t always good for our souls.

For these reasons, we decided yesterday to change what we’re calling this break from from a “fast” to a “sabbatical.”  Rather than just abstaining from something that is part normal of life, our goal is to leave our way of living and rest in another.    The complaining is only to cease between you and another person… not between you and your God.  Talk to God about your feelings, your discontent, your unhappiness and your fear and see what He does with it.

Like with every other discipline we practice, there will be failure and there will be compromise, we will fall and rise up again and for all of it, there is grace upon grace. 

If you’ve been practicing with us, what have you learned so far?


6 thoughts on “Leaving One Way And Resting In Another {The Practice Of Not Complaining}

  1. Natalie DeYoung says:

    If I haven’t exactly been on a complaint sabbatical, I have been more conscious of when I am complaining the past few months. When I notice it, I stop, recenter, and think of something for which I’m grateful. This has taken years of training, because let’s face it, I am the complaint queen. Must be the perfectionist in me…
    The less I complain, the happier I am. 🙂 I liked reading this story of non-complaining in action.

    • Suzie Lind says:

      I think as perfectionists, we struggle with this whole thing a lot… I’m thinking the replacing of our complaints with gratitude of what we have or how far we’ve come despite our desired outcome helps us get unstuck in our perfectionism.

  2. Jenn says:

    I’ve decided that instead of telling my husband about my complaint sabbatical, who would no doubt hold me accountable, i would do this in secret to see how it changes my marriage/home. God is already at work.

  3. christies1hope says:

    I was so tempted to complain today, need a car repair (expensive!!!!) but not one that HAS to be done now. I prayed and did end up being grateful that it is something that doesn’t have to be done tomorrow. This is a season of waiting for me.

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