Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thou Shalt Not Complain, Nor Shall I

     I often hear my kids complain about not having the exact food they desire. This complaining is one of my ultimate pet peeves. After seeing an image of skinny, down-trodden children waiting in the rain for a bowl of porridge to fill their aching bellies, I have earnestly reminded my family how fortunate we are that the Lord has not only met our needs, but blessed us abundantly. We can have food at a moment’s notice as soon as we feel a hunger pang. Much to our mouth’s delight we have an array of flavors and textures to fancy our palate. And yet, all around us others are dying for they don’t have the means to obtain one bowl of food a day. That led me to ponder if I was setting an example of gratefulness and gladness that I would want my children to follow.
      I started to listen to my thoughts in recent days and have been utterly saddened by them. I have a home to clean and therefore a roof over my head. I have a floor to sweep and mop, therefore a smooth surface to walk upon. There is a stove to wipe down and therefore warm food to nourish our bodies. Every task I don’t feel like hopping up and going after is really a selfish laziness taking root. Discontent can creep into our hearts very subtly if we don’t stand guard.
     Today I realized how much I complain. I think of myself as rather optimistic, offering encouragement to friends and family alike. Yet, I caught the words coming out of my mouth. “Ugh, I don’t want to fold the laundry.” Excuse me, should I not be grateful I have clothes to wash and machines that do the work for me. Folding our garments should be a joy, a privilege, a delight. When I come to my senses convicted of the fallacy, chores become loving acts of service, a service that provides for my family. It is easier to serve with a smile when our hearts our full of love, joy and thanks.
      Philippians 2:13-15 (NIV1984) reads, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” Should we not be stars shining His light in our homes setting an example for our kids to see? The home is to be a place of refuge and joy, a place to run to and rest.
      My children will not see this home as a place of refuge if such tasks of housekeeping are seen to be mom’s discontent or whatever circumstance we allow to cause negative comments. Distress will replace rest. Frustration will take over joy. As a mother and wife my ministry is first and foremost to my family. Keeping my home joyfully is a duty and a privilege. My kids soon enough will see tasks as work to be avoided if I don‘t tame my tongue. But, the bigger problem lies in the rot and decay complaining causes. Discontent leads to bitterness and frustration leads to anger: hallmarks of a sad home.
      I can’t very well encourage the kids to receive their blessings with gladness and be grateful for the opportunities we have to be responsible family members if my heart is misaligned. We all contribute to our home and have an obligation to one another. I must find encouragement for my own heart and allow the Spirit to guide my words. Then and only then, can I encourage my children. So, I am challenging myself to meditate upon and apply 2 Corinthians 10:5 to my daily life. “…and every proud thing that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.” May we all obey our Lord and Mighty Savior, so His light may shine through us and warm our homes.

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