I was reading Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot the other day when I came across a chapter that really stuck out to me (I’ve shared it with you below). I never thought I was a big complainer until I really thought about it. Then it hit me. I whine about everything – the weather outside, the temperature inside, food, my hair, my weight, my job, public education, my circumstances, other people, everything… Thankfully the Lord is gracious and gives us the opportunity, with His power, to overcome our weaknesses by His strength. So, I’ve taken up a challenge with the sole purpose of being more like Jesus Christ. He took the task He was given and He saw it through, all while loving and saving those around Him, without a complaint.
Here’s the chapter written by Elisabeth Elliot –
“Where Will Complaining Get You?
When we were in Dallas for a visit, we were the guests of our dear friend Nina Jean Obel. As we sat one morning in her beautiful sunshiny yellow and pale-green kitchen, she reminded us of how, in the story in Deuteronomy 1, when the Israelites were within fourteen days of the Promised Land, they complained. Complaining was a habit which had angered Moses, their leader, to the point where he wished he were dead. ‘How can I bear unaided the heavy burden you are to me, and put up with your complaints?’ he asked. They headed for Horeb, but when they reached the hill country of the Amorites they refused to believe the promises and insisted on sending spies to see what sort of a land it was. The spies came back with a glowing report, but the people didn’t believe that either. Never mind the lovely fruit the land offered. There were giants in the land; they’d all be killed. There were huge fortifications towering to the sky. How would they ever conquer them?
It was the neurotic’s attitude. No answer would do. No solution offered was good enough. The promises of God, the direction of Moses, the report of the spies–all unacceptable. The people had already made up their minds that they didn’t like anything God was doing. They ‘muttered treason.’ They said the Lord hated them. He brought them out only to have them wiped out by the Amorites. O God, what a fate. O God, why do you treat us this way? O God, how are we going to get out of this? It’s your fault. You hate us. Moses hates us. Everything and everybody’s against us.
Nina Jean said she made up her mind that if complaining was the reason God’s people were denied the privilege of entering Canaan, she was going to quit it. She set herself a tough task: absolutely no complaining for fourteen days. It was a revelation to her–first, of how strong a habit it had become, and second, of how different the whole world looked when she did not complain. I get the impression when I’m around Nina Jean that the fourteen-day trial was enough to kick the habit. I’ve never heard her complain.
It’s not just the sunshine and the colors that make her kitchen a nice place to be. It’s that Nina Jean is there. I’d like to create that sort of climate for the people I’m around. I’ve set myself the same task.”
Join me in starting the last month of this year by being “whine-free!” I challenge y’all to take up this same task of not complaining for the next fourteen days (and hopefully every day after that, too!). If we don’t give ourselves the option to complain, then what will we do? Hopefully our lack of complaining will turn into gratitude towards and remembrance of our sweet Jesus.
Stop whining. Isn’t He enough?