At a conference I attended, we had a little bit of an issue… Halfway through the week, the building we stayed in started to experience air condition problems, and consequently, the two banquet halls we were using had no air flow – one was the kids’ room, and the other was the main hall where the adults met. Let’s just say that it wasn’t exactly the most comfortable of conditions – especially with the Texan summer heat that radiated all around us.
If you were to ask the adults how their meetings had gone, you would’ve heard an array of complaints. The air condition was out. There was hardly any space for anyone to sit. The air was stuffy. Everybody was uncomfortable. And on and on and on.
However, upon asking the kids how their programs had gone, their answers were quite different. In fact, for these kids, there wasn’t even a single complaint! They happily explained what their teachers taught them and the cool crafts that they created.
It always amazes me at how differently things can be seen from the eyes of a child versus the eyes of an adult. No matter what the situation is, the child will generally always be more positive about their circumstance!
But why? They were in a stuffy banquet hall as well, weren’t they? I don’t doubt that they also felt uncomfortable and sweaty. Not to mention, there were just as many of them as adults, so I know that they didn’t have any extra wiggle room! So what was it that made these kids forget their complaints??
Joy. These kids were experiencing joy. Yes, they were in an uncomfortable situation. Yes, they could have probably had better conditions if circumstances had been different. But when it really came down to it, they were too joyful about learning stories, playing games and making crafts to remember any of the bad parts of their experience.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. | Ephesians 4:29
There’s so much that kids can learn from adults. But I think that adults have just as much to learn from kids, at times. Is the measure of joy we experience greater than our level of complaint? If it isn’t, we have to ask ourselves why that might be. Is the gospel of Christ not enough to bring us joy even in the worst circumstances?
Have you ever paid attention to what Scripture says about experiencing joy through Christ? It is glorious. It is inexpressible! It overflows within when you trust in God. It brings out strength! It brings about reasons to celebrate! It encourages those around us. It’s everlasting AND it cannot be easily taken away.
Complaining brings about devastation and discontentment and encourages others to have anger towards things we can’t control. But Joy breeds positive thoughts, productive conversations and provides value to things even beyond our control.
Which of these radiates from you? I realize my struggle with complaining and I want to do something about it. The choice is ours – and there’s no better time to stop complaining than right now!
“If you have time to whine and complain about something, then you have the time to do something about it.” | Anthony D’Angelo