How to Go From Grumbling to Gratitude
Photo by Catherine Perez Vega on Unsplash
Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.
Have ever gotten out of bed in the morning and not one kind word leaves your mouth from sun up to sun down?
When I get that way, my youngest son, will hold me by the shoulders, look me in my eyes and say, "What are you so mad about?" Most often, I'm not mad; I'm just grumbling. I'm focusing on my circumstances, my feelings, and not the hope I have in Jesus.
I know you understand.
Jesus speaking to the Pharisees said, But the things that come out of a person's mouth come from the heart (Matthew 15:18).
Our complaining and grumbling begins in our heart. Our hearts give us away. Do you want to change the words that come from your mouth? Do you want to stop the complaining and grumbling and grab hold of gratitude?
I do, and I hope you do, too.
Here are 3 ways I found to go from grumbling to gratitude.
Pray for others. When you feel yourself heading down the gravel road of grumbling, you may need more time in prayer and specifically praying for others.
Oswald Chambers, Bible teacher and author of "My Utmost For His Highest," wrote, "As a saved soul, the real business of [our] life is intercessory prayer."
It was Job's intercessory prayers for his friends that turned away God's wrath. After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10)
Paul knew the benefit of others praying for him.
...for I know that through your prayers and God's provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. (Philippians 1:19)
Praying for others takes our focus off the circumstances and turns our eyes towards Jesus.
Find forgiveness. Unforgiveness has power over a person more than we may realize. It has been characterized as a poison that the offended drinks instead of the offender.
Unforgiveness leads to bitterness, anger, and depression. We want the person responsible for our wound to hurt as much as we do. But we are exhorted to do otherwise:
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Forgiving those who don't ask or those who we feel do not deserve forgiveness, seems almost impossible, but consider how we have been forgiven. What if we can't forgive?
If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Forgiveness is described as releasing the grip of pain and hurt has on our hearts. Forgiveness is more for us than the offender.
Preach the gospel to yourself. Some days it feels like we can't get it right. When you have been rescued from the pit as I have, we can be especially hard on ourselves, and this leads to complaining and grumbling.
We tend to think, "I've messed up so bad, might as well go all the way." Our relationship with Jesus is not all or nothing. It's grace.
In his book, The Discipline of Grace, Jerry Bridges writes:
"We need to continue to hear the gospel every day of our Christian lives. Only a constant reminder of the gospel of God's grace through Christ will keep us from falling into good-day-bad-day thinking, wherein we think our daily relationship with God is based on how good we've been."
It has nothing to do with us and all to do with the love of God.
Praying for others, finding forgiveness, and being reminded of the grace and forgiveness afforded us through the sacrifice of Jesus turns to gratitude and love.
Then Give Thanks. Gratitude and thanksgiving is a common theme in scripture. For me, the Psalms express the sweetest words of gratitude and thanks:
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his.
And the gratitude should never stop.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Give thanks in all circumstances, even the not-so-good days when you want to complain and grumble instead. We have so much to be thankful for, so naturally, gratitude should flow from our hearts and mouths.
What if gratitude were the first words we speak in the morning? Even if we want to grumble instead. What if intercessory prayer began our day? What if before we complain we remind ourselves of the gospel? Could this be the end of complaining and grumbling?
These steps for overcoming grumbling and complaining work for me and I hope for you.
Leave a comment below and tell us what steps
you take against a grumbling spirit?
30-Day Journaling Challenge
Another way to turn our grumbling into gratitude is journaling our blessings. If you missed Journaling in June you can get your 30-days of journaling prompts HERE. Free printable journal pages can be found HERE.