25 March 2009

In Pursuit of Gratitude - (4) Complaining (or rather, not complaining)

As these musings on gratitude start drawing to a conclusion (in the next post or two), I thought I would spend a little bit of time thinking about complaining.

So up front it needs to be said that complaining quells gratitude. Now I know I am prone to complaining and that is one of the reasons I have been doing some work on this topic of gratitude - because I need to hear it myself.

So I was greatly convicted when I read these words a couple of years ago:

* Never allow yourself to complain about anything – not even the weather.
* Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or some place else.
* Never compare your lot with another's.
* Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
* Never dwell on tomorrow – remember that tomorrow is God's, not ours.

Now there is a challenge!!

These words - a prescription for contentment - are not from someone who lives in comfortable circumstances like me. They are the words of a woman who served with her husband while raising their children as a missionary with the pygmies in Africa. She was there for fifty two years. She lived in basic, difficult conditions in the heat of the African bush. She recorded these words in a journal, discovered by her daughter. I think of them often – especially when I catch myself midway through a whinge.

I find this prescription challenging. But I find it encouraging too - in helping me to put aside my attitude of complaining in order to pursue an attitude of thankfulness that brings contentment. Be encouraged.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Philippians 4:4-8


Anonymous said...

Meredith, thank you for this timely reminder to all of us. I often complain about the weather !
Never thinking, well we aren't being flooded out or suffering an earthquake, or being devastated by bushfires - in fact, we have as near to perfect weather as possible. By the way, what's the difference between weather and climate ??? Dot.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Meredith for this timely reminder to all of us. I will endeavour to improve myself in this area. Love, Dot.

Meredith said...

Hi Dot,

I need to remind myself of these things multiple times a day! Maybe we can compare notes at the end of the week and see how we are both going!! Thankyou for being such a great encouragement to me and a dear friend to each member of our family.


Helen said...

I wouldn't say you were prone to complaining Miss Meredith! Wasn't the weather today lovely? :)

Meredith said...

It was a nice day...here and probably in Fiji too!! LOL!! You are too kind. If there is anyone who could say I complain it would be you. Thankyou for always listening. Mxx

mattnbec said...

There is such wisdom in the words of the missionary lady you quoted! Thanks for sharing them. I'm glad for this series because I too have begun to think I should work on contentment and how much I complain, so it's good to hear your thoughts on it too.


Meredith said...

Thanks Bec. This is another project you and I can join together in prayer for one another. It has certainly been good for me to synthesise a bunch of thoughts on the topic. Go well. Mxx