Living a Whine-Less Life!
By staying focused on the good and the true, in accord with the nature and laws of God, we'll have no trouble living a whine-less life!
Life rarely goes the way we want it to. Or the way we expect it to. Or even the way it's supposed to. About the one thing we can count on is that life is a constant surprise. But, it only throws us off track for as long as it takes us to stop complaining, whining, and lamenting – to laugh again…okay, okay – at least, to smile again.
One strategy for gaining dominion over disruptions in life is to have (and enforce!) a "No whining!" policy. Add summer heat and humidity to active children and you have the makings of a fun, adventurous, upbeat day or one that's monopolized by whines and complaints, draining away the joy, energy, and companionability from everyone and every activity. A "No whining!" policy is sure to be a summer sanity saver.
Let's consider several familiar Bible characters who chose not to whine about their circumstances – and some of those circumstances sure seemed to merit complaint!
- Joseph could not have been thrilled when he was sold into slavery – by his brothers, no less. (See Genesis 37:12-36)
- Ruth didn't choose a husband who would die young or to have to glean the leftover grain in the field. (See Ruth 2)
- Daniel could hardly have been looking forward to a night in the lions' den. (See Daniel 6)
What's more, none of these Bible figures deserved the ordeal they had to face. In fact, each of these individuals aspired diligently to stay close to God – to worship God, to remain faithful, and to demonstrate his faith to others – no matter what. In essence, they refused to whine…EVER!
What does it take to stop whining?
- Refuse to see bad, evil, error, lies, the devil. Find, see, and "hold fast (this means, cling!) that which is good" (I Thessalonians 5:21)
- Trust God to be God – powerful, all-knowing, infinite good.
- Identify ourselves as made in God's image and likeness.
- Refuse to listen to doubt and fear.
- Acknowledge with conviction that man is basically good. Therefore, he's not a victimizer, and there are no victims.
- We can be standing in the middle of a lousy day or rotten situation, knowing, shouting the truth – and in so doing, our day turns around.
- We can love a little more – and feel noticeably better in the process.
- When we feel as if we're hanging on by our fingertips, we can declare that every tiny morsel of good we agree to see is a promise of more to come.
- We can put one foot in front of the other in order to do what needs to be done – and trust that moving is a step out of the mud.
- We can look more carefully, deeply, determinedly for spiritual meaning in our daily routine – and see it more readily and constantly.
- We can know that "the Lord is our Shepherd" (Psalm 23:1). (Just in case you forgot, the next line is: "I shall not want." "Wanting" is whining!)
- We can "Trust in the Lord with all (our) heart(s); and lean not unto (our) own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5)
- We can feel joy bubbling up inside, independent of person, place or thing.
- We can feel love, lovely, loved, loving, and lovable. (What's there to whine about?)
- We can simply, humbly, determinedly make a pact with ourselves and with God to stop whining.
But, HOW? One approach is to put a bit of attitude into familiar Bible stories in order to gain a fresh and more applicable-to-me perspective. For instance, the other day, one of my sons and I were reading passages from Job that we'd heard or read many times before. This time, I spiced up the wording to make the meaning Pop! And it worked. My son raised his eyebrows, then laughed, and finally begged me to stop – it seemed almost sacrilegious to him. It wasn't, though. It simply caught our attention – it got us to wake up from a somnambulistic way of reading Scripture. You know what I mean: the way we all tend to read and/or hear timeless Bible stories and verses with a knowing "been there, done that" acknowledgement of the very thing that could actually jump-start our day IF we were really listening, i.e., open to actively listening, hearing, and digging deeper for immediate relevance and application in our lives. Oftimes we need a kick in the pants to jumpstart our very own efforts to quit a bad habit – and that's all whining is. A force of habit. Well, God gave man dominion over "everything that creepeth upon the earth. Think about it: whines creepeth all over the place!
Honestly, there's never a good reason to whine. But when we are tempted to do so, we can add some verbal vigor to age-old scriptures. Gird up your loincloths, ladies and gentlemen! Pull up your bootstraps, you whippersnappers! Sing praises to our God – get off your duffs and belt it out! Silly or serious, these verses can instantly become refreshing and relevant.
If we stay focused on the good and the true, in accord with the nature and laws of God, we'll have no trouble living a whine-less life!