Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 4: Sunshine Day

I was at a gathering last night with friends, looking at a letter the Apostle Paul wrote to friends of his at Philippi. It was not an especially cheery letter--Paul was in prison, the Philippians were feeling the heat from folks who weren't all that excited about their devotion to Jesus. Paul was trying to help them keep their emotional/spiritual boat afloat.

One line in particular caught my attention: "Do everything without complaining or arguing," he says. He had his reasons, but I didn't quite get that far. I was captivated by the concept of even going one day (let alone a lifetime) without complaining. Now, I'm a pretty positive person, and I left a career as a civil litigation attorney because I realized I hate conflict. So it's not like I head out each morning looking for battles. But somehow, they find me. If I decide I'm in the mood to complain, I can usually find plenty of material to work with. Do you ever feel that way?

As I thought about what this no complain/no argue idea might look like for me, I sensed that in this, God isn't asking me to go all Polly-positive, or ignore reality. If it rains, I think it's okay to say, "Wow...I really wish I'd thought to grab my umbrella..." And if something terrible happens--a breakup, a disappointment, something you hoped would work out didn't--I think it's okay to acknowledge that disappointment, and to mourn. What we want to avoid is complaining about the way things are in a broader sense--giving individual situations that hurt or frustrate us roots and vines that shoot through the rest of our lives.

Today, I'm going to try this. As we discussed yesterday, silence can be a powerful weapon in our spiritual arsenal. So for the next few h0urs, if I don't have something nice to say, I won't say anything at all. If nothing else, it should be interesting to see how that goes :)

Anyone want to join me?

6 comments:

leisel16 said...

this is one is going to be challenging, but i seem to be up to challenging myself lately. thank you trish for a fresh look at this verse.

larramiefg said...

What a great exercise that -- with practice -- could become a habit. O-h-h if only it was contagious.

Jane said...

I now recall that it is during my moments of silence that God reveals the most incredible things that only he can reveal. I am so open to those revelations. This is such a great game to be playing - especially as I live in the heart of downtown Manhattan where the noise levels are extreme, peoples' opinions are rife and the pull of distractions is very strong!! Game on!!

Rachaelita said...

Funny....today just happened to be a blisteringly humid day in NYC, and I am still without AC in my apt, and there was heavy construction noise outside my apt all day. I can't say I was successful at the no-complaining part. However, when I went over to the construction workers to talk to them I was sweet as pie. Boy did I feel like ripping in to them when I left my apt. But God's softness did come upon me as I crossed the street to talk to them. Praise Jesus!

Sarakastic said...

I'll try this but I ahve a feeling it's going to be a very quiet day

KimberlyH said...

This is one of those long term things that it's good for me to be reminded of every so often, to re-up my effort.
I have a friend who has just the amazing gift of being positive and encouraging - and I can't remember her ever complaining. She has her ups and downs just like everyone else, and will be honest about it, but doesn't complain. Like it just doesn't fit her character. Maybe it's a spiritual gift or the like from God.
So when I'm trying not complain as much, I think of and try to be like her.