Raising kids. Keeping House. Choosing joy, every day.

Thoughts on Complaining {from my teenage daughter}

Today I have a guest post from my second daughter, Emily, who has been doing a personal study on complaining. She wrote this for a teenage audience and I asked if I could share it with you. Maybe you have a teen daughter that would benefit from the thoughts of another teenage girl trying to follow God?

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I don’t know about you, but I’m a big complainer. 

If my mascara runs onto my cheek, I complain.

If McDonalds is out of Honey Mustard sauce, or I don’t look just the way I want, I complain.

Before this study, complaining didn’t seem like that big of a deal to me. I mean, yeah, I knew I wasn’t supposed to complain, but I never really thought about how big this sin really is.

In Numbers 11:1, it says that when God heard the Israelites complaining, He sent fire down and it consumed them.

That seems like a big deal to me—God consuming people with fire, just because they complained. I’m glad that doesn’t happen to me every time I complain, or I’d be dead many times over.

There are some things I say that I don’t realize are complaints—until someone points them out to me. Little things like, “Ugh! My phone’s out of battery again,” or “My hair never works for me,” are everyday complaints that we throw out there without thinking, when, in fact, we are so blessed to live in a place where we CAN say things like “My phone’s out of battery.”

I’m sure you’ve all heard the quote “Someone else is happier with less than you have.” That is so true. God has blessed us with so much. How dare we complain when a little thing like wet smelly laundry gets in our way?!

Philippians 2:14 says “Do all things without murmuring…” That’s pretty straightforward. It doesn’t say do MOST things, it says ALL things.

Jesus died on the cross for every single one of our sins. That means that He died for every one of our complaints. I think that if we double check ourselves before we say anything, we would be much better off. If we think to ourselves, “Is what I’m about to say going to edify the people listening (Ephesians 4:29)?” we’d keep ourselves in check.

Another verse on being content is Philippians 4:11. It was written by Paul the apostle. He was in jail, writing to the Philippian believers. He wrote, “…I have learned in whatsoever state I am, to be content.” That’s humbling. I’m pretty sure none of you reading this are in jail, but even if you are, they are nothing like the jails back in Bible times. They were dark, cold, damp places that probably had rodents running around in them. And Paul was content.

Wow. Now that smelly laundry pile doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Or the shoes being a bit snug. Or the tooth paste falling into the sink instead of the toothbrush.

The definition of the word content means to be satisfied with what one is or has. It also means not wanting more or anything else.

By saying he was content, Paul was saying he was satisfied with being in jail. Don’t get me wrong, Paul was no idiot. He was saying that if God wanted him in jail, he was perfectly happy there. There was nothing he’d rather have and nowhere he’d rather be, if he was in God’s will.

So, what’s the solution for a complainer?

If we stop thinking about ourselves and the things we don’t have, and start thinking about the people around you and the many, many things that God has blessed you with, it’s much harder to complain. If we change the thought “Ugh, my phone’s out of battery again” to “Thank the Lord I have a phone” it edifies the people around you and ultimately brings glory to God.