According to an article published in Entrepreneur a couple of months ago, “most people complain once a minute during a typical conversation.” I’ll be paying more attention to my speech to make sure I don’t fall under the category of “most people,” but even if I don’t voice a complaint in my conversations I wonder if I think it? The article goes on to show the negative effects of complaining:
It rewires your brain to make future complaining more likely.
It becomes your default behavior, which changes how people perceive you.
It damages other areas of your brain.
It raises stress levels.
It lowers your immune system.
It’s contagious. Like second hand smoke, it negatively affects those around you.
The article states that the solution to complaining is “to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.” “When you feel like complaining, shift your attention to something you’re grateful for.” Gratitude:
Reduces stress levels
Improves mood, energy, and productivity
I imagine gratitude is also contagious and will positively affect those around you.
I find it interesting that this nonreligious article (based on scientific research) is simply confirming what God has been telling us all along. “Do all things without grumbling or complaining” (Phil. 2:14). Instead, “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:18; Col. 3:15,17; Eph. 5:20). It doesn’t surprise me that it’s been proven that complaining is bad for our health and gratitude is good for our health. As the saying goes, “When God says, ‘Thou shalt not,’ He’s really saying, ‘Do yourself a favor.'”
The article suggests that, over time, complaining or gratitude can become a way of life. This means my words may reveal more to others than I intended. They reveal my heart and all that I choose to focus on (Luke 6:45; Prov. 4:23). My words affect more than I intended. They affect my own health and even the health of those around me. Complaining or gratitude. This simple, daily choice has great impact.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Revive Me, Week 49–A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord
See God at Work
I love the idea of keeping a prayer journal. At ladies’ Bible class this past week, Anthea Carelse shared how she does hers. I thought it was so great that I plan to do the same thing. Instead of coming up with New Year’s resolutions, Anthea spends time creating her prayer journal for the year. She thinks of and writes down her list of major prayer requests/ concerns. She adds to it throughout the year. She said that her favorite part is looking back a few weeks or months later and seeing how many she can cross off the list. Anthea said that at the end of the year, she looks back over her prayer journal and can clearly see how most of her prayers were answered or in the process of being answered. How faith building!
Anthea’s idea is a great one because it’s a reminder to see God at work. When we do that, we will be more thankful for His love and attention. We can always grow in our faith and in our gratitude. Acknowledging answered prayers is an easy way to do that.
And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.
–1 John 5:14,15
“Leave it all in the Hands that were wounded for you”
Suggestions for the Week:
Purchase a spiral bound notebook or pretty journal and be thinking about the specific prayer requests/ concerns you’d like to write down on January 1st.
Besides building faith and growing gratitude, keeping track of God’s work in your life can also keep complaining and the martyr complex at bay. What other benefits can you think of that will come from acknowledging answered prayers?
Read the following verses and note the conditions mentioned for answered prayer: