Complaint-free for 21 days
No complaining. Period. For 21 days in a row. That’s the challenge that has been issued to folks at Floris UMC for the month of September by our pastor. Him included. We are wearing purple wrist bands to remind us of our pledge and to help us keep tabs. Every time we complain we must switch our band to the other wrist. And return to Day One.
I like challenges. I like physical reminders. And, I am prone to complain. But I also try to do what I’m told, so I set out yesterday to begin my 21 days. And wouldn’t you know? I found someone’s behavior quite irritating.
No complaining, I told myself. But I was too late. I had already registered the complaint internally, which, of course, meant that God heard my complaint and had hit the Divine Gong. Switch that band.
Whoa. Wait a minute. Complaint free means not only no complaining to people but no complaining to God. I’m not sure, but I think that includes no journaling my complaints either, because they’re intended for Him, too. This is gonna be harder than I thought!
I mean, even when I manage to keep what I’m thinking to myself AND avoid sharing it with a group of friends who SURELY will support me and validate the righteous indignation I feel, I still dump on God. Regularly. Because I want Him to DO something about all these injustices.
And He takes it. He absorbs all my grievances, likely with a great shake of the head or a deep furrow of the divine brow, and hears me out. In fact, He listens. And when I listen back, I hear myself reflected. Most the time we are in agreement. That is a terrible situation. That is an unfair practice. Those are tragic circumstances.
But our God isn’t a Mr- Fix-it God. My complaints are really meant for THAT God. Won’t you please repair him. Won’t you please help them get along. Won’t you please chastise those people for being so rude …so proud…so insensitive. I want Him to do my dirty work.
God listens, but He has also spoken. His answer is us.
- Take your grievance to the one who needs to hear it.
- Take your cause to the one who can enact it.
- Apply your energy to right what you see wrong.
- Stand for those who cannot or are not standing on their own.
…with my blessing, as I would if were I you. Ask it and then act, In My Name. That may be the truest Love of all.
What a quiet September God is going to have.