By Maggie Lasher
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ~ 1Thessalonians 5:18
Hello, my name is Maggie and I’m a recovering grumbler. Sometimes I think we need to have a Grumblers Anonymous for support in stopping the grumbling cycle. It is easy to hop on to the negativity bandwagon and catch a free ride. Much harder to try to shift the focus from complaint to thanksgiving.
Recently I was on a girls’ trip with three of my oldest friends. We were having a grand time on our trip until a hurrying, distracted waiter snagged my friend’s chair and dumped her on to the floor. The waiter made a quick stop, a rushed apology, and sped off. My friend picked herself up off the floor, shaken and angry. “He barely stopped! Why is no one coming to check on me? The manager should be right here making this right!” My friend was justly upset that the staff didn’t seem to be concerned about the older woman getting up off the floor, and my other two friends jumped right on the complaint bandwagon. And I found myself in the uncomfortable situation of being the lone non-grumbler.
My friend was relatively unhurt (mostly bruised ego and embarrassment) and the lack of concern of the wait staff added to her upset until there was actual talk about lawyers. I was appalled. How had our carefree dinner turned so upside down?! And trying to inject a note of forgiveness for the staff into the conversation was hotly denied.
We are called to be thankful in all circumstances. The hard ones, the easily grateful ones, and the embarrassing ones. Part of being thankful is learning to shrug off the negativity and determinedly turn to gratitude. And it is hard to be the rudder that tries to turn the boat around. But as saved and grateful Christ-followers, that is our role.
Thankfully, a good night’s sleep and a fresh morning turned our trip back to joy. And my fervent prayer to shift attitudes may have helped as well.
Father God, forgive us when we find ourselves grumbling. Help us to shift our attitudes from complaint to gratitude by focusing on Your many blessings. Help us find the courage to be the rudder when the tide is against joy. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.