Monday, January 26, 2009

"Quit your whining!"

The other day we were driving down the road when this conversation took place....

Aleeyah (speaking to me): NO!
Chris: Aleeyah, you do not tell momma no.

a few seconds of silence

Aleeyah: NOT YES!

Honestly, we tried as hard as we could to hold back the laughter, but it happened. It was the thing that you hope you don't do as a parent. We laughed while giving our daughter, in a round about way, encouragement for her sassy, defiant cleverness.

1 rule (out of the 846 rules ) of proper parenting teaches us: Do not allow your children to talk back and especially do not let them tell you, "NO!". This would encompass if you tell them to do something, they are expected to do it without complaining. If you tell them not to do something-the same applies. It's just the rules and rules are meant to be kept after all!

"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life …" --Philippians 2:14-16a

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just looked outwardly at our children as we try to instill that verse into our children without really realizing that it is written for every child of God--including us. I believe that some times, us (adults) are in need of the lesson more than our children.

How many times a day do you tell your children, "Quit your whining!"? It seems like lately I've been having to tell Aleeyah that constantly-especially when I tell her to do something or not to do something. But then when I look at myself and wonder how many times a day God wants to tell me the same thing.

A few (among the many) things I complain about, are:

I complain about how it seems like I constantly go around cleaning up the same things every day or how it seems like the laundry is never done. Yet, I have a warm, safe home with a washer and dryer to simplify my chores.

I complain that my husband comes home from work late every day and that normally involves him not getting home until after 7pm. It makes it hard to plan things, but he has a comfortable job that provides for our family. He no longer has to travel and is home with us throughout the week.

I complain about the fact that every moment I turn, I feel like I'm making breakfast, lunch, or cooking dinner. Which also increases the dish mess-meaning more chores! Yet, I have food to eat when I want it. We never go hungry.

There are times that I complain about not having enough money for certain things, but I was born in a land of wealth and opportunity. I don't to sell my body to live or make my child work to eat. God has blessed our family more than we deserve and because of His blessings, we are able to take care of our daughter and she never has to wonder where her next meal will come from.

I never want to say that mine or anyone else's problems are trivial because each problem causes its own concerns in our minds. This is not a "well, these people have it worse" concept.

It's like when a teenager's heart is broken after a fight/split from the one that they "loved". For many of us, our initial reaction lacks compassion. We might ask ourselves, did they honestly believe that they loved this person at age 13 and were going to live the rest of their lives together? We might also chuckle in our minds as we think about those "puppy love" relationships in our younger years. I mean, after all that we have been through, it seems so childish. BUT in those moments-no matter what the reason-that teenager's heart is hurting. They are disappointed. They want to know why this is happening to them. They need you to help them understand and grow from it.

I could take my list of complaints and use it against myself to feel guilty and selfish. I could tell myself how childish I am being or how I just need to let it go. OR I could make the decision in the moment to focus my mind more on the blessings that God has given me and how I can share those with others. I can learn to take the focus off of me and my complaints and put the focus on God and others.

If you scroll back up and read the verse again-You might take the first part of the verse as, If I do not argue or complain then I am pure and without fault. So if I complain tomorrow about anything, I've blown it.

But God and Jesus are the ultimate example of a compassionate love for others. God never tells us to toughen up and get over it. He never tells us that our problems mean nothing. He doesn't see our complaint as a one way ticket out of a relationship with Him. Instead, He forgives us. Then, with our own decision to change and think of others before ourselves, He guides us in love to make the right decisions next time. We begin to worry less about what we don't have and more on what we are given daily. Finally, for those times we do mess up, He gave us Jesus so that we can become pure. That, we cannot do alone.


Jill Foley said...

This is great Abbie! I often compare myself to a toddler in God's 2 kiddos whine and complain all day long! And I'm sure that's how God sees me sometimes!

Da MiMi said...

It's a good thing that His grace covers a multitude of sins (particularly my whining)or I'd find myself in hole so deep I could never climb out of it. Oh yeah, that's right. I can't climb out of it - at least not without Him pulling me up.

Jill Foley said...

we use bath tints (Crayola) to color the water. They come in a little container and have 3 colors (red, yellow and blue) girls each have to pick one so we mix the colors to make green, purple and orange! I dont' have them all the time...they usually get them in their stocking for Christmas.

Juli Jarvis said...

Good thoughts! Thanks for sharing. Aleeyah -- I hear you! I love how the verse says "so that you may become..." It's a process. It takes time. But we're on the way to becoming blameless and pure, and shining like stars...

Domestic Goddess said...

I LOVE this post, you have such a great way with words. It was no accident I came to your blog to read tonight because on our way home from cheerleading practice I had a moment just like this. We have some things that have come up this week and because we have no idea what the outcome will be we are stressing out, worrying, anticipating the worse case scenario and what we will do if it happens. I have been stressing about it all day. On the way home from practice I of course had Klove on and there was a lady that called in to update about this 5 year old little boy that has a permanent feeding tube. She was a friend of the single mother who was caring for him and she was requesting prayer because the boy's feeding pump was taken away. The Mom's insurance refused to pay for it and after almost a year the company came to get it. So this little boy who depends on that pump to live had it taken away. They were praying that he would start to eat more so he could get calories and be able to live or that they could find a way to get a pump. Sitting at the stop light I just broke down, it was God's way of showing me just how good I have it. Even if the worse case scenario did happen we would still eat, we would still have each other, we would still be able to live. It seems so hard at times not to whine and worry but hearing the story of that little boy who's means for living was ripped away really made me realize that I should be thankful for what we do have instead of worrying about things out of my control.

Thank you for this post, it was just what I needed to read.

PS...If you figure out the cure for stopping the whining in kids PLEASE fill me in! I love NOT YES, that is so cute.

Tracy said...

hey, so funny - I get to say "quit whining, talk in your big girl voice" about 3,000 times a day TOO!!! Only about half of how many times God is seeing that to me, I'm sure! Great post Abbie.

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