I have a really bad habit of complaining about…everything. The weather is too warm, the rain is too wet, the city I live in is too small, there are no jobs out there, the job I have sucks, I’m all alone and single, and so it goes. I’m never content. I’m always wanting something more; something different; something, according to my ever-changing mind, better. I convince myself that what I have, where I am in this world, at this moment, isn’t enough. I could have better things. I could have a better life. But I’m “stuck” with the one I have. And instead of doing something about it, I just whine.
How terribly grown up of me, right?
I’m watching the election results on the news as I type this. Later this evening, half our country is going to be disappointed. Half of them are going to be pissed and angry and feel as if the president isn’t going to give them what they want. Half of the country is going to whine, probably for the next four long years, about how badly our country is being run. They are going to go on and on about how they could do a better job. From the moment the next president is inaugurated into office, fifty percent of our country is going to bemoan the fate of the country.
Well, he can’t please everyone.
It’s easy to look around at our lives and see the the things we lack, the things that aren’t going our way, the things that just aren’t fair. It’s easy to complain. And, sadly, we’re good at it. Exceptional, actually, because we complain about things that many people don’t even have the opportunity to experience. We are dissatisfied with areas of our lives that some people have no say in, no choice in the matter. We whine about things we could change, if we put in the effort and made the attempt. Your life is your own, after all. You make the choices. It’s only fair that you live with them.
Granted there are things that are out of our control. Things like the election, the bad economy, tragedies in our families, the devolution of certain relationships, the poor weather. There are things that are out of our hands. And we hate that. It’s frustrating to know that there are things in this world that we cannot fix, that we cannot determine, that we have no say in. We feel helpless and vulnerable.
We are bad at trusting. We can never see the whole picture. We are such a small part of the grand story God is writing, and we hate not knowing the ending. And we are sure that we could write the story ourselves. We know what is best. We know what the world needs. We know something everyone else doesn’t.
But we don’t. We are only human, after all. Small, imperfect, flawed, and small minded. The lens through which we see the world is so narrow and limited, that it is impossible for us to definitively know what would be best for the billions of people who live in this world. Based on our own choices and the unsatisfactory lives we seem to be living and complaining about, we can’t even manage ourselves.
God knows. He knows the entire story. He knew it from the very moment He imagined the earth He created and the people He breathed life into. From the first moment He knew the end. He is the all-knowing, amazing, unbelievable author of our story. He knows just what we need. He knows what we’re meant to do. He knows what’s best, because He knows how the story is going to end. We need to learn to trust that our plan is not always His. Our idea of what is best might not be what He has in mind. But God loves us. Truly, deeply, unconditionally, He adores us, cares for us, and protects us. He will never put us in harms way. He will always be there to pick us up.
So maybe life isn’t going how you planned. Maybe you are in a dark place, questioning how you got there. Maybe you can’t see your way out. But God sees everything. And there is no place He can’t carry you out of. There is no situation He can’t save you from. There is no sin He can’t love and forgive you for.
Instead of complaining, bemoaning, and whining through the hard times, through the elections, through the things we may have little control over, I challenge you to give thanks instead. To offer praise. To look around and find something, even if it’s only one thing, that you are grateful for. Because I’ve learned that while it’s easy to look at my life at see the things I don’t like, I don’t spend enough time looking around and truly appreciating the things I’m blessed to have.
And we are blessed, even if we can’t always see it.
So tonight, I’m thankful for my family, for my understanding and patient parents, and for my darling, gorgeous, hilarious sisters. I’m thankful for the ability to sit here and write these words, to give life to my thoughts, to be creative. I’m thankful for the chair I sit in, the roof over my head, and the blankets I’m covered in. I’m thankful for soda, chocolate, and every bag of chips. I’m thankful for glasses of wine and group texting. I’m thankful for the sound of the rain and the grayish tint in the sky. I’m thankful I live in a city that appreciates the need for gluten free pizza. I’m thankful for late nights, for texting, for silence. I’m thankful for friends, for the people who laugh when I’m inappropriate and cheer me up when I’m lost. I’m thankful for every chance I’ve been given, for every word of encouragement I’ve heard. I’m thankful for books, for the one’s I’ve read and the ones yet to be written. I’m thankful for every experience I’ve had, because each taught me a lesson. I’m thankful for sarcasm, wit, and dry humor. I’m thankful for the stories I read and the ones I write.
I’m thankful for the life I’ve been given, even if it might not be the one I’d have picked. I’m thankful for a God who loves, always, without question. And I’m thankful for every moment I can spend sharing that love.
Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter. I’m pretty entertaining.