June 4, 2012
Tell me if this recent experience sounds familiar. I was hanging out with some family and friends. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the day, the weather, the event we were celebrating, and the interactions with each other. Young and old were playing board games or sports, telling jokes, and enjoying the funny antics exhibited by others. While most of the discussions were frivolous, fun, and positive, one relative had so many negative and pessimistic comments that it impacted some people’s enjoyment of this otherwise really memorable occasion.
I know every one of you has had this kind of experience, because we all have a couple of sour apples on our family trees … you know, the ones who are grumpy no matter what the circumstances. Sure, they are cranky and negative when facing adversity or stressful situations. But they are also grumpy when the situation is neutral or positive, because that is just their view of life. They seem addicted to grumpiness.
So, why do we get grumpy? One common reason is that situations, people, things, and life in general aren’t going the way we planned. We feel hurt … we have to accept a different plan or agenda … we are disrupted … we are out of rhythm … we become uncomfortable. It’s amazing how we subliminally develop such a sense of entitlement. We think that an event or an entire day should go our way. We believe that all our wishes and demands should be granted. How dare God not grant us all our desires!
So when events or circumstances don’t go our way, why do we respond with negativity, nastiness, and grumpiness? How will those attitudes help improve the situation? Negativity will just push people away and increase their negativity toward you. But sometimes the feeling is so strong, it flows out unfiltered and we don’t realize its impact. We also get attached to our need to feel better immediately. In some weird way, being grumpy gives us a sense of control, power, and attention. But in reality, what we think is a self-protective response is actually self-destructive.
Today, if you feel nastiness coming on and you are tempted to grumble, try a couple things. 1. Control that impulse for a few minutes. 2. Think about whether a nasty or negative attitude will help you achieve your goals. Wouldn’t a more realistic and positive attitude better serve your goals? 3. Go to God and talk it out. Ask Him to reveal to you why He gave you something different than what you expected or wanted. Get in His word and seek Him. As you open up to God, He will put His thoughts in Your mind and His song in your heart. The key … open up to Him! Stop being an entitled and self-centered downer in life. Your attitude is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father, I grumble and complain more than I like to admit. There are so many things that tick me off … so many things I want to change in myself, in others, and in the world. I realize my natural tendency is to brood over these things and take them out on others who are close to me. I see now that the longer I focus on these things, the more likely I am to grumble. Even when I get control of my spoken words, my thoughts are full of complaints. Help me talk with You about these matters. I thank You, Lord, for listening and caring. Even if You choose not to change my circumstance, my communion with You alone will put Your song in my heart. I pray this in the name of the one who graciously accepted all You brought into His life, Jesus Christ – and all God’s children say, AMEN!
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:3
Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Acts 2:28