Phillipians 2:24 says, “Do all things without arguing or complaining.” This is an interesting statement in the middle of the “Epistle of Joy”.  Paul mentions the word joy at least 16 times in these four short chapters, so to use some of its precious space to talk about complaining is significant.

Paul is telling us that one of the secrets to a joyful life is to stop complaining.

It’s so hot today.

It’s so cold, I’m tired of the cold.

My boss is awful.

I wish I had more money.

Why do bad things always happen to me?

Life is hard.

These are all forms of complaining. Yes, voicing a wish is a form of complaining and the list is endless. There is no limit to the things we can complain about. I know I am guilty! You must be too or Paul wouldn’t waste valuable time writing about it.

When we complain it robs us of the present moment, it steals joy and the more we do it the bigger whatever we are complaining about becomes.

When we are complaining we rob from ourselves from our best self. Our best self is full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control she does not complain. Do not steal from your best self, it will destroy your life. Complaining also puts us into the role of the victim…in other words, life happens to you instead of co-creating your life and taking responsibility for your choices you lay then down and become a victim.

Complaining steals our joy. It’s impossible for us to say “uhg it’s raining again” and enjoy the weather at the same time. Complaining is a poison to living a joy filled life.

I also believe that Paul knew that whatever we think about and focus on becomes bigger….here is what I mean. If I am always looking at the negative, the negative becomes bigger because it is all that I see. If I see that I have no money…guess what? I will always see that I have no money. If I see that bad things always happen to me….guess what? Bad things will happen to me. Complaining magnifies the bad and diminishes the good. It can become a bad habit that literally ruins your life. Our words matter. What we talk about is what we create. If you want to create a life of joy, fruitfulness, peace, beauty and serenity then look for those things all around you and start to talk about them and they will grow.

What you are looking for you will find and what you think about gets bigger, that’s why God says it’s His will (we are all so busy trying to figure out His will for our lives when it’s there in plain sight) that you give thanks in all things. He knows that gratitude and complaining cannot coexist. He knows that if you think about the good things in your life those good things will get bigger and joy will result.

Challenge yourself this week to notice when you start to complain and then turn that complaint into gratitude and then into praise.  See what happens in your life as you do and tell us all about it in the comments section below so that we can all be encouraged by your determination.