As we follow Jesus, one of the things we have to deal with is the attitude, “my way or the highway!” This attitude is ingrained in us as we grow up in our culture. We want things as we want them and not in any other way, shape, or form. This is one of the big issues that we have to deal with that stands between us and God. I know that for myself I have practiced following Jesus and committed to loving God for forty years now. I have turned so many issues over to Him for healing, and yet, I can still hear the complaints within me. So, I have learned to deal with them as I learned to deal with the thoughts that abounded when I was first meditating: I have become an observer of them, but I no longer engage with them.
At first, it took me some time to learn how to deal with them. I could name the source of many of these frequent thoughts, many of them I was taught by my parents. Or my Aunt Grace. Or the culture which mainly asked for me to really belong to any group I found myself in that I could never even entertain being different from the norms of the group. Now I have learned to deal with these thoughts by smiling at them, greeting them as the “old friends” I wrote about last month, but not giving way to complaining or allowing them to rule my life.
I am most aware of the complaints when I am driving. The red light I didn’t need, the car ahead of me that is not going fast enough for me, and so much more. I’m sure that before I was able to surrender to what is in my life, I voiced so many more complaints as I went through my days. But God is asking us to accept the changes and challenges He puts before us, to see their value, and what they are trying to teach us. He is asking us to surrender to what is and to deal with it now that it is in our lives. I was so stuck for a long time in wanting to know why something was happening that I would not accept anything until I knew why it was there. That need ruled me until I realized that the “why” was less important that the fact that it was already in my life. And then, finally, I could surrender to what was already with me. Later, I would be able to see what it was trying to teach me.
Now, I am able to embrace what is in my life pretty much right away, because now I see these challenges as blessings that are enlarging my view of what God and His kingdom are all about, so I no longer resent them or fight their presence with me. They are just part of the blessings that God is giving to me. That has been a sea change in me and in my relationship with God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Wisdom is the name of the benefit that the changes and challenges bring in me. These new things in my life are enhancing my relationship with God immensely, and I am so grateful for them.
So today, when these complaints arise in me, I just smile at them and let them go. For they no long control my relationship with God. All the changes I have experienced in my life, whether I wanted them or not, no longer cause me any suffering, because I no longer resist them. I am content to follow God and His Son Jesus wherever they would lead me.
Questions to ponder over the week: Are you aware of the complaints you make about your life and how it is going? Would you say you’re a huge complainer or just average? If you really think about these complaints, are they standing in the way of your gratitude to God or your devotion to or trust in Him? How could you deal with the complaints, so that they don’t rule how you think about everything?
Blessing for the week: May we live in gratitude to the Lord our God for all that He does for us, for His love and support and guidance. May we live in God’s peace, content with our lives and our God.
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