I work with a lot of people and their problems. Some problems are self-imposed, some are circumstantial, and some are just down right heartbreaking.
I bet your story has problems too. I know mine does.
When I first started counseling at the church, I worked with a lady whose husband had walked out on her. She and I met for 2 YEARS! We spent close to a year rehashing their marriage, his abandonment, the pain she had endured, etc., etc. She complained. And complained. And complained. Pointed fingers. Made excuses. Justified her actions. Cried ALOT. This took a whole year. But God is good and faithful to those who love and pursue Him. The second year was spent in deep reflection, personal growth, building community, and repeatedly forgiving her ex-husband. I now sit with a very different woman. I enjoy her. We hug every time she leaves. It’s good stuff. But people, because of her intense lean towards negativity, what should have taken 6-8 months has taken over 2 years!
I have another client I’ve been seeing for 3 months, whose husband decided he didn’t love her anymore, so he left. (I actually have 6 ladies right now whose husbands have left unexpectedly, shirking their marital and parental responsibilities – what in the world is going on God? – blog for another time).
Our first two sessions she was infuriated – I like infuriated, we can work with that. During our third session, she began (on her own accord) the process of looking at the situation objectivly to identify her role in the situation. (insert jaw-drop here). That kind of introspection in the midst of trauma is unheard of! Unless of course we are open and attuned to the voice and working of the Holy Spirit within us. By God’s grace, she has even begun to wonder aloud how and what the process of forgiveness might look like.
Two women, faced with abandonment, responding in two very different ways. Why?
I believe it can be summed up with two character traits – self-awareness, and the choice to be grateful “in all things.”
Grateful people are pleasant to be around, they are encouraging, insightful, and upbeat.
Individuals who have a negative lean towards grumbling or complaining are to be avoided in my book (unless of course I’m counseling them :0)
God knew that His people would struggle in this area, in fact, there are over 100 verses in the Bible that talk about grumbling and complaining:
Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the Lord has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him—what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.”
One of our children has developed a lean towards grumbling, which has intensified since summer break started. Have I mentioned how I loath grumbling? Here’s what we’re doing to combat this unpleasant tendency: 1 complaint = 15 minutes in her room. 1 act of gratitude = -15 minutes in her room.
Two days ago the math worked in her favor, yesterday, not so much. But she is getting it, and we are committed to helping her through it. Here’s what I know: I have so much to be grateful for, if you’re reading this, newsflash: you do too. So, let’s commit to being grateful, in “all things,” shall we?