Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Excuse Me, I Have a Complaint!

Sometimes I like to complain. Is anyone else with me? Try living in Cleveland in late February/early March, and you’ll hear some complaining about the weather – mostly from Amy Caton.

So, I have been trying a new experiment. I’m intentionally taking my complaints to God. If you believe in God and/or a follower of Jesus, you may be thinking that this concept is a no-brainer. Of course we should take our worries and complaints to God, duh!! In my case, I started to take inventory of the latest and greatest “complaints” I’ve had. Wow. It was a bit humiliating. I had done a LOT of talking. Talking to Matt. Talking to my best friends. Talking to my family. Talking to acquaintances. Talking to random strangers. (I talked to a lady I thought I knew in Starbucks today for 2-3 minutes until she kindly revealed that she had NO CLUE who I was. Yeah, embarrassing…) And yes, I have talked to God. But not nearly in the quantity or quality as my conversations with other people.

Now, my point is NOT that we should never share our problems, concerns or worries with those who are close to us. Friendship is a wonderful thing. But for me, I wasn’t even CLOSE to even giving my burdens up to God. Right now, I am working through a Beth Moore 6-week study/workbook called “Stepping Up” and it has been a great challenge for me (it’s what spurred on my complaint experiment). One thing she asks me to do is to go “face down” every day when talking to God. Yes, that means literally putting your face on the floor. It is quite an experience. I know for me, it’s been completely eye opening. I have no choice but to have a direct conversation with God. My distractions are mostly eliminated (besides the blood rushing to my head-ha) and I’m positioned in a way that is about as humble as it gets. There’s much more I could say about this, but maybe you should try it for yourself and see what you think! Anyway, it has been so cool to try a “new” way to talk to God. If you do believe in God, what ways do you talk to Him? Some people journal, type it out, think silently, and more. I’ve learned that speaking out loud and writing work well for me because my thoughts get scattered very easily.

King David of Israel (a very artistic guy who had an extremely close relationship with God) wrote in Psalm 142:1-2 in the Bible,

“I cry aloud to the Lord;

I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.

I pour out my complaint before him;

before him I tell my trouble.”

Friends, He does hear us, and even better than that -- He WANTS to hear us! It blows my mind that an all-powerful God wants to hear my nitty-gritty, ridiculous details.

So God has asked me to talk to Him about all my junk. That’s so cool. And on the side this month, I’ve been calculating the benefits of my experiment to complain less to my peeps and more to my God. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

1- My husband will not take on unnecessary stress trying to figure out how to make me happy.

2- I am MUCH less prone to gossiping (aka SINNING), which leads to hurt feelings, bitterness, negativity and basically everything else I don’t want to happen because of what comes out of my mouth.

3- My joy level goes UP as I am reassured that things are in God’s hands.

4- My friends, family and spouse do not have to feel the need to FIX my problems.

5- My friends, family and spouse will be less likely to suffer through the process of forgiving someone who hurt ME, NOT them.

I’m sure there’s many more, but that’s the start to my list. Hope you are able to take your complaints to God this week. When we tell him our junk, I am 100% positive (thanks to God’s promises we learn about in the Bible) that He will honor us with the “answers” and/or simply the assurance that He will take care of things that we just can’t and shouldn’t control.


Cyndi Ray said...

so true Amy!!! I needed to hear this today!!! Thank you!!!

Steve said...

Sometimes I feel like I only talk to Him when I need something, like today for example. I had a presentation to teach and you know me: I'm not exactly big on talking to people, much less a group of people. So I was in the bathroom beforehand (of all places) and I was like "Hey man, I know I don't really talk to you that much, but if you don't mind, I would appreciate your support if you could look out for me during the presentation." This wasn't a prayer or anything; it was more like I was "thinking to Him" (instead of thinking to myself.) Well lo-and-behold, I finished at EXACTLY the minute I needed to finish, and I know I can't take full credit for that.

Moral of my story? He's listening, if you're listening. He's listening even if you're not. If talking to Him while you're doing a cartwheel (or whatever) is what works for you - do it; I'm sure He doesn't mind. Since time is not a factor for Him, He has all the time in the world for each of us individually, even if we don't always make the time for Him. Guilt produces fear, and fear generally leads to negativity/bad things, and I'm sure He wouldn't want us to feel that way.

Just my two-cent's worth, or five, or whatever :-)

Amy said...

thanks for sharing, Cyndi & Steve. I could add a #6 benefit which seems obvious but should be stated -- I am talking to God more. It's such a learning process! Good stuff.

Debbi said...

Amy, I love your blog and your notes about complaining/gossiping. (What? Complaining turning into gossiping? I would NEVER do that!!! Ha, ha!) Keep warm up there in the snow for a few more weeks - spring is around the corner! :)

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