Sunday, April 26, 2009
No matter what they say about social networking sites being too impersonal and taking away the “real” communication, I find out a great deal about my friends and acquaintances through their Facebook or Twitter status updates. In some cases, much more than I ever knew, and quite frequently, more than I want to know.
If it is raining outside I can pretty much predict which of my 150 Facebook friends will express their displeasure. If it is sunny outside, it is also not difficult to guess who will write grumpy messages about “how much it sucks” to be at school/work/being sick/having stuff to do/and so on, when it is "so gorgeous outside".
To be quite frank, I catch myself grumping as well (even though I am trying not to). I have definitely improved, but if you knew me 5 years ago, you would not like me at all.
When five plus years ago I moved to the United States, I hated it here. I was complaining about the food, the mentality, the fashion, the necessity to drive everywhere, fake smiles, small talk, the language… To give myself a credit, it was not easy, because within a few months my life changed completely. I left my wild life in the dorm, my numerous friends, my family, my culture, my university, my language. I always lived in relatively big cities, so moving to a town the size of a sneeze was quite an experience. I didn’t drive, I barely had any people to talk to. My husband was at work and I spent most of my days pitying myself and writing heartbreaking poems in my journal. Then we got pregnant and even though it was something we both really wanted, the crazy hormones didn’t help my crankiness.
Poor hubby had to put up with all these and now looking back I admire him for his patience, love and grace. Time passed and physically I am still at the same place. I do drive, but everything else is still the same: town size of a sneeze, lack of interaction with friends, house in a suburb, fake smiles and fake food. However, something else is different. My mood. My spirit. I feel incredibly blessed having (and not having) everything that was making me mad 5 years ago. I am in a happy and a peaceful place. I am happier than I have ever been.
I knew from the beginning that it was God’s plan for me to move to this country. But I didn’t trust Him enough. I didn’t accept the challenges as gifts. I preferred to grump.
When we are grumpy, this is disrespectful to God. When we complain, we doubt Him and, whether willingly or unwillingly, disapprove that whatever happens in our lives happens for a reason. A reason that might make sense only to God, but the reason that He and only He came up with.
Every single circumstance and obstacle we face is because God either created it or allowed it to happen. One or the other, it was done “to prosper you and not to harm you, …to give you hope and a future.” God said it in Jeremiah 29:11. He never gave promises he didn’t keep, so why do we keep doubting?
Being positive is not about psychological affirmations or power of positive thinking. (Even though I really like the Indian proverb about a man who was complaining for not having shoes until he met a men who didn’t have feet.)
Being positive means trusting God and thanking Him for taking care of you. It means worshiping God during hard (or what you think are hard) circumstances; after them and before them. Studying scriptures with God’s promises is helpful as well, but worshiping is really the key. If you praise and worship the Lord with all your heart, you should have no doubts that He is greater than this world, greater than these circumstances, greater than you. You may think you know what you need in this life and when you need it, but it is God (and not you) who really knows it. He is faithful. He knows what He is doing.
Complaining about your broken microwave, about “crappy” weather, an irresponsible friend, naughty kid, sick cat, and your life in general means diminishing God and His works. Everything happens for a reason.
When I look back and reread my journals it was a sequence of small and seemingly irrelevant events which led me to where I am right now. A failed test, small quarrel, a random acquaintance, slow internet connection… Was I complaining about these things? You bet. Would I end up in the United States and meet the love of my life without them? No, I would not.
Complaining is harmful. It is the evidence of unbelief. It is important for us Christians to guard the words of our mouths.
In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing, so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them. Hold tightly to the word of life, so that when Christ returns, I will be proud that I did not lose the race and that my work was not useless.