Dave and I often quote Philippians 2:14 to our kids. It says,
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing…”.
Some translations replace “grumbling” with “complaining”. Either way, it is much easier said than done…and not just for kids.
In fact, just the other day, I found myself grumbling about the tasks of the day. Seriously. It. Was. Bad. Like a toddler, really.
I could make a bunch of excuses about it, but, honestly, it really doesn’t matter.
When I read beyond Philippians 2:14, it doesn’t list any exceptions or excuses for those who want to grumble or argue. In fact, Philippians 2:15 provides the very reason we are to resist complaining and arguing when it follows with,
“so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky…”
Wow. Not only are there no excuses for complaining, but it is also clear that God has high expectations for his people. He wants us to be in the practice of NOT complaining. We aren’t naturally “blameless and pure”; we are to “become” these things. We have to fight against our natural leaning to the negative and our desire to complain.
The opposite of grumbling is gratitude, and we have to decide to make this shift DAILY. Yes, daily. It is a daily struggle, and if we don’t develop our graciousness and thankfulness, then we won’t be able to live the full lives that God has for us.
When we have an “attitude of gratitude”, we maintain a greater appreciation for our loved ones. We have an eternal perspective that allows us to see the many blessings that God has placed in our lives.
Our circumstances will change; sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Regardless, we ALWAYS have something to be thankful for.
As Christians, we know and believe the greatest blessing of all, and yet, many of us, including myself, will find a reason to complain. So, in an effort to help myself and others kick grumbling to the curb each day, I developed a list. Anytime I start to grumble or complain, I remember the simple blessings I can be thankful for on this list.
Although we may or may not have ALL the blessings on this list, just being thankful for one simple blessing is enough to turn our hearts away from complaining and to our Savior. So, here we go. Below is a list of 50 everyday blessings to be thankful for (in no particular order):
1. A sunny day with a breeze
2. A genuine smile from a stranger passing by
3. The smell of rain on the way
4. Having a spouse who is also your best friend
5. The high you experience being outdoors
6. The joy you get when playing an instrument or singing
7. The ability to help/serve someone else
8. The feeling you experience when helping someone
9. Knowing that you are loved by God
10. Remembering when you became a Christian
11. Feeling the presence of God
12. Second chances
13. Shelter/a place to call home
14. A warm embrace from your husband/wife
15. Laughing until you cry
16. Having a friend you can talk to about anything
18. Feeling loved
19. Feeling appreciated at home/work
20. A new job opportunity
21. The ability to exercise
22. The feeling you get after a great workout
23. Hearing your toddler call you “mommy”
24. Experiencing healing from an illness
25. Having a “good day”
26. Friends who make you feel special
27. Going out with fun friends
28. Being able to use your “gift” to help/bless others
29. Being able to sing your favorite songs at the top of your lungs
30. Having a car and driving it
31. Going to sleep in a warm and cozy bed
34. Seeing your loved ones happy
35. Seeing kids playing together joyfully
36. Feeling the ocean breeze
37. Playing your favorite sport
38. The deep love and intimacy you share with your husband/wife
39. Date nights with your sweetie
40. Playing with your kids
41. Watching your kids grow up
42. Being healthy
43. Being able to get/pay for medical treatments
44.Having clean water to drink
45. Dancing until you drop
46.Listening to your favorite music
47. Being able to go shopping
48. Feeling safe
49. Having the freedom to choose your path
50. Being able to get an education
This is by no means an exhaustive list. The fact is, we have much more to be thankful for than we realize. I encourage you to make your own list, and be as specific and personal as you like. Post it in your home, put it in your car, or keep it in your wallet so that you can always be reminded of the many blessings in your life, even the seemingly insignificant ones. It’s amazing how the complaints subside when we choose to focus on our blessings.
So, what’s your 50?