Unfortunately, saying it doesn't make it true around here. My ears still hear whiny voices- lots of them- and the loudest often turns out to be my own.
Why do we insist on whining? It starts before we can talk (even our sweet baby Austin can whine) and the history of whining stretches way back to the earliest recorded stories. The tale of the Israelites in the wilderness could be subtitled, "People Delivered from Bondage Whine about Freedom." But at least they had some pretty good things to whine about. They were, after all, in the middle of the desert, there wasn't any water, and they did have to eat the same thing every day. I generally pick the most minute and inconsequential things to whine about. Most of the stuff I can't even remember a few days later.
Whining, unless you're a three year old with a very exhausted mother, doesn't usually accomplish anything. Think about it. When has whining ever fixed a problem? Generally, the whinier we are, the less willing we are to do anything to change our circumstances. Why change if you can whine? So, not only does our whining suck the energy out of the people around us, it also has the potential to make the situation we're in worse.
So, how do we pull ourselves out of the whiny pit? The kids and I were talking about that this week. I think that the best remedy for whining is gratitude. I've written about being thankful before, but since it's a lesson that I seem so slow to learn, I figure it bears repeating. After all, if we can "do everything without complaining" then we can become "blameless and pure children of God." (Phil. 2:14) Replacing whiny thoughts (and words) with thankful ones is difficult, but the reward of peace that the practice brings is worth the struggle.
- The house is dirty? Be thankful for shelter when so many are without.
- The kids are wild? Praise the Lord that they're healthy!
- Your job is hard or just plain awful? You are employed! Rejoice!
- People being difficult? Give thanks for the opportunity to grow as you work through conflict.
- Grocery store crowded? Slow down and be grateful for easy access to food.
- At home with sick little ones? Be thankful that yours will recover and pray for the moms of those who won't.
- Too busy? Be grateful for the many things you have to do. (And remind yourself who signed up for all those good things.)
- Annoying family members? Be thankful that they put up with you.
- Trouble making decisions? Having options is a blessing!
And when family, health, and life itself fails?
"Let us...fix our eyes on Jesus,
the author and perfecter of faith,
who for the joy set before Him endured the cross...
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."