Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Complain Fast...

Complain Fast…

Last Sunday I shared the invitation of the Liturgy Committee and myself to join a parish-wide Lenten observance of fasting from complaining.  (A ‘complain fast’ – not an invitation to hurry up and complain…Haha!)

If you’re like me, complaining is a habit – and perhaps one that’s so ingrained in my daily life I don’t always even know when I’m complaining.  The coffee is too hot or too cold.  The meeting is too early or too late; it didn't accomplish what we wanted it to accomplish.  There’s too much to do or not enough to do, or we’re doing the wrong things.  The music is too loud, too soft, or the song isn't the ‘right one’.  (Or…the music isn't as good as it used to be…)  I’m a champion complainer – and I’m beginning to recognize how unhelpful complaining is in myself and others.

Have you ever noticed how self-centered complaining is?  

Complaining seems to be rooted in setting ourselves, our preferences, or our own ideas about how things should be done as the standard by which everything else is measured.  It is when something deviates from our personal vision or expectation that we complain. 

But that short circuits almost every helpful and positive response.  Jesus didn't complain.  He didn't say, ‘Aw man…going into the wilderness to be tempted stinks…I don’t like it.’  Rather, he marshaled his physical and spiritual resources to engage the temptation successfully.  He didn't say, ‘Look at those crooks making my Father’s house a marketplace.’  Rather, he got involved and helped bring about a change. 

Perhaps most destructive, complaining rips communities apart.  Families, nations, parishes – whatever the community, complaining keeps us focused on ‘what we don’t like’ rather than rolling up our sleeves, getting involved, and working for positive change. 

What do you find yourself complaining about throughout the week?  This week – when we find ourselves complaining, what can we do to be more focused on building up rather than tearing down? 

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