Is Negativity Becoming a Habit?

is_negativity_becoming_habitHave you ever been around a group of people that seem to do nothing but complain? They aren’t trying to find a solution, they aren’t trying to get to the bottom of a problem. They are complaining. While we all need to vent from time-to-time, what happens when the venting isn’t just release, but constant negativity and complaints?

It is all too easy to let our emotions take over and our judgement fly out the window. We allow ourselves to wallow in our situation. An especially important side effect to our constant grumbling, is that soon our children begin to take notice. They observe we having nothing good to say; not about them, our spouse, our house, or our life situation.

Soon, our children begin to see life through our negative lens. They start to bellyache about their situation. They, too, begin to complain their days away, wading in their troubles.

What if, instead, we tried to accentuate the positive in every situation. What if we chose to be more like Pollyanna and play the “Glad Game“. Hypothetically speaking, what if we handled situations more like this:

  • No, my car isn’t working right now. But, you know, the Lord is using this situation to teach me patience. It hasn’t been easy, but we’re getting there.
  • My daughter is struggling with arithmetic right now. I know she is really smart, we just need to keep working on different ways to do our homeschooling. I am sure, with time, we’ll figure it out!
  • Things has been really difficult with my husband out of work right now. We are praying for him though and we know something good is going to come along. For now, we are just trying to be more careful with our budget and learn to be resourceful.

See the difference? Yes, I could complain my car is in the shop again and my life is being inconvenienced. I could complain I have tried explaining the same topic to my daughter, again and again, and I don’t understand why she just can’t get it. Yes, I could vent my frustrations about how my husband still hasn’t found work and I hate things being so tight. But is that the best solution?

Is my constant negativity going to make the car get fixed, my daughter learn faster, or help my husband get a job? No! Trust me when I say, our complaining is a pain… very literally. It hurts the hearts of those who hear our complaints and it hurts us to dwell on them.

When my children hear me complain about them, their hearts are injured. When my husband hears me complain about our situation, it hurts him. When I continually focus on the negative, I am hurting my own peace of mind.

While I have not, by any means, conquered this area completely; I am very happy to say I am intentionally trying to win out. I am choosing to downplay the negative and choosing to focus on the good. It might be hard to find, but every situation has a silver lining.

“Do all things without grumbling or questioning,”
~ Philippians 2:14

📢 Chime In!: Do you find yourself focusing on the negative aspects of life? What helps you to refocus and accentuate the positive?

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Stop Complaining About My Complaining!

Stop_Complaining_About_ComplainingOften, I find myself listening to little people in the midst of fussing about life’s many trials. They complain about having to make their beds, brush their teeth, clean their bathroom, and help with household chores. There are days I wish I had a magic button to push which would allow me to turn the complaining off. Then, the Lord shared something with me.

As often as my kids are complaining, I’m complaining about their complaining. If I would like my children to stop grumbling, I need to first set the example myself. But, how do I do this?

Prayer – Above all, I need to be in prayer. I should also be praying over my children’s hearts and teaching them to pray on their own.  With the Lord’s help, we can beat the habit of whining and have a peaceful home.

Gratefulness – At the heart of our grumbling is a lack of thanksgiving. We are no longer praising the Lord for His goodness and instead choosing to focus on our flesh.  When I choose to stop looking for the good, and instead allow difficulties to cloud my vision, an ungrateful heart root begins to grow.

Refocusing – It helps when we ask the Lord to remind us of all the blessings He has so willing bestowed on us. I am able to make my bed, because He has given me one; furthermore, the home in which the bed resides! In this particular circumstance, I am able to fuss over my children because He has blessed me with the gift of children.

Removing – If a complaint is still on the tip of my tongue, it might be time to step back from the situation. A complete change of scene, even for minutes, might be just what I need to reset my thinking. Sometimes this comes in the form of a restroom break, other times I close the door to my room and just breathe. No matter how I choose to manifest the break, removing myself from an atmosphere of negativity helps.

Silence – If at first you don’t succeed, try silence! If the complaining gets too out of hand, when having a moment to myself isn’t helping, or when things have escalated to a fever pitch… it’s time to play the quiet game. Everyone gets a corner. No one is allowed to talk until the timer goes off. Not even mom. Sometimes we play soothing music to help. Sometimes we simply enjoy the silence. During these moments of quiet I’m usually praying hard, asking the Lord to completely change the mood of our home to please Him.

Complaints are like a virus. Without us even noticing, the little things start sneaking into our home. It starts with an unhappy face, and before we know it words are pouring out of our ungrateful mouths. We grumble, complain, and argue when we ought to be cultivating a heart of thanksgiving.

Instead of complaining about my children’s complaining, I need to be setting an example. I need to be praying more often about this issue, encouraging gratefulness in their hearts, and teaching them to refocus their thinking on Christ.

May we do all things, including parenting, without argument or complaint; and to God be the glory.

“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”
Philippians 2:14-16

🔔Time to Chime In: Battling complaints while at home is one thing, but how do you manage complaining when you’re on the go and the kids just won’t stop fussing?

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Anything You Can Do…

Anything You Can Do

No competition here; just good, plain fun!

It’s there, you can feel it. The underlying edge to the conversation. These women aren’t sharing their knowledge of learning and parenting for the sake of edification. Nope; they are condescendingly sharing their ideas so that others will admire their actions, abilities, and resources.

Is it a female thing; this need to compare ourselves to other people? While I am sure there are men who engage in such actions, I find this to be more prevalent in women. We weigh our curriculum, our routines, our households, our relationships, and more against someone else’s. Why do we do this?

Sometimes we are doing so simply to evaluate where we stand. Are we on the right path? Is there more we could be doing? At other times, if we are being honest with ourselves, we are filled with pride. How could they do that; don’t they know it’s not the best way to homeschool? Why would she do that; doesn’t she understand that is a major parenting mistake?

There are times when sharing our views is perfectly acceptable. When someone asks how we organize our day or which curriculum we like best, it can be fun to share ideas and compare how families differ in their preferences. If a person is needing moral council, we should share the will of Christ. Nor is it a concern if we are merely expressing our opinions or feelings; we have the freedom to do so. However, we need to be very careful that we are doing so with the right attitude. It can be all too easy to shift from sharing to downgrading. Instead of giving examples of what we do and explaining why we like it, we become condescending toward those who don’t do the same. We belittle those who are different from ourselves. I have heard this specific complaint mentioned numerous times. How sad!

We need to avoid the sin of pride. Pride prevents us from establishing good relationships and sharing Christ with others. We think our way is best and think less of those who aren’t doing the same. Apart from moral issues, we need to understand that our way of doing things is simply that; our way. It is not our job to convince people to our way of thinking, nor is our way the only way the job gets done.

To further complicate the problem, what are we teaching our children when they see us engage in this action? Instead of modeling a gracious spirit, one with a heart to edify and encourage, we are teaching them the art of pride.

In our daily conversations, we need to be careful how we conduct ourselves. Our pride can quickly get us into trouble and stumble others around us. Being a Christian doesn’t mean we are immune to this problem. In fact, sometimes, it’s just the opposite. Christians can too often be filled with self-righteousness and pride. When we do catch ourselves giving in to this temptation, we need to ask forgiveness and begin to change our ways. If we happen to be present when such a conversation is being held, we need to speak up! Graciously and humbly, we should counsel those given over to pride.

Sharing about our lives can be lots of fun and often helps others. Let’s share with grace and humility, with a desire to edify those around us. Anything else is just pride.

Time to Chime In: Do you find it hard to speak up when you overhear a person being condescending? How do you deal with such situations?

Accentuate the Positive

Tangled Up

Does life find you tangled up? Think Positive!

Have you ever been around a group of people that seem to do nothing but complain? They aren’t trying to find a solution, they aren’t trying to get to the bottom of a problem; they are complaining.

While we all need to vent from time to time, what happens when this becomes a daily event? What happens when the venting isn’t just venting, but constant negativity and complaints?

It is all too easy to let our emotions take over and our judgement fly out the window. It is all too easy to allow ourselves to wallow in our situation, instead of finding a way to climb out.

An especially important side effect to our constant grumbling, is that soon our children begin to take notice. They notice that we having nothing good to say; not about them, our spouse, our house, or our life situation.

Soon, our children begin to see life through our negative lens. They begin to bellyache about their situations. They too begin to complain their days away, wading in their troubles.

What if, instead, we tried to accentuate the positive in every situation? What if we chose to be more like Pollyanna and play the “Glad Game“?

Hypothetically speaking, what if we handled situations more like this:

•No, my car isn’t working right now. But, you know, the Lord is using this situation to teach me patience. It hasn’t been easy, but we’re getting there.

•My daughter is struggling with arithmetic right now. Gosh! I know she is really smart, we just need to keep working on different ways to do our homeschooling. I am sure, with time, we’ll figure it out!

•t has been really difficult with my husband out of work right now. We are praying for him though and we know that something good is going to come along. For now, we are just trying to be more careful with our budget and learn to be resourceful.

See the difference? Yes, I could complain that my car is in the shop again and my life is being inconvenienced. Yes, I could complain that I have tried explaining the same topic to my daughter, again and again, and that I don’t understand why she just can’t get it. Yes, I could vent my frustrations about how my husband still hasn’t found work and I hate things being so tight. Really, though, is that the best solution?

Is my constant negativity going to make the car get fixed, my daughter learn faster, or help my husband get a job? No!

Trust me when I say, our complaining is a pain… very literally. It hurts the hearts of those who hear our complaints and it hurts us to dwell on them.

When my children hear me complain about them, their hearts are injured. When my husband hears me complain about our situation, it hurts him. When I continually focus on the negative, I am actually hurting my own peace of mind.

While I have not, by any means, conquered this area completely; I am very happy to say that I am intentionally trying to win out. I am choosing to downplay the negative and choosing to focus on the good.

It might be hard to find, but every situation has a silver lining.

Do you find yourself focusing on the negative aspects of life? What helps you to refocus and accentuate the positive?

Heartbroken

A Certain SadnessI read a post yesterday that broke my heart. The young girl was speaking out about her homeschooling experience and her plot on life.

(Normally I would post a link to her blog, but I cannot, in good conscience, do so with this post. The language that she was using was astounding.)

In short, this young person was complaining about her online schooling. Her family has recently relocated and her parents have opted to use a virtual academy. The virtual academy is not to her liking and she is struggling with learning. She is apparently very dissatisfied with her lack of social outlet and is very much frustrated with, what she views as, her mother’s lack of understanding and follow through.

So what was wrong with the post exactly? Perhaps the girl is justified in her frustration. Perhaps the virtual academy really isn’t working. Perhaps she does need to meet some new friends and get involved in something outside of the home. Those are all valid reasons to be upset and they should be addressed.

No, my problem was the attitude behind the post. The mother was called every name in the book (no kidding!) and was accused of being a liar. The young girl, very obviously, had more going on than a lack of enthusiasm for her curriculum.Looking Outside

It all seems to boil down to one thing… lack of relationship.

If her parents spoke with her about their choices and helped her understand, would she still feel this way? If she was free to speak with her parents, vent her frustrations and explain her needs, would she still feel this way? Do her parents have a history of not telling the truth or not following through with their promises?

I suppose it also got me thinking. Do my kids trust me? Am I true to my word? Do I fully explain why we do what we do and allow them to vent their frustrations, as long as they are respectful? Do we respect each other and have a good relationship?

My heart breaks for this young girl who is obviously in need of attention and help. I hope that her parents start to hear her, before it is too late and they have lost their daughter completely.

I pray that as my children grow older, they will never feel the way this girl does. I pray that our children’s needs are always met, that they can count on us no matter what, and that they feel comfortable in sharing their feelings.

What advice would you give this girl?