I have noticed in recent weeks an increasing willingness to complain about things that irritate me. I don’t go on and on (I don’t think), and I don’t regularly lose my temper. But when something happens that I don’t like, my reflex is to groan, or grunt, or make some other manly noise that’s supposed to let me whine without sounding whiny.
I’ve realized that when this happens, there’s something other than the gospel that’s filtering my responses to the little details of life. I suspect my bad filter includes the assumption that things should move along for me in a way that is convenient and pleasant. Of course, that’s neither realistic nor biblical.
Realizing that I should anticipate a spectrum of hard things is somewhat helpful, but I need more than that in order to really “count it all joy” when I encounter a variety of trials that seem mundane and unnecessary. LIKE LEAVING YOUR BIKE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GARAGE WHEN IT BELONGS IN THE SHED. What I really need when this happens is to preach the gospel to my irritations.
Here’s a short list of what I’m trying to tell myself as I work to retrain my habits of thinking and responding. Everything in this list starts with “I don’t like this, but…”:
- I deserve far worse.
- Jesus endured infinitely more for me.
- This is temporary.
- God will work it for my good.
- This gives me a rewardable opportunity to serve.
- This provides me with a real-life opportunity to trust God’s promises.
- God cares for me, and is altogether aware of how this inconvenience affects me.
- Jesus promised trouble in this life, and this is one more reminder that his promises are trustworthy.