Negative speak is rampant in our culture.
Everywhere I go I hear complaints about the weather (especially the weather in Iowa in March!), government, healthcare, food, traffic lights, cashiers, parents, teachers, haircuts, the pebble on the ground.
You name it. Whatever it is, chances are I’ve heard it or said it or both.
What such grumbling shows is a lack of gratitude.
Now negativity and complaining is different than sharing. People won’t know anything more than your name if you don’t share. They won’t want to if all you do is complain.
The difference is in our attitude—grateful for what I do have or bitter about what I don’t?
I propose a solution that I’ve found helpful in curbing negative speak:
*Make a point throughout your day to notice the God Show in your life.*
Yep, that’s it … well, besides sharing what you’ve noticed in some way (either in a journal, online, verbally).
This habit is simple yet has a profound outcome.
We cannot simultaneously give thanks and complain.
There will always be things in our lives that are difficult or that we would like to change. But when we make a point to notice the God Show around us (the beauty, pleasures, opportunities), the downers in our lives take a back seat. They become less dominant.
I once heard a presentation from a mother who had recently lost her profoundly disabled son. For years, her life had revolved around keeping this young man alive and giving him the best life she could.
She had shared that when tempted to be weighed down by the extent of her son’s disabilities, she would twist the negatives into positives.
- Her son couldn’t speak. “He will never use cuss words,” she would counter.
- Her son couldn’t walk or use his hands effectively. “I will never have to worry about him getting in an accident while driving.”
- Her son was tube fed. “I will never have to worry about him abusing alcohol.”
This dear mother, perhaps without even knowing it, looked for the God Show in her life and in that of her son’s. And it profoundly changed her attitude—from one of despair and dissatisfaction to one of contentment and appreciation.
Not everything was as she would have wanted it, but she could (and did) enjoy what she had.
You and I can do the same thing.
Let’s practice. Fill in your own situation as you read mine.
- I don’t have a daughter who can dialogue with me, but I do have one whose smile brightens up every room.
- I have a body with aches and pains, but I can get around, and I can feel the soft breeze and the warm sun on my skin.
- I don’t have a house of my own, but I live in a gorgeous location and have a sturdy roof over my head.
- I don’t have the means to travel around and minister as I would like, but I have the ability to write a letter or a blog post or give a call or text of encouragement.
- The weather in Iowa right now is damp and cold and unpredictable, but that allows me to get more done inside … and this season is ushering in one of new life and beauty. Not to mention, a hot cup of Chai tea tastes better during cold weather.
See how simple it is.
The Amish have a saying: “Enjoy today … it won’t come back.”
Don’t wait until tomorrow to notice the God Show in your life. Don’t wait until the gifts of today are gone. Begin taking note of them now.
Start replacing the negative speak in your life with acknowledgments of how God is showing up.
As you do, you’ll find yourself sitting back to enjoy the big picture.
And others may just feel drawn to join you.
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
What are your thoughts on this? Can complaining and thanksgiving coexist?
Yours in grace ≈
Consider starting a Joy Dare list of things in your life you are thankful for. The inspirational Ann Voskamp wrote a best-selling book, One Thousand Gifts, on just that. You can join me in recording daily gifts and linking with her Joy Dare community by clicking here. You can also see my entire Joy Dare list by clicking here.