After some bickering, general bad attitudes, and pathetic complaining between Jason and I I was convicted that I needed to stop my part in the negativity. I think because things are so different and almost always out of my comfort zone it is easy for my first reaction to find fault or compare, to grumble. I know I need to stop complaining or even saying anything negative because it weighs on me and my relationships and blocks my ability to appreciate what is all around me.
This verse speaks to me again “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.” Philippians 2:14-16.
It is vital as I can too easily get down because things are not going “my way” but as I have already discovered “my way” is not best and if I hold onto my need to have a plan, stick to a schedule, get things accomplished I will become frustrated and miss out on what God is teaching me about relationships, especially here in Africa. In complaining, even about small things I forget to celebrate all God is doing and how He has miraculously provided. I miss out on breathing in new experiences and being grateful in each moment. I wonder how many of us miss out on blessings because of perspective? I sometimes think God must get so sick of me struggling with the same things everyday but then I am encouraged that His mercy is not man’s concept and I do not need to earn His love or favor by acting “right.” He desires for me to grow but accepts me as I am. “It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” Romans 9:16
God is teaching me in creative ways.
Jason, Anni, and I set out for a walk to the market. It was about a 40 minute walk and at the start we decided to start anew and we vowed “no more complaining or negative words about anything today” (no judgements, we start small). About 30 seconds after we spoke these words a Matatu (the local bus) driving crazy fast propelled past us spraying us with muddy water. Our feet and legs, and freshly washed clothes were drenched in mud and filthy water. Our God has a sense of humor. It was as if He was just checking to see if we were serious about the whole not complaining thing. We had to laugh as we continued on our jaunt; muddy and grimy and blessed.