Have you ever felt like you were lacking joy? Maybe the circumstances of your life have caused you to not be happy. Maybe you are finding yourself constantly complaining about your portion and you don’t quite know how to dig yourself out of the ditch of not being happy.
Well, I have been there.
Like, really. Recently if I can be honest as I am 39 weeks pregnant and tired. We just came off of the AMAZING 2018 Pinky Promise Conference and I was on a HIGH. I was tired, but thankful to have gotten through such an amazing conference at 35 weeks! Then, that Monday (1 day later) I got a cold.
That is still lingering.
ONE month later.
I’m like, LORD. This is supposed to be my maternity leave and I am coughing and blowing my nose non stop. This is not fun. I am super pregnant. Can’t you just heal me already?? It would be nice to have a mini break and actually enjoy this maternity leave!
So, I am sucking it up being super pregnant + sick. Plus, two little ones, being a wife and all that other good stuff.
This week, I bought a bunch of groceries so I can do some meal prep before the baby (baking, etc.) We have a double oven. Our top oven has always worked, the bottom one – not so much. We had someone come in and look at it yesterday. Turns out, the guy left because he had to order a part. I didn’t know that he was going to disconnect BOTH ovens for an entire WEEK. (Insert real tears.)
Fine. I will find joy in this. I gave some of my groceries away that I couldn’t cook.
Next Day: The AC goes out on our top floor. It’s like 102 in Atlanta and 90 degrees on the floor where all of us sleep (Including Logan & Taylors room.)
Ok Lord. I get it. The annoying cold. The oven. But why. You know I contract when I’m hot and it’s HOT up there! I can’t even sleep comfortably up there, LORD. I’m not even sleeping that much because I am peeing non-stop at night + the joys of pregnancy insomnia.
Not so much outwardly, but inwardly. To myself. I threw a full pity party and I joined it.
And, I complained.
AND I would say that it was pretty righteous, right? I’m holding a whole child that’s full term!
And, then I felt the Holy Spirit grieving in me.
Ephesians 4:30 – “And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.”
Lord. I repent! I’m so sorry.
I completely forgot that I am not supposed to be complaining. I think that sometimes, we can get so caught up in the reality of our circumstances that we forget that complaining and murmuring grieves the Holy Spirit.
Philippians 2:14 tells us, “Do everything without complaining or arguing.”
That is everything! Talk about a hearthcheck. Including be pregnant. Including when your AC goes out a week before you’re supposed to give birth. Including when your oven won’t be repaired for a week. Including when your friends bash you, including when your finances are falling apart, including when you get fired from your job, including when you cannot get pregnant, including when nobody shows up for your bible study. Including when your husband is driving you up the wall. Including when you are feeling down and depressed. Including when you go about your daily life. Including when you can’t find a job. Including when you’re about to get evicted.
This is a hard concept for us to grasp because we live in a world where social media tells us to share “what is on our mind” and all the while, the Holy Spirit is waiting to hear “what’s on your mind” so that you don’t carry those burdens anymore.
Do you know what I love about Jesus? He tells us to “cast our cares onto Him, for HE cares for us.” So, He actually wants your complaining and frustrations. He wants to TAKE them from you. The difference between complaining on Facebook, social media or to that friend that is going to be petty with you is that the issue doesn’t get resolved. If anything, you will get MORE upset as you repeat your frustrations. THEN what happens is that a root of bitterness takes place in your heart. Hebrews 12:5 says “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.“
Wait, so that tells me that your complaining is contagious. Your bitterness can CORRUPT others. Not only does it blind us to all the ways God has graced us, but it also spreads to others. It spreads throughout a family, an organization, and a church and it limits and sometimes destroying spiritual growth.
I am reminded of the children of Israel when God delivered them from slavery in Egypt and they went into the wilderness. They complained about lack of water and lack of food (Exodus 15 & 16) In Numbers 11 they complained about their trails in the wilderness and how they wanted meat. They complained against Moses and God. Because of their complaining, God judged them and many died. Paul said this about Israel’s experience in 1 Corinthians 10:9-11:
“We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.”
WHOA. God wiped them out due to their constant complaining which then PUSHED them to worship other gods and idols. Isn’t it ironic how complaining and cause you to make decisions that you wouldn’t typically make if your heart was grateful?
In Numbers 11 God brought a fire and a severe plague in the camp that wiped out many of them. I don’t think many of us have truly meditated on Israel’s wilderness experiences. Think about this, they wandered in the wilderness without water for three days, and when they found some, it was bitter (Ex 15:22-23). For us, we are accustomed to having a drink anytime we want, just as the Israelites were in Egypt. It would be very hard for us to not complain when lacking a basic need like liquids. Then God gave them manna from heaven for food, but the problem was that was all they ate for days at a time. What if they didn’t like the taste or the texture of it? Wouldn’t it be normal to complain and even acceptable? (Hey, I’m vegan so I’m sure that I would complain. (Insert tears) Plus, even if they liked the taste or the texture, they still ate the same food every day. Would you complain? “Come on, God, isn’t your anger and punishment a little unreasonable—to kill them? Father, that just seems like a little too much!”
Let’s circle this back to YOU.
We have been delivered from slavery to sin, the world, and the devil. We have been given eternal life and the status of children of God. How much more is our complaining a sin in the sight of God? Therefore, God calls us to work out the completion of our salvation without complaining and arguing.We must understand that complaining is not a little sin; it is a big sin. (Isn’t it interesting how we measure sin?) God hates complaining and WE should hate it too.
I just sense in my spirit that we should pray Ephesians 4:29. It says,”Let there be no corrupt communication that proceeds out of your mouth, only that which is edifying!” Holy Spirit, help us to guard our mouths. Help us to guard our hearts. Uproot any root of bitterness that is in my heart. Help me to be thankful for my portion, God! Help me to trust you. Give me the precious JOY that only comes from your very SPIRIT!”
Sis, I want you to know that superficial happiness is dependent on circumstances. It’s dependent on what you can see. What you can touch. Your 5 senses.
Christian joy is clearly different; it’s rooted a persons relationship with the Lord and it’s resilient even in the mist of suffering. Joy comes in knowing that whatever happens God will WORK out everything for our ultimate good. (Romans 5:3-5) The joy we have comes from knowing that the battles on this earth are TEMPORARY because we have hope in the Holy Spirit that LIVES on the inside of us. The Holy Spirit gives us GREAT joy and hope. The life and attitude of a believer must not be defined by outward circumstances but by our relationship with the living God through Jesus Christ.
Soooo, if you haven’t been spending time with God and allowing for Him to FILL you up then you won’t be confident in the joy He provides. You will be confident in what your five senses can touch.
So, I am going to share with you what I had to do.
I wrote out all of my frustrations and then I put why I am grateful for my frustrations. For example:
The AC/Oven is broken for a few days
- Someone, somewhere is pregnant and homeless
- Someone, somewhere has no AC 24/7
- Someone, somewhere has never had an oven or even a stove to cook on.
- My stove works just fine
- I have gas so I can just cook on the oven for a few days.
- We have a guest bedroom on another floor, we are just going to stay there. Thank God for an additional, empty room.
- We have the ability and the funds to eat out if needed or order in.
- We have a home.
- Our AC works in the basement and on the main floor.
- I get a break from baking and meal prepping like a mad woman. 🙂
You see the bright side?
Now, it’s your turn.
Write your issue out:
Now, write 10 points of the bright side.
We must practice this mindset or else we will practice complaining so much that we will grieve and sin against the Holy Spirit. If God tells us in His world to STAY AWAY FROM COMPLAINING and ARGUING then we should. We should trust Him that it’s for our GOOD.
And, you know – it’s not even that bad. We shipped out kiddos off to a trusted family member to play with their cousins and me and my hubby have had an amazing, quiet night of talking, hanging out and.. of course, writing this blog. (In which I couldn’t if our little ones were here!)
So, I am going to bed with a thankful heart tonight. God truly desires to fill us up and make us whole. True JOY is birthed when you have a really, really rough time and you CHOOSE joy. So, tonight, I am passing the test.
I choose joy.
What are you going to choose?
1. The 2017 Pinky Promise Conference was EVERYTHING!!! Like literally. ” Registration is open NOW for the 2019 Pinky Promise Conference with Lisa Bevere! www.pinkypromiseconference.com
2. Ah, I’m SO excited that the Pinky Promise Movement page has a new look! Check it out HERE.
3. ALSO, the Pinky Promise Boutique has a new look too PLUS a ton of cute MODEST, FAB, CLOTHES, jewelry, promise rings, clothes, journals, etc! Check it out HERE.
4. Be sure to check my calendar to see if I’m in your city soon! (under Calendar)
5. Are you in Atlanta? Come and visit our church! We are in Sandy Springs! The Gathering Oasis Church – we meet at the Galloway Private School in the Amphitheatre. 215 W Wieuca Rd NW Atlanta, GA 30327 every Sunday at 10AM EST.
5. My New Book, “The Pressure Trap: was on the Amazon Best Seller’s List as the #1 in New Releases and in Religious for 5 weeks! ahh!! Find it HERE. or on Amazon/Kindle/Ibooks/Audio Book.
P.S.S. I am 39 weeks pregnant now with baby #3. Ahh! God is good!
God loves you like crazy,