It never fails that in conversation with Christian women at some point they say, “I don’t want to complain, I mean it (or he, or she, or the situation) isn’t THAT bad. I know God doesn’t like it when I grumble.” I often share with them that God knows what’s in their hearts, and He would far rather them share their hearts honestly with Him than hide their feelings- which typically come out in bitterness or resentment towards others anyway.
However, it is a thin line, isn’t it? When are we complaining and when are we honestly sharing our hearts before God or others?
Particularly after a sermon like last Sunday’s (a good discussion about how grumbling can cause us to miss the blessings God has for us) I am forced to look at myself and my ‘grumbling.’
It’s no secret that one of my struggles in life is loneliness. Just this past week I celebrated my 27th birthday. I was emotional the entire week for no reason other than I was worried I would have no one to celebrate with. As I sat on the couch across from my supervisor on Thursday, I even started crying about it. GREAT, I thought, I’m a 27-year-old CRYING about my birthday! How pathetic.
I think about the things I long for as a single person- someone to discuss my day with, someone to sleep next to, someone to call when I’m traveling to tell I got there safely, etc. I really don’t sit around fixated on these things (except when I write them in my blog:), but they’re there and in conversations with trusted friends I express my disappointments.
But is that grumbling? I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that God has given me much. I have an amazing and loving family. I have wonderful, authentic friends who listen well. I’m in a profession I love. I’m healthy. I get to do the things I have a passion for- like rock climbing, playing basketball, traveling, going to coffee shops, etc.
It seems a lot easier to look at others and think “oh girl, you’re not complaining, you’re just being honest. These things in your life are painful, and it is completely understandable that you would feel that way. Thank you for trusting me with this part of your journey.”
It’s not so easy to say that to me. I feel like all I do is whine. Like I need to grow up; I need to be stronger.
But then there’s the fear of going back how I used to be- denying all my feelings and all my hurts and stuffing them deep enough that even I was unaware they were there.
So, I guess all this to ask- when is it grumbling, and when is it an authentic pouring out of your heart?