The Complaining Challenge Bonus Day

Sunday November 19

It’s over. You made it. You survived and lived to tell the tale!

Let’s do some observation and see where we’re at. Reflection is always good and gives Holy Spirit room to course correct us as needed and encourage us!

  • Can you tell a difference in your thinking yet?
  • Is there a shift in your perceptive or overall outlook? Your point of view on certain people? Situations?
  • Is it a bit easier to identify grumbling, complaining and criticism? Is it becoming more obvious to you?
  • Can you tell a difference in your words? Are there less complaints and criticisms flowing out?
  • Can you tell a difference in relationships? In the atmosphere of your home? At work? Has anyone noticed?

Let me encourage you to keep going. I know it’s not easy. I felt all the challenges and difficulties you felt. But, I believe the difference it makes is worth the investment. It’s worth the struggle. The reward will be so much greater than the sacrifice.

Cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf says that it takes 63 days to change a habit. You are 7 days in. Seven days closer. Take this momentum and keep going. Keep journaling. Keep looking at these verses. Keep asking yourself the Reflection Questions. Talk about it with your husband and kids. Stay with your accountability partner.

One last suggestion, read the book of Proverbs. Read one chapter a day. Highlight and dig into all the verses about the mouth, tongue and words. These will give you a solid study for 31 days and will help you as you continue with this challenge!

Read Psalm 119:57-60, John 14:26, Philippians 1:6 and Galatians 6:7-9. Let Truth encourage you as you mediate on them. Journal what He is saying to you.

*Remember to ask yourself the Reflection Questions and record your answers when you end your day! AND connect with your accountability partner!

 

ps – a big “thank-you” to Tammy Forbes, Ellen Goulette​ and Tami Lindsay​ for all their help in proofing and editing our devotionals!

Advertisements

The Complaining Challenge Day 7

Saturday November 18

Let’s talk about those words. The words that originate from the thoughts in our hearts. It will take some time for the new thinking to take hold and create the positive words that we want to flow from our mouth. For a bit, our mouth may get ahead of us, spewing out complaints and criticisms. Until our thinking is renewed in this area, we’ll need to be just as intentional about our words as we are with our thoughts. As we choose to think thoughts of love, joy, peace, hope, thankfulness and praise, thoughts that honor and respect – we’ll also have to choose to say them. We will have to be intentional to say the love-filled, joyful, peaceful, hopeful thought – out loud. We speak words of encouragement, support and grace. We vocalize our thankfulness and declare our praise – out loud, even if no one is there to hear it. Even someone IS there to hear it. We let these new positive thoughts become we the new words we say.

I’ll be honest: it might seem awkward at first. It might even sound corny to let those types of words slip from your lips. You might even have a sense of embarrassment. But don’t get discouraged. Don’t let that stop you. Those words are sweeter than you think – to your own lips and to the ears of those who hear them. And in time, those will be the words that easily flow from your heart, through your mouth, without even giving it a second thought.

Ruminate on these verses and see what Holy Spirit is speaking to you: James 1:26, Proverbs 13:3, Proverbs 16:24, Proverbs 21:3, Psalm 141:3, Ephesians 4:29, and Colossians 4:6.

*Remember to ask yourself the Reflection Questions and record your answers when you end your day! AND connect with your accountability partner!

The Complaining Challenge Day 6

Friday November 17

By now I’m sure you’ve realized just how much you complain and criticize. You see how many “opinions” you have (message reference!). It seems as if nothing is off limits. Almost every area of our life was built using the building materials of complaining and criticism.

As we dismantle the enemy’s stronghold, we can’t just leave that space empty. We’ve got to establish and build a new fortress – one that is built on Truth in partnership with Holy Spirit. So we have to be intentional about filling our mind with thankfulness, gratitude, appreciation, gratefulness, respect, honor, and love. We must control our thinking and point it in the direction of love, joy, peace and hope. Choosing to be thankful in every situation, for every situation. Choosing to praise Him, despite the frustrations and disappointments. Purposefully fixing our thoughts on Truth, filling our mind so completely with the positive, that the negative, complaining, and criticizing thoughts have nowhere to land. No space to take root. We have to choose to look through the lens of love, joy, peace, hope, thankfulness and praise so that the negative is hard to see.

We can do this when we soak our heart in Truth by reading & memorizing the Bible. By inviting Holy Spirit to convict us when we start down the path of complaining, criticizing and arguing. Instead of going on auto-pilot, we pay attention to the words we are saying. Instead of just closing our mouth, we address the root of it in our heart. We can’t let our mind meander aimlessly, because it will take us right back into complaining and criticism. It’s what our mind knows, it’s what we’re familiar with.

The good news is; we are not alone in this. Jesus will help us – wants to help – empower and supply us with grace, because this is a task bigger than ourselves.

Meditate on, Philippians 2:3, Philippians 4:6-13, 1Thessalonians 5:18, Ephesians 5:20 and Philippians 2:13. What is He showing you today?

*Be sure to ask yourself the Reflection Questions and record your answers when you end your day! AND connect with your accountability partner!

The Complaining Challenge Day 5

Thursday, November 16

Yesterday, we looked at how important our thoughts are, and how our thoughts form our words. So, this challenge is about more than just keeping our mouth closed. It’s more than controlling what we say. It’s really about changing the way we think.

To change the way we think, we have to tear down the area of thinking that is feeding our complaining words – the stronghold (message reference!). We have to disassemble that well-fortified fortress in our mind that is dominated by the enemy and allows him tremendous influence in that area of our life.

If we are going to eradicate this stronghold, then we’ve got to get a hold of our thoughts. We have to be intentional with our thinking. We can’t go on auto-pilot any longer. We can’t just let our mind roam. We must pay attention to what we think. We have to listen to what’s going on in our head.

To do this, we have to interrogate every thought. And I mean every. We ask each thought this question:

  • Where did you come from?
  • Who do you sound like? Do you sound like Jesus? Sound loving or kind? OR Judgmental? Accusing? Envious?
  • How do you make me feel? Encouraged? Peaceful? Hopeful? OR Irritated? Frustrated? Resentful?
  • Do you line up with Truth – the Bible?

If you find these thoughts are negative in any way, give it to Jesus. Surrender it to Him and ask Him to take it.

Don’t ignore or repress any thought. Address them head on, deal with it and eliminate it. Don’t assume anything is approved building material. Inspect every thought. With a microscope. If it doesn’t meet specs of Truth, stop it and take it captive. Don’t let it become just another brick in the wall.

As we take every thought captive, we’ll be tearing down that stronghold brick by brick. (message reference!)

Dig into Romans 12:1-2, Ephesians 4:23-24, 2Corinthians 10:3-6 and 1Peter 1:13-16. Journal what Holy Spirit is showing you.

*Be sure to ask yourself the Reflection Questions and record your answers when you end your day! AND connect with your accountability partner!

The Complaining Challenge Day 4

Wednesday, November 15

So let’s talk about our thoughts. That’s where the words start. Our words are shaped by our attitude. An attitude (or mindset) is the habitual, typical and normal thought process (your way of thinking) that determines how you will interpret (understand and receive) information and situations you encounter, and dictates how you will respond to that information and those situations. These constant patterns of thinking establish our perspective and create the lens through which we see life.

All of that works together to form the words we say. We never accidentally say anything. It’s hard to say: “I didn’t mean it” about anything we say. Every word was formed by our thoughts about that subject or person. Jesus said it this way in Luke 6:45What you say flows from what is in your heart. In the Greek, that word heart is kardia (kar-dee-ah). It means the heart, mind, inner life. Every word was thought through and established. So, we may not have meant to say it out loud, but the words themselves were not an accident. They were premeditated. Our attitude shapes our words. Our thoughts form pathways for those words to slide from our brain to our lips.

So, if we want to change and stop complaining, criticizing, and grumbling, then we have to first address our thoughts. We have to deal with what’s going on in our heart. When our heart is full of jealousy, envy, resentment, dissatisfaction, bitterness, un-forgiveness and offense, your language easily converts to complaining, criticism and arguing.

Pray Psalm 139:23-24(NLT) Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting lifeAsk Abba to reveal complaining and criticism – those attitudes that are tucked away and those hidden in plain sight. Pray Psalm 19:14 (NLT) May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Express your desire for every thought to please Him so that every word honors Him.

Read and meditate on Luke 6:43-45, Matthew 12:33-37 and Proverbs 27:19, Proverbs 4:23. Journal what Holy Spirit is showing you.

*As you end your day, don’t forget to ask yourself the Reflection Questions and record your answers! AND connect with your accountability partner!

The Complaining Challenge Day 3

Tuesday, November 14

Was yesterday an eye-opener for you? Did you realize how much God detests complaining?

The verse that gripped me most was Numbers 14:27 (NLT) “How long must I put up with this wicked community and its complaints about Me? Yes, I have heard the complaints the Israelites are making against Me.

Every complaint was really a criticism of God. Whether they were griping about food, leaders or the future, (or anything else they moaned about in the book of Numbers – the book is full of their protests) all of it was really about God and His provision and plan for them. Despite the fact that He had heard their cries for freedom and miraculously intervened in their situation. Despite the fact that He supernaturally protected them from the plagues of Egypt and led them out of bondage with the wealth of Egypt in their pockets. Despite the fact that He astonishingly prevented them from ever being enslaved by the Egyptians again – they could not see His heart to provide, protect and care for them. They could not see His hand powerfully supplying every need. Their complaints kept them from trusting His goodness and seeing His faithfulness. After all He had done, they could not believe.

That is sobering. And lest we look at the Israelites and declare them foolish, we need to realize we do the exact same thing. As ones who are in relationship with Father God through Jesus, every time we complain about anything, we are expressing a lack of confidence in God’s ability or desire to provide what we need.

Think about that. If I complain about my marriage, I’m really saying God does not have the ability to help us work through issues. If I complain about my paycheck or finances, I am saying that God does not have the ability to meet my needs. If I complain about a relationship, I am saying that God won’t give me wisdom to work through conflict and show love. If I complain about a person, I am saying God doesn’t have the desire or ability to help and change them. If I complain about snarly traffic, long lines at the grocery store or ridiculous hold times on the phone, that God does not have the ability to redeem my time. If I complain about trivial, insignificant details, I’m saying that God doesn’t care about those things and doesn’t want to get involved.

Whatever I complain about, I am removing God from the equation, thereby removing hope. The promise of good things to come, the assurance of His supernatural ability to meet any need I have. The confidence that He really does care about me and every single aspect of my life.

Complaining throws up walls and puts blinders on, keeping me from actually seeing God’s heart toward me. It prevents me from seeing how much He loves me and how passionate He is about providing for my every need. That’s why He detests it. It keeps me from seeing who He really is.

And if I can’t see Him, then I won’t engage with Him. If I don’t engage with Him and experience the reality of Who He is for myself, then I will believe any lie the enemy tells me about Him.

Today, let’s look at some verses that declare God’s passionate love and care for us. Let’s soak in these so deeply that this is what surfaces anytime we are tempted to complain about anything.  Meditate on Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 43:1-2, Romans 8:31-32, Psalm 16, Jeremiah 31:3, Jeremiah 29:11

 

*Remember to ask yourself the Reflection Questions and record your answers when you end the day!  AND connect with your accountability partner!

The Complaining Challenge Day 2

Monday, November 13

Congrats! You survived the first day! And, you’re back for round two, which means you’re headed down the road of success.

Here’s something to think about. In the book of Exodus, God delivered the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. And it was AMAZING. Miracle after miracle, God supernaturally provided everything they needed and set them free in a spectacular display of power and might. However, in the book of Numbers, we find the Israelites are unhappy with this adventure into freedom.

  • In Numbers 11, the Israelites complained. They complained about the difficulties of living in the desert. They complained about the manna God provided. They complained about not having meat.
  • In Chapter 12, Miriam and Aaron complained. They criticized Moses, his leadership and his choice for a wife.
  • In Chapter 13, the Israelites sent 12 spies into the Promised Land to scope out the terrain. When they returned, 10 of them complained about what they saw. While they did have some good things to say, they complained about other things.
  • In Chapter 14, the negative report of the spies caused the whole community to complain.

All of this complaining resulted in the Israelites wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. And, it prevented anyone over the age of 20 from entering into the Promised Land.

I am NOT implying that God will deal with us as He did the Israelites when they complained. What I want us to see is that complaining is not OK with God. It’s not a minor infraction. He views it as evil. It’s a much bigger deal than we think. And, there are consequences to complaining. Could it be that complaining prevents the promises of God manifesting in our life? Keeps us from stepping into His promises for us? Could it be a hindrance to breakthrough?

Today, I encourage you to read Numbers chapters 11-14. Then, read 1Corinthians 10:1-11. I know it’s a lot of reading for a busy Monday, but trust me, it’s worth the investment of your time.  If you need to, break it down by reading a chapter here or there throughout the day. It’s important for the overall journey we’re on. Journal what you think God is saying to you. And, I promise, I won’t give this much the rest of the week!!

*Don’t forget to ask yourself the Reflection Questions and record your answers at the end of your day! AND connect with your accountability partner!