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!

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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 1

Sunday: November 12

Today’s the day. Today, we commit to abstaining from complaining for the next 7 days. We are choosing not to complain, grumble, fuss, gripe, growl, criticize, find fault, blame, or express discontent, disgust, annoyance or frustration about anything or anyone. This includes, but is not limited to, statements such as: I don’t like… I wish… I can’t wait until… I’m so tired of… They make me… If only… Why do they… and anything else that sounds like this!

No subject is off limits. There are no exceptions. Not about our husband. Wife. Ex. Kids. Family. Co-workers. Job. Income. Neighbors. Church. Leadership. Our hair, body, size or weight. Shoes or clothes. Food. House. Laundry. Dishes. Snow. Rain. Government. Finances. People. Places. Things. Stuff. Or, any decisions made by anyone, anywhere at any time. Just to name a few things.

We will not THINK it. We will not SAY it. And, if we do – we choose to immediately stop, confess and repent, asking Jesus to change our hearts. We ask Him to show us His fingerprints in the situation. The good. The promise. The blessing. We ask Him to shift our perspective. We ask Him to reveal the root of that complaint.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: this is impossible. On your own, absolutely it is! BUT – with God, all things are possible! God would never instruct us to do something with expectations of our doing it alone. He is fully prepared and equipped to help us remove complaining, criticizing and arguing from our language. Not only is He prepared – He wants to help. He is setting us up for success!

But also understand, this is a process. If you complain, criticize or argue at any point during this Challenge, you are NOT a failure. Don’t quit. Regroup. Learn. And, move on.

If we’re going to make this journey – we may as well get the most out of it we possibly can!

So here’s how you can make the most of this Challenge:

  1. Pray. Talk to Father God about your thoughts, attitudes and words. Ask Jesus for help. Ask Holy Spirit for strength. Invite Him into every aspect of this adventure. It will make all the difference!
  2. Read each day’s devotional. This is necessary for success!
  3. Meditate on the Scriptures included in the devotional. Don’t just read them. Soak in them. Turn them over in your mind. Look at them from all angles. Ask Holy Spirit for revelation. What do they mean to you personally? How do they apply to your life? How do your current actions line up with that Truth? What would it look like to live this Truth out? How would your life change if you applied this Truth?
  4. Journal. Ask God to speak to you and write down what He is saying to you through the devotional. Through the verses you meditate on. The insights Holy Spirit is giving you. Be as detailed as you can be. No matter how profound the revelation – you will forget it. Writing it down will insure you have it for future reference and reflection.
  5. Daily ask yourself the Reflection Questions. These are listed at the bottom of this blog. Each night, ask yourself these questions and WRITE THE ANSWER DOWN in your journal. Be honest and you’ll be amazed!
  6. Get a partner. Accountability is key. Find someone to journey with. Don’t get a “yes man”. That won’t do you any good. Connect with someone who is brutally – but lovingly – honest with you. Someone you can be brutally – but lovingly –  honest with. Someone who will encourage you, support you and cheer you on.

If you’ll step into the challenge with a desire to experience life-long change, not just doing a 7-day-event, it will CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Change your marriage. Change your family dynamics. Change your kids. Job. Relationships. Everything. But you actually have to do these 6 steps for change to occur.

So, start here: read Philippians 2:14 and James 5:9. Meditate on them and journal what God is saying to you and what you’d like to accomplish during this challenge.

IMPORTANT: If you haven’t heard this message on complaining, I highly recommend you listen. Not only is it a great way to jump start the Challenge, but I’ll make references to things said there throughout. You can listen by going to: https://youtu.be/3UCTvrd54fk. 

Reflection Questions

At the end of your day, reflect and ask yourself…

  1. Did I complain, criticize or argue today?Give details. About who or what? To who? When? Where?
  1. Did I think thoughts that were complaining, critical or argumentative today? Give details. About? What started my mind on that path?
  1. How did I handle these thoughts? Did I run with them? Did I repent and take them captive?
  1. Did I make an excuse or justify complaining, critical or argumentative thoughts or words?