Do everything!

When my big kids were younger we received a Steve Green music CD of Bible verses. One of my favourite songs on that CD was Philippians 2:14, ‘Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure children of God.’ (You can hear the song and watch a rather dated video of it here.)
It’s probably rather obvious why I liked that song so much; children seem to have a natural talent for both complaining and arguing. As a parent this song came in handy to remind my kids of the Bible’s position on a negative attitude. 

But complaining and arguing isn’t a habit exclusive to childhood. Adults can easily become trapped in routines of doing exactly the same thing. Sure, we justify our complaints as ‘expressing our feelings’ or ‘venting’ and admittedly there is a time and purpose for doing exactly that. But when the negative view overtakes an attitude of thankfulness we’re losing ground.
So, how can we turn the tide and keep a reign on our perspective? The strategies are much the same for a child as for an adult.

Make a habit of saying thank you. 
Respect the effort others go to that results in a positive impact in your life. Acknowledge their work, even if they are strangers to you. And tune up an attitude of thankfulness to God too.

Keep things in perspective.
Before you complain consider the alternatives to the situation you are faced with. It most likely could be worse. Or, perhaps it couldn’t, but at least it won’t last forever. Even this will pass.

Focus on something positive.
Shift your gaze from the unpleasant to the beautiful, hopeful, expectant and fresh. Live with heaven, hope and blessing within your sight. Yes, this works for even the most mundane of tasks – why gripe about cleaning the toilet when you can anticipate a cuppa in the sun?

Speak less.
It’s hard to argue when you have nothing to say, or when your desire to be ‘right’ is less important than your desire to honour God and the person you are with. Respect your boundaries, yes, but keep words to a minimum where possible and save  a lot of wasted breath.

Sing.
To stop my children from complaining I used to casually hum Philippians 2:14 over the top of their noise. I still do this today and receive grudging laughter as the tone of conversation shifts! Singing of any sort seems to be an automatic mood shifter, but praise has a double anti-negativity effect of realigning priorities like nothing else.

What about you? What have you found to be successful quelling arguments and complaining in your life?

Penny

 

Reciprocity of Love

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“If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15 NIV

Our parents taught us well, how to honor our mother and father. They expected our honor and respect simply because we were their children and they were our parents. Honor wasn’t earned so much as it was an unspoken rule in our homes. Not much needed an explanation beyond, “Because I said so, that’s why!” It wasn’t that our parents were mean-hearted; it’s just they knew what was best for us, and if we knew what was good for us, we just did what they asked and stopped pushing the envelope.

Over the years, with children of our own, we found ourselves saying, “Because I said so” for the not-so-honorable reasons like, I’m-too-tired-to-explain-so-please-just-stop-bugging-me-and-just-do-what-I-say. But when you get right down to it, us parents simply love our children. When we prove our love by our actions (protection, affection, unconditional love) they love us in return.

Jesus spoke this truth with his disciples, too. Remember, Jesus and the disciples were Jewish—brought up memorizing and living by the Ten Commandments—and understood what it meant to live and die by them. But when it came to living by the rules, Jesus said to his disciples, “If you love me, keep my commands,” (John 14:15NIV). It wasn’t an order or a threat, but rather an explanation of the natural order of love.

Jesus explains it this way, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Don’t we all want to spend time with those who love us well, whether a mother, father, sister, brother, husband or wife? And the more time we spend with one another isn’t it true we show ourselves, reveal our hearts, and honor one another more?

That’s the reciprocity of love Jesus is talking about. Love me. Keep my commands (honor). I will love you and show myself to you.

Blessings,

Dawn Aldrich — author, blogger

Thank You, Mom!

In less than a week it will be Mother’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate and appreciate the moms in our lives who nurture and care for children. I am blessed to have a godly mother who is still going strong at 94! Mothers experience many different seasons in their lives and each comes with its joys and challenges.

  • The Baby Years — Sleepless nights, fussy babies, teething, colds, and spit up are all part of these early years of being a mom. But in between the struggles are sweet smiles, first words, and kissable cheeks. Is there anything more wonderful than having a warm, cuddly baby fall asleep in your arms?
  • The Toddler Years — Picky eaters, potty training, bumps and bruises, and “getting into everything” are some of the common elements of these years. A mom’s day is often a series of interruptions, but the hugs and kisses and the words “I love you, Mommy,” will melt any mother’s heart.
  • The Preschool Years — Millions of questions, crayons scattered on the floor, missing socks, and playing in dirt are some of the daily issues a mom faces during this season. But reading books with a child on your lap, playing at the park, and singing praise songs in the car are some of the sweet moments of these busy years.
  • The Elementary Years — Helping a child learn to read, write, and spell can keep a mom busy whether she is home-schooling or helping with homework after school. Sports, friends, and learning can consume a child’s day. Kids this age still like Mom to be involved in their lives and will even be happy going to the grocery store. It’s just hard to believe that your little one is growing up so fast.
  • The Teen Years — These years are filled with unpredictable moods and emotional drama. It’s hard for moms to know when to step back and when to give a hug. No matter their mood, teens need moms to support their interests. You may find yourself sitting at a five-hour swim meet only to see your child swim for five minutes. But your child will know you are there.
  • The College Years — Dropping your child off at college will leave a lump in your throat for several weeks. It’s time to let go, but stay in touch with emails, text messages, and care packages. The good news is your college kid will love coming home to your good cooking and a little help with the laundry!
  • The Adult Years — You children will now begin to pursue careers, marriage, and having a family. It’s exciting to see your son or daughter grow into the person God created them to be. And when they become parents, you get a new name—Grandma! Then you get to do it all over again and realize it’s lots of fun!

Happy Mother’s Day to the wonderful moms who read our blog. We appreciate you and your investment into the next generation. You make the world a better place.

Crystal

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