Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Philippians 2:14-16
…be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5: 18b-20
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare your lovingkindness in the morning, and your faithfulness every night. Psalm 92:1-2
I was talking with a friend at church yesterday. She has three young children and she asked if I had any advice for cultivating thankfulness in our children. I think I might have jokingly said, No, do you?? The truth is, I think most of us (Americans in general) struggle with discontentment.
Discontentment is the condition of being dissatisfied with one’s life or current situation; a restless longing for better circumstances.
We’ve been on a journey to living a simpler life over the last several years. It has brought about great joy and peace. I am richly and abundantly blessed to have a strong, godly husband who desires to be the spiritual leader in our home, to have six children (albeit three of them are stuck in Africa) and to be able to stay home and educate them myself. The last ten years have gone by so fast, I can’t even imagine sending them to school for 40 hours each week. We serve together, work together, cook together, read and learn together, travel together, spend time with family and friends, and of course worship together. Even with all of this, we still find things to complain and dispute about.
Discontentment is a heart issue. When we complain we are telling God, Your best isn’t good enough. Your provision isn’t quite enough. Your sacrifice on the cross for our freedom and salvation just wasn’t enough. But we forget about those things when we don’t get the results we’ve worked hard for, maybe the money runs out before the end of the month, or how about when God says wait and your 9-12 month adoption turns into a two year, $100,000 adoption.
What if we eliminated complaining from our lives? What if our homes were void of whining and disputing? Would we automatically become more thankful with the absence of complaining?
I am on a mission to find out!
The boys and I sat around the breakfast table this morning and I introduced “Thankfulness Bootcamp”.
For the next seven days we’re going to work hard toward complete elimination of complaints in hopes of cultivating thankfulness in our home and in our hearts. We’re also going to work toward memorizing the scripture verses at the beginning of the post. Garbage in, garbage out. Praise in, praise out. If we fill our hearts with the truth of His word and His commands to be thankful and content in all things, then out of the overflow of our hearts our mouths will speak!
Today is day one. Day one is Discontentment Detox. We are encouraging one another by using a code word anytime someone slips up and complains or whines about something. This includes a discontent attitude. I reminded the boys that a proper response is not just in your words, but your attitude as well. Our code word is “camp.” So far, so good. However, tomorrow and for the rest of the week we will all wear a rubber band around our wrists. Any time we slip, we’ll snap our rubber band. It’s not meant to be painful or punishment, but a reminder of the goal we’re working toward. We really are having to retrain our brains not to complain. Unfortunately, it has become a very normal reaction.
Can you imagine your home being 100% complaint-free? What a difference that will make in our family.
Matthew 5:14-16 says, You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven!