Connect with us

Articles

Venting and Losing

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

I’ve always been a glass-half-full kind of girl. My friends will tell you I’m quick to look for the bright side of most situations. I’m not a complainer. At least that’s what I like to think.

A couple weeks ago, I found myself in a depressing cycle. It started with my dissatisfaction with a certain relationship. The person was failing to meet my expectations, which disappointed me. That disappointment led to anger, which led to grumpiness.

Feeling the need to "process," I vented my frustration to my exercise buddy. Although she tried to console me, my venting caused my self-righteousness to rise and made me even grumpier.

Over the next few days, I stewed over the situation and "vented" to several other people. As I griped about my unfair situation, I found myself not only being frustrated with the initial relationship but being critical of others as well. Soon it seemed as if everyone was letting me down.

My dissatisfaction grew until I reached a breaking point. Tearfully, I took it out on a friend who happened to call at the wrong moment. When I hung up the phone, I realized something had gone terribly wrong. Instead of helping my situation, venting had blown it out of proportion.

Desert Grumbling

When I think of complainers, I think of the Israelites. They elevated griping to new heights. While they were under unbearable oppression as slaves in Egypt, they complained that God had forgotten them. Understandable. I think I would have felt justified in voicing my concerns, too. But when God miraculously freed them from slavery and led them out of Egypt, the people continued to gripe every chance they got.

As a smug college student, I remember reading about the Israelites and thinking, what a bunch of whiners! I mean, they see God do incredible miracles, but the moment things aren’t going exactly right, they start crying like a rich kid whose lost Xbox privileges.

The Israelites seem constantly dissatisfied with their present circumstances. When you take a look at why the people were protesting, however, their concerns were fairly serious: food, water, protection, safety, their lives.

My complaints, on the other hand, are trivial: Perceived mistreatment by another person. Less than ideal circumstances in my personal life. Not getting things I believe I deserve. OK, so I may not be wandering in the desert, but these things can still seem unfair.

The Dark Side

The term "venting" sounds deceptively therapeutic. The truth is, venting involves voicing frustrations that are often damaging to a person or a cause. By giving ourselves permission to "vent," we allow words to pour out unchecked, taking little time to consider whether they’re gossip, slander or just good, old-fashioned complaint.

I can think of times when I have listened to a friend "vent" only to walk away with a diminished view of a person or ministry. The enemy seems to use such unrestrained moments to stall and discredit God’s work, and even mire a believer in sin. Proverbs 10:19 says, "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise."

I am very aware of personal venting sessions in which sin played a starring role. And while griping rarely solves anything (although it may deliver a fleeting sense of satisfaction), there is more at stake than wasted breath.

As a kid I sang a jaunty song to the words of Philippians 2:14: "Do everything without complaining or arguing." At the time I thought it was a verse parents used to brainwash their children into doing chores willingly. But the next verse reveals a deeper significance: "so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe."

Let that sink in. It’s a provocative statement. A lack of grumbling and argument is the trademark of a blameless and pure life. Not only that, but it sets believers apart from those who don’t know Christ—in a way so brilliant it’s like stars on a dark night.

Our world is marked by complaint. Complaint against our government. Complaint against the educational system. Complaint against those who bring us food, bag our groceries, let their cell phones go off during movies. Our freedom of speech is the freedom to complain. And we take that freedom very seriously.

A person who doesn’t criticize something is a novelty. He makes you wonder why he’s satisfied. As believers, we have a compelling reason to not complain. We have been shown undeserved grace and given unfathomable riches through Jesus Christ. In light of this, complaining about anything seems—well, silly.

I say I trust an all-powerful, good, loving God, but when that trust is put to the test through less-than-ideal circumstances, I often fail. Instead of acknowledging that God controls the details of my life, I moan and groan about how unacceptable they are. A life where grumbling is absent, however, speaks volumes about a person’s trust in God.

The Antidote

Like any vice, venting must be replaced by something else—contentment. After challenging the Philippians to do everything without complaining, Paul says: "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:12-13). When I become frustrated with my circumstances, I need to ask the Lord to resolve the situation.

Walking in contentment also requires living with an attitude of gratitude. When I think about everything the Lord has done for me, many of my problems seem insignificant. When I begin to thank God for His kindnesses toward me, I find it difficult—even impossible—to criticize.

When I hung up the phone in tears that day, I spent some time talking things through with God. As I focused my thoughts on Him, my perspective began to change. I started to see how petty my grievances were.

Another powerful weapon in the fight against a critical spirit is love. 1 Peter 4:8 says, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." It’s amazing how I can overlook the faults of someone I truly love. When I adopt a loving attitude toward fellow believers, it frees me to forgive offenses—which Christ has done for me.

That conversation with my exercise buddy would have gone differently, had love been at the forefront of my motives. Instead of grumbling about what this person was doing to me, I would have been examining how my selfish attitude was contributing to the problem. Venting allowed me to indulge in a victim mentality that ultimately made things worse.

Along with contentment and love, children of God are called to humility. The motivation behind most of my faultfinding is selfishness. Philippians reveals a secret to the complaint free life: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3).

I don’t know about you, but when I’m venting I am on a crusade—for number one. I’m the one who’s in the right. I’m the one who’s a victim. I’m the one who deserves better.

In contrast, Christ showed ultimate humility by going to the cross for those who mocked and abused Him. Talk about having a reason to complain! And yet, even while suffering a humiliating death, Jesus never uttered a self-seeking word. Instead He asked His Father to forgive His murderers. That attitude, unexplainable by human standards, captured people’s attention and changed lives. Imagine the difference I could make if I embraced the same attitude.

I’m learning that as a fallen human being, my tendency is to complain. But my goal is to have the attitude of Christ, rich in contentment, love, and humility. That will require keeping the vent closed. After all, Jesus has given so much for me. I really can’t complain.

Suzanne Hadley Gosselin is a freelance writer and editor who has written for Focus on the Family, Zondervan and David C. Cook. She enjoys coffee, good conversation and spending time with her husband, Kevin, and 1-year-old, Josiah.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

Suzanne Hadley Gosselin is a regular contributor to Thriving Family magazine and Boundless.org and writes children’s resources for several publishers. After having three children in fewer than five years of marriage, Suzanne and her husband, Kevin, who is a children’s pastor, consider themselves on the family fast-track — a blessing they wouldn’t trade for anything. Gosselin is the author of the newly released, Expectant Parents: Preparing Together for the Journey of Parenthood.

Click to comment

Articles

When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone
Continue Reading

Articles

Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

Do you have fears tied to motherhood? If so, here’s encouragement for you.

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

“Are you scared?”

I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?

“Of anything,” he answered.

I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.

“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.

Of course I was scared.

I was scared…

  • I’ll lose my temper.
  • I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
  • I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
  • I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
  • I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
  • I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
  • I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
  • I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
  • I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.

Facing Our Fears in MotherhoodIn short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.

And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.

Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:

Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?

Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.

I’m sure you have fears, too.

But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.

If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.

What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone
Continue Reading

Articles

He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone
Continue Reading

Become An Insider!

Enter your email address below to stay in the loop on the latest from Ungrind.

Welcome to Ungrind!



Hi, I'm Ashleigh Slater, founder and editor of Ungrind. Here at Ungrind, it’s our goal to churn out biblically-based encouragement for women. We strive to be honest and transparent about our struggles in a way that inspires hope, faith, and perseverance.

As you read, we hope you consider us friends, the kind you feel comfortable sitting across the table with at the local coffee shop. You can read more about me HERE and our team of writers HERE.

Latest Articles

What Women Are Saying

"The women who contribute to Ungrind are full of wisdom and heart. With stunning images, thoughtful writing, and a simple layout, this is a lovely place to visit and breathe deep."

-- Emily P. Freeman, author of Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life
COL_TeamUs_BannerAd

Five-Minute-Friday---4

familydevotional

Disclosure

We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.

Trending

Venting and Losing

by Suzanne Gosselin time to read: 6 min
0