A Pep Talk for the Grumpy

This morning on the walk to school, my oldest complains and complains and complains about the state standardized testing she must endure this week. 

She’s miserable.  She’s envisioning an entire week of hunching over little bubble sheets to prove her worth.  Besides, the timing couldn’t be worse: It’s sunny and warm today with birds chirping and trees budding.  Who wants to be taking tests all week long?  And another thing:  Everyone’s exhausted because of losing an hour with the time change.

Complain, complain, complain. 

Everyone is complaining.  Then, it hits me:  Everyone is complaining.  How uninspired!  How unoriginal!  I point out the fact to my children.  I remember that complaining represents the default state.  It’s the easy, low road that takes absolutely no mental effort.

I have a mile walk to change their minds about this week of testing. 

I remember Philippians 2:  “Do everything without arguing or complaining. . . so that you shine like stars. . . in a corrupt generation.” 

“Shine like stars, girls!  Shine!  If you celebrate this test you’re going to shine like stars!  Turn the complaining to celebrating!  Let’s do it!” 

I’m pretty sure more than one child rolled her eyes and huffed and puffed. 

But they heard me.  I know they did.   And I heard me.  I entered the house to a messy kitchen, unmade beds, and a day full of teaching and office hours.  “Shine like a star, Heather.  Let’s do it.”  I ask God to let me celebrate every little thing I want to complain about.  That’s going to take some real faith today. 

Have you successfully turned a complaint into a celebration? 

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  1. A friend recently explained to me that it takes three positive thoughts to counteract the impact of one negative thought.  We really need to reframe our “internal dialogue.”  Thanks for reminding us the importance of shifting complaints into celebration.

  2. I call it a shift in perspective, also known as a miracle! I worked hard to take the word “but” out of my vocabulary. Now I am working on the word “can't.” Changing the way I talk to myself really changes my outlook! Thanks for sharing Heather.

  3. Interestingly enough, one of my quarterly goals is to “have a good attitude in staff meetings.” That was actually my #1 goal under work. And putting it there in writing (and saying outloud to myself that I don't always have the best attitude) has helped turn this (slowly, slowly) around!