I can’t complain…but then I go and complain (again)

I might be an attention-starved adult. 

I’ve noticed that my tone, my topics of conversation, my time alone reflecting looks a lot like grumbling and complaining. What is it for? I think it’s attention.

School and moving have overlapped. It’s not wise timing and I wouldn’t recommend it based on the stress each of those tend to carry on their own (at least for me)…but my complaints don’t really ease up the burden. It might evoke a little pity or some extra help, but it’s not the type of character I would hope to be building. And I think it makes each respective aspect of life right now feel worse. I keep thinking…oh, I wish it were August 1st…and then I remember, as sweet as it would be to have that behind me, with the stress comes sweet pockets of relationships that I have right here around me.

I wake up ready to complain…too early, not enough coffee, not enough motivation, etc. That complaining isn’t good for anything at all…there’s no one to tell me how it’s going to be, let alone sympathize. I just fight with the alarm until I feel guilty enough for being lazy that I get up and drink as much coffee as I think to make for the day. Motivation doesn’t come easily…not until 5 or 6 in the evening when I feel like I have a blank slate. I spend hours every day wishing the hours were over because my heart is grumbly. I contemplate social media venting once in a while, but usually resist because I consider the audience that will see it (my sister said once, would you stand up on a chair in a crowded room and shout that status update?…uh, nope. probably not). I also rationalize that graduate school and moving were never advertised as being easy, and how do I expect social media to respond…”uh, yeah, moron! join the club and move on!”

When I think back to common conversations with people, friends or strangers, my tendency is to paint a bad picture. Not quite to the extreme of “I have it worse than you” one-up-man-ship parodied on Saturday Night Live skits, but stories spun and manipulated in such a way that I look better for having lived through them. I’ve noticed that in other people and thought it was obvious, but forgot to see it happening in my own conversations. Am I doing it here even now? It’s deeply ingrained, apparently.

My box-checking nearly-perfectionist tendency would be to scrub out that spot (make a plan to keep those words from coming out) and start over, but I have a feeling this isn’t a one and done eradication effort. Knowing that the mouth speaks out of the overflow of the heart, I have got to check what’s been filling my heart. I think it’s the things that deprive me from craving and devouring the richness of God’s Word…comparison, discontent, idolatry, jealousy, anger, worry. I could go on. I am encouraged by the promise in Jeremiah that God is found when we seek Him, that He is with us (from Joshua), that His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3). When I consider His grace is ongoing even where my repentance stops, I am relieved and grateful. He’s right there…maybe in my tiredness tomorrow I’ll remember the grace He has shown me in growing me out of an ungrateful and attention-seeking attitude…even if just a little bit overnight.

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