Goodbye complaining: a post on Ash Wednesday

by Lesley on February 13, 2013 · 6 comments

in birthdays,christianity

ASH_WEDNESDAY (1)

Yesterday was my 31st birthday, and Anna’s gift to me was throwing up all over our kitchen at 7:00am.  Happy Birthday, Mommy! 

Needless to say, the breakfast Jonathan was cooking for me at the time became much less appetizing.

As she cried and Jonathan grabbed rags, my first instinct was to feel very, very sorry for myself. All I wanted to do was complain about the situation. Really? ON MY BIRTHDAY I’M CLEANING UP BARF? AND WEREN’T YOU JUST SICK WITH STOMACH FLU LESS THAN TWO MONTHS AGO?

But the truth is I’ve had many fantastic birthdays and only a few sour ones. Even this year (the year that forever will be remembered as the birthday o’ barf) I got to pre-celebrate over the last two weekends with dear friends who came to visit. I got a massage and a manicure, had a few fantastic meals out, and great conversation.

Usually when things go wrong in my life, my first instinct is to complain a little bit. For instance, over the last two months I’ve been really frustrated about my prenatal care. While my frustrations were valid, I couldn’t stop complaining about it to anyone and everyone I came across. Although the situation has since been resolved, complaining never made me feel better during the process. What does make me feel better? A spirit of gratitude for what I have.

Over the last few months I’ve caught myself complaining more than I’d like which is why I started a 1,000 gifts inspired gratitude journal for 2013. The journal has helped me complain less than usual, but still not as much as I’d like. As we anticipate Easter I’ve decided to give up complaining completely for the next six weeks. (This post over on Tim’s blog, entitled “What’s so wrong with complaining?” only confirmed my decision.)

I’m sure the next six weeks will be challenging for me. If you’re in my life on a daily basis, you may catch me in the act. My hope is that you’ll hold me accountable to my fast by calling me out, or asking me what is GOOD about the situation instead of the bad. Do I think there are appropriate times to complain? Perhaps. But hopefully the next 40 days or so will help remind me when those rare times are.

Are you giving up anything for Lent this year?

A few articles around the web:

Thursday Thoughts: Intersections (a few Lenten quotes I put up last year)

Why doing lent this year is really what you need

Read through the bible over the next 40 days. Here’s a reading plan brought to you via Margaret Feinberg.

Wednesday: Ashes and Death

image credit to First Methodist Grapevine

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6 comments
Jennifer
Jennifer

How cool, we share the exact same birthday of 2.12.82 =)

Jessica
Jessica

I'm giving up wine...yikes! :)

san
san

Happy belated birthday! Giving up complaining, huh? That's quite a task? I mean, complaining is so easy to do... sometimes we don't even realize when we do it... but I guess it's a good thing to try and be more aware and thoughtful! :)

Ashlee
Ashlee

Phew! I'm really glad I got all of my complaining out of my system yesterday, so I wouldn't be a bad influence on you ;)

Lesley
Lesley

Tim--Thanks! I sure hope she's not contagious! I'm convinced she ate something funny because she bounced back so quickly that same morning, and we haven't gotten sick (knock on wood.) I am happy to share good ol' Abe's b-day. It usually means a holiday! :)

Tim
Tim

Happy (belated) Birthday, Abe ... I mean Lesley! (Sorry, you probably get a lot of those jokes.) Sorry to hear about Anna's tummy. (And by the way, is she contagious. Just wondering, just wondering.) It sounds like you and Jonathan handled it just fine. Dampers on b-days are no fun, so I'm very glad you had pre-celebrations to enjoy! Tim P.S. 31? Yer jes' a kid!