Thursday, March 13, 2008

Running Lesson #2


Do all things without grumbling…” – Phil. 2:14

One particular day I came home from a run griping about the fact that “there isn’t a level road in this whole county”. It seems like I may have added “stinkin” somewhere in the discussion too. And it is true. It’s either uphill, downhill, or side hill when you live in Pike County. That’s just the way it is, but on this day I was extra frustrated and so I came in growling like an old bear. This wasn’t my first rant (as you might have guessed) about the level-deprived topography of our fair city and I suppose it was just more than Kim wanted to hear. It was, you might say, the straw that broke the wife’s back. **Note: I am NOT likening her to a camel!

I can still hear her response. She calmly and kindly said, “Well, you can quit running, move, or stop complaining!” Ouch! That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I don’t know what I was hoping for, but that wasn’t it. But after I had time to reflect on the wisdom I knew she was right. Those really were my only choices and no amount of griping was going to change the reality.

Complaining doesn’t accomplish anything. Dissatisfaction can be a positive but only when it is coupled with action. Venting doesn’t help either. In fact, I have noticed that by the time I finish venting about anything I’m angrier than I was before. With all due respect to psychologists, I have concluded that all venting does is make mad people madder!

Speaking of less-than-ideal situations, Paul wrote the book of Philippians while under house arrest in Rome. His privacy and freedom were taken away based on a trumped-up charge, and yet it is he who is reminding us to not complain! Was he ever frustrated? Certainly. Didn’t he feel like complaining? He had to. But what good would that do?!

Instead, his perspective allowed him to see the best in the bad. He stated in Phil. 1:12 that actually things have worked out for the better this way. There weren’t crowds at the Coliseum, but there were soldiers next to him (1:13; 4:22). He couldn’t go anywhere, but neither could they! He would not have chosen to be in that situation but it did embolden his brethren in other places (1:14).

Is there something in your life that you can do something about? Then do it! Is there something that you’ve been complaining about? Then do something about it! Griping is passive and unproductive. Just think how much better our families, schools, and churches would be if they just followed Kim’s advice.

So, let’s all do something or stop complaining…no, better yet, let’s do something and stop complaining!

Gotta run!

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