It seems that whenever I decide to develop a character trait in me that God brings a lot of circumstances into my life to test my resolve and to make it real in me. For instance, the latest principle is to do everything without grumbling and complaining . But how does one do that? So I have just been trying to refrain from grumbling but I still feel the grumblies within me .
Yesterday I was getting ready to go to my weekly men's meeting. Emmy, who had been, looking out the front window of the house, got the notiion in her head that she'd like some mulch on the front yard. So, she asked me to get some mulch. Well, in order to get some mulch in our van, I had to back the van up to the garage and remove both back bench seats. Then I needed to get a tarp from the shed to lay on the floor to keep the carpet from getting filthy w ithe smelly much. I also had to find the tools (shovel, rake, etc. In addition, yesterday was a hot day. I thought myself, in the hot sun, shoveling all the mulch into the van As I thought about all of this, I really didn't want' to go through all the work of getting the mulch. I was feeling very grum bly. As I was loading everything into the van, I tried to not complain, but I still felt grumbly inside.
I finally got everything loaded and it was time to leave. At the time I left I should get to the meeting on time. When I got several miles away I realized that I didn't have my phone. I must have left it at home. I asked myself, "Should I continue to the meeting, or should I go home to get my phone." I really hate to get to a meeting later. However, I also thought about my son who was in Dallas and might need a ride. So I turned around and went back to get my phone. i found it at home on the kitchen table. Now, as I left, I would be about 15 minutes late. I texted the group leader to let him know I'd be 15 minutes late.
As I was driving to the meeting I was again feeling grumbly, now it was about being late. I again thought about loading the mulch in the hot sun. My grumblies increased. and it came again, "do everything without grumbling and complaining." I was trying, but it wasn't working. The more I tried to not feel like grumbling, the more I felt the grumblies inside me. Now I was frustrated to boot. Then another thought came to me. "Be thankful in all things." I was instantly aware that this was the answer, of how NOT to feel like complaining. But, if one is not in the habit of being thankful, it is not always easy to be thankful. Irregardless, I looked for things to be thankful about. I thought about how my Emmy liked for the house to look nice and how she was trying to take care of the front yard. I began to thank her in my mind for trying to make the house more beautiful outside. I also began to try to think of other things to be thankful about. I began to thank her, in my mind, about caring for our son and trying to do what she thought was best for him. As I continued to drive, and to think thankful thoughts, I looked inside me and saw that it was working. The more I was actively thankful, the less grumbly I felt. When I'm actively being thankful there is no room for the grumblies.
As I thought more about it I began to realize that it is sometimes hard work to find something to genuinely be thankful about. When it says, "Be thankful in all things", I don't see that as meaning to just repeatedly say thanks all the time "thank you for x" "thank you for y". Just saying thank you by itself seems like it can be a little trite. It seems like true thankfulness is about looking on the bright side of life, of looking for the benefits of the different. It means looking beyond the small inconvenience of the moment and looking at the bigger picture. Look for what is truly good about any situation.