September 27, 2021

Myth: No sense complaining.

You have heard it, “No need to complain, nobody will listen anyway.” Or, “You shouldn’t complain. Complaining is bad.”

Both are myths. They are not true. 

Complaining can be good 

1. Complaining means you know what you want 

Complaining means you know what you want. You know that what you have received or experienced is not what you wanted. 

For example: I go to a restaurant expecting good food. I receive sub-par food. It is unseasoned. Perhaps not cooked well. I complain to those dining with me. I may even complain to the waiter. I am complaining because I know there is something better. I think the restaurant can do better. At a minimum I am complaining because I had an expectation that was not met. 

My complaining can do a couple of things for me:

1. It can lead me to go somewhere else to get what I want. No sense going back to the same place if I really don’t think it can meet my expectations.

2. My complaining may lead the restaurant to do better so that I will come back. 

If I do nothing I have no reason to expect anything to change. 

2. Complaining can also get You what You want

For example: I order a diet-coke and receive a regular coke. I know I do not want a regular coke. At first sip I realize the drink is not what I ordered. A regular coke is way too sweet for me. I can complain to the waiter, “I ordered a diet coke and you brought me a regular coke. Can you bring me a diet-coke?” Most often, I will get what I ordered, but I had to say something. If I say nothing, I am stuck with a drink I do not want.

Notice also, in this example I have a solution. I am not just throwing a temper tantrum that the waiter brought me the wrong drink. I am also not turning to those dining with me and continuously complaining to them about the drink. They can’t do anything for me. Perhaps they will tell me to tell the waiter. 

To get what I want I need to tell the right person (the waiter) and give them a solution even if they should know the solution (bring me a diet-coke). 

Again, I can’t get what I want unless I say something. 

Complaining and faith

What does complaining have to do with faith?

If you are not getting what you need to grow in your faith, complaining can be good.

First, complaining identifies you know what you want or need to grow in your faith. 

Second, you cannot get what you need to grow in your faith unless you act. You may need to change something to grow. You may need to figure out who to talk to in order to get what you need to grow. Either way, your awareness of an unmet need or expectation can compel you to do whatever you need to grow in your faith.

Third, if you know what you want then you  know what you need. You know the solution. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Don’t just complain, but recommend a solution. 

Take enough responsibility for your faith to speak up when you are not getting what you need in your faith. Speaking up may mean telling yourself you are not spending enough time with God. Spend enough time in reflection to know the solution. Then tell yourself the solution and act on it.

Speaking up may also mean going to your small group, pastor, or church. You may need to tell the right people that your spiritual needs aren’t being met. Don’t just complain though. Tell them what you need. Ask them to help you get it. Maybe they can point you in the right direction if they cannot provide what you need. 

You will never get what you need in your faith if you don’t say something or do something. You must act. Don’t just complain. Use what complaining identifies to develop a solution for what you need. Then keep reaching for the faith that you seek.  

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