Long time no talk (not really), how’ve you been?
Public transportation is starting to grow on me. I love the feeling of rain on my umbrella. Seeing fog dim the lofty horizon of trees on my daily walk to lecture makes my heart soar. You never hear people talk about how much they love the bus or train they take every day. It made me realize how much the culture of complaint really does affect us and our psychology. I’ll be fine with a professor’s teaching style, the weather, or my daily commute, but then someone complains about it and the notion of dissatisfaction creeps into my psyche like a virus and disrupts my peace.
Complaining is almost a core part of our culture. It’s how we relate with strangers, how we interact with our friends, and even how we run our businesses and governments.
During the navs fall retreat, we had a speaker named Jim who talked about his year as a mute. Due to severe damage of the vocal chords, Jim couldn’t utter a word without severe pain. So instead, he spent the time listening- really listening- to what others said and their patterns of thought in the absence of his own ability to communicate verbally.
He noticed that much of the content of most people’s conversations were about their fears, anxieties, and concerns. Coming back from retreat and walking around campus, I began to notice it too. In face, it became a thing that I couldn’t un-notice.
I’m not saying that these people don’t have reason to complain. I’m saying that allowing the complaints and verbal anxieties of others to affect our own perception of the world is our natural inclination, and that the compounded effect of this profoundly affects our friendships, schools, and larger culture. Complaining affects others, and in turn affects oneself through an interpersonal, positive feedback loop of dissatisfaction.
But here’s what our reality is, as children of God:
“The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”
We lack no good thing! Yes, our present circumstance may involve suffering, but the truth of our reality is so great that we are still not lacking in any. good. thing.
We are children of God, citizens of the Kingdom, future recipients of everything Jesus Christ is worthy of. And the aches and groans of this present world dim in comparison to the hope and joy of our inheritance.
My prayer going into this quarter is for protection from complaint- both my own and that of others. I lack no good thing, and I’m excited to see all the wonderful plans that God has for me unfold.