This is truly a "dear diary" kind of post. No fancy photos to keep you engaged. It's about me and my life. It may not apply to you at all. And you may not agree with what I type. Still, I invite you in to this precious space. Even if just for contemplation and dismissal. For it's the contemplation I'm after.
I'm not a complainer. Really. I have the occasional rant or vent, just like most everyone else. But I don't make a habit of complaining.
What I am is a sigher (if that's a word). And I don't mean the "of relief" kind. I've never been one to "suffer fools gladly." I know it's a fault, and I can say I've gotten better over the years, but I have a ways to go. But to be honest and transparent: I sigh when I'm surrounded by said fools. (One step forward, two steps back.) I sigh when I'm tired. I sigh when I'm angry. I sigh when I'm sad. I sigh when I watch the news. I sigh when someone doesn't do what I think they should do. I sigh when someone is in my way. I sigh when the dogs don't cooperate with my command. I sigh when something roots all through the cucumbers I just planted. I sigh when I have a vision of what my day should be, and it just. doesn't. happen. See a pattern here?
I very recently had a light bulb moment when I noticed I sigh a lot. (Shocking, I know.) To me, that means God is showing me something. And in this case, it's something I need to address: I am a complainer.
I probably took up sighing so I wouldn't have to have a dialogue about whatever was making me sigh. Because that would be complaining. Anybody out there feel me, yet? Here lately, though, B has started to ask, "What are you sighing about?" whenever that loud breath escapes me. Clearly another sign I sigh too much, and have been doing so for a while.
Now that I've acknowledged my shortcoming, let me explain why it scares me.
Ever read Numbers chapter 11? This book of the Bible is sometimes called the "Book of the Murmurings." The events recorded are said to have began about a year after God brought about the exodus from Egypt. While the first ten chapters are like a census of sorts, chapter 11 is all about the complainers. These people, the ones who were not that far removed from slavery, had the nerve to complain to The One that freed them from the bondage. About the food He was providing them. Free manna from Heaven. Every day. Exactly what they needed. Every day. Without even having to work for it. Every. Single. Day. He provided.
They even took it a rude step further. They lamented about what "bounty" they had in Egypt. Are you kidding me?
I say it's pretty easy to recognize how this behavior could anger God. But can I recognize the same sorry behavior in my own life? Yes, I'm ashamed to say, I can.
God has – literally – given me my heart's desire with this move. He has provided me with the ability to live my dream. And part of the dream that He put on my heart, in addition to returning a bit to the old paths and living more closely with nature, was to live in such a way that pleases Him. And not only for our personal relationship, His and mine, but to share in such a way that helps others see and appreciate everything He has provided for us. You and me.
When I sigh, I am complaining. In that very moment, I am expressing displeasure to God. Furthermore, I am distracting myself from whatever I should be thinking, seeing, doing. What if, in that situation, I am supposed to impart wisdom He provided me to share with others? What if, in that moment, when I'm feeling tired or angry or sad, I am supposed to recognize – and praise Him – for the strength he continues to give me to put one foot in front of the other? What if, while sighing under my breath (if that's possible) at the person "in my way," I am supposed to see someone in need?
Oh. And by the way. Do you know what happened to the complainers in Numbers 11? God gave them what they wanted.
33 But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was aroused against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague.
34 …there they buried the people who had yielded to craving.
P.S. This turned into quite a long post. If you're interested in a bit more of what I found when studying Numbers 11, come back tomorrow. I might even sprinkle in some "fancy photos."
Shared at The Art of Homemaking Mondays.