My housemate Amanda shared an interesting devo with us this past week that has snowballed into something she never expected.
The devotion started with the idea of No Complain November. She had been reading a blog in which a lady had decided to try not complaining (out loud) for a whole month. The idea was that complaints tend to add to negativity rather than add anything positive to our life situations, and that we should therefore work on turning our gripes into gratitude.
This idea reminded me of a former McCreary housemate’s devo in which she had asked us all to refrain from saying anything unkind for a week (or was it only a day?). Being a lover of sarcasm, I (of course) had to ask: “Do comments count as unkind if the person is joking?” Kate said yes. To which my response was (naturally) “But………….I work with Mike.” Despite the complete legitimacy of this plea, it was denied. Thus, the next day when I was walking into the office and Mike hit me with a snowball (for no reason), I said nothing unkind in response (although in this case I think it may have been completely warranted). I told my Jackson housemates this story and they decided that it might be cool to give this No Complain November thing a try ourselves by trying not to complain for a few days, just like we tried to not make unkind comments in McCreary. This whole trying it idea very soon turned into a competition for who could complain the least, complete with a scoreboard to keep track and a punishment for the biggest complainy-pants: extra dishwashing duties.
This of course, is all in good fun, but it was actually very interesting that Amanda had chosen to pick this topic for a devo because it was one that I had been thinking about. Lately, I’ve been pondering the idea of being overly critical. I am a very organized, routine sort of person who likes things done a certain way. And I feel this sometimes makes me more critical than perhaps I should be. This thought occurred to me, oddly enough, at a KFC. Well, not just a KFC. The original KFC. In my old haunt of Corbin. I made the comment while I was there that I thought the place could be better kept up, considering what it is. And one of my fellow volunteers asked me to explain why I felt this way. And I found myself thinking “You know, does it really matter? Was my harsh comment necessary?” And I realized that it really wasn’t.
I think that I am also really super overcritical of myself. I want to be the best that I am capable of being at whatever I am doing… and when I fall short of that…I fret over it. A lot. I’m not going to lie: This past winter, when I was unhappy with my job situation, I would literally have days where I would get home from work and just sit and stare at the wall, thinking about what a piece of sh*t I was. And I’d like to say that this terrible lack of self-confidence is something new, but it definitely isn’t. To make a long story short, I think too much. And I beat myself up WAY. TOO. MUCH.
I came across a song a couple weeks ago that hit home. It describes trying to approach life with more love (heart) and less criticism (attack). It’s about letting go of negativity – of selfish desires – of past problems – and being more Christ-like. And that’s what I’m working towards. And yes, old habits die hard. But I’m going to try to approach everything with more heart and less attack. (And also, try not to lose that competition so that I don’t have to wash all of those dishes!)
The more you take, the less you have
‘Cuz it’s you in the mirror staring back.
Quick to let go, slow to react,
Be more heart and less attack.