It started last Monday, when we were headed on a nine-hour trip to the grandparents' in our slammin' minivan.
Problem: 16-month-old does not sleep in the car—at least without utter exhaustion—and is not entertained by DVD's.
Problem: We are in a wonderful stage of him testing his/our limits—if I'd really like to throw a fit for half an hour or longer, what will you do?
I am not particularly fond of the role of court jester, particularly in this situation, when few objects entertain him more than 30 seconds (there are a lot of 30-second intervals in nine hours), he's seated behind me, and he's pretty much just mad for nine hours.
One of my more well-hidden sins (yeah, I know, I think it's well-hidden…) is my ability to be a martyr. On the outside, I'm giving, but on the inside, I can be complaining or blaming. Basically, I choose in my heart to complain rather than truly give cheerfully and freely, wholeheartedly—pure-heartedly. Basically, I'm giving, but I'm not. And that's a problem. A sin problem. What I wanted to do in the van: COMPLAIN.
Yet God has been reminding me in less-than-subtle ways recently how He feels about complaining—you know, the whole "made the Israelites wander in the wilderness for 40 years" thing. Inward or outward complaining, I have come to regretfully realize, is the opposite of peace. Faith. Submission. Contentment. Joy.
So I asked my husband to hold me accountable not to complain the whole trip (sigh). But you know what? To my small-faithed amazement, God gave me what I needed. The kids and I all thanked God together as we pulled into Slice of Paradise, aka Grandma and Grandpa's.
Then I got to thinking: If godly men can seek to go a year with monogamous eyes, should I seek to go a year without complaining?
I think I need to go for it.
Trust me, God continues to give me plennnnty of test runs, opportunities to make a choice. Will I give in? (And what will I do when I inevitably mess up?)
And as someone recently pointed out me, early Christians went to their deaths in the Coliseum by singing. Paul and Silas, too, sang in prison—not our sanitized version, but the ancient-Roman, flogging, rat-infested, who-knows-when-you'll-be-released, there's-a-good-chance-you'll-die-a-painful, unjust-death prison. So practically, when I'm facing a disgusting or mundane or exasperating task, I've started to sing. I am intrigued: It has been nothing short of flabbergasting how it changes my mood and my focus.
So friends, keep me accountable: Here's to a year of joy.