People complain.

My kids complain.

I complain.

It doesn’t matter the topic, most people have something bad to say about something at sometime. That something doesn’t have to be proven of course. That’s the beauty of the complaint. You can say what you like and people listen. Right?

People like to hear complaining. That is why we do it after all.

I mean, I LOVE to hear people complain, so why not just do it myself. Right?

Wrong.

Obviously I’m not serious here, but we all know it. Complaining is a serious problem.

When we fall into the rut of complaining, usually its because you’ve lost focus on what really matters.

Think about it. When you know where you’re going and what it will take to get there, chances are you are less likely to complain.

Take Everest for example: You pretty much know that if you climb Mt. Everest that it will be cold, literally breathtaking, and physically exhausting. You better not complain on Everest.

Or maybe taking a new job: You know that when you go into a new job that you’ll face a learning curve, need to figure out your place, and spend the first few weeks in a daze of confusion. Yeah, don’t complain your first week on the job.

But what about ministry.

When we go into ministry we know that not everyone will like what we do, kids might not think we’re as cool as the latest Disney star, and our time will not be ours for the taking. We know this, yet we complain.

We forget that climbing the mountain means we get to stand on top of the world.

We forget that a challenging new job brings exciting opportunities.

We even forget that God is at work through our measly efforts to help kids discover their part in the greatest story ever told.

Perhaps we forget that, because we don’t always have a clear vision for the future or a mission of how to get there.

I’ve had several conversations about vision and mission over the past few weeks, and something keeps standing out to me.

When people are given an exciting vision and mission greater than themselves, trials and set backs move past being fodder for complaining and move towards  stories to tell from the adventure of following God.

If you’re leading a team, help them see where God is leading. Call them to that and remind them of what matters in ministry.

If you’re on a team where this is lacking, don’t make this your excuse for another gripe session. Resist every effort to complain. Be the positive voice that could change the organizational culture as you know it. Ask leadership tough questions to find out where the organization is headed. Help them pass that along to the rest of your team.

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How about you? How do you keep yourself from getting into the complaining rut? How do you help others focus on what matters?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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