Just me, alone with six kids, for three entire days. You bet I learned a thing or two!
When my Beautiful Bride took off with her Mom and Sister for a little mini vaca and left me with all the kiddos; I was challenged with feeding, bathing, entertaining, and generally caring for their well being. I do not claim that all of those tasks were done well, but at least everyone made it through the week with all of their limbs!
During one particular morning, I was needing to go out and mow the lawn so I decided to have all the kids go play outside. They had been bouncing off the walls, so I figured it was time to run off some energy anyway. The problem we ran into was that it was scorchingly hot! They seemed to think me an evil dictator because I told them that they had to play outside.
As I made my way around to the side yard I noticed that I could not see any children running around. I peeked over the fence into the backyard and saw that some of the munchkins had disappeared. I stopped mowing for a moment and went searching for them. Inside I found them “taking a break” from the heat. I explained that it was not the time to be inside, but that they all needed to stay outside.
They all seemed to hide under that shade of the porch, and what happened next was a process of them finding any excuse to go back inside. In the span of the next hour, they must have each used the restroom twice, refilled their water bottles half a dozen times, and gone to wash their hands because they had gotten dirty. Every time I looked at the porch someone else had found an excuse to go soak up a little AC. Even in the picture one of them is missing.
I didn’t mind the excuses as much as the whining. Every few moments one of them was complaining about how hot they were. They were so sweaty, it was so uncomfortable, why did they need to stay outside, life is so unfair… and on and on it went.
For some odd reason, they could not find a sympathetic ear in me. I simply did not want to listen to their bellyaching. Yes, it was hot. I would not try to argue that point. The issue I had was that they were complaining about the heat from the protection of the porch. They were shaded and relaxing in chairs. I, however, had spent the last hour and a half pushing a lawn mower around. I had no shade. I had no rest. I was sweatier, hotter, and more uncomfortable than any of them!
As I finished up the yard I found myself growing upset with their whining. How could they whine when I had it so much worse? How could they be complaining that I was so mean for making them stay outside when I was out here with them? Don’t they realize that so many others have it worse than they do?
It was at that thought the Holy Spirit smacked me with a realization. How often I have been sulking in my own misery and woe of life. I have been dealing with a difficulty and have done nothing but whine about how bad things are for me right now. I have found myself far too often focusing on my problems and not on my blessings. How often the lost world must look at us Christians and think, “It can’t be all that good, they are under the shelter of protection of God’s Word, but listen to how much they complain.”
Please don’t misunderstand me. I realize that when things are bad – they are bad. I am not trying to minimize the pain or sufferings we go through. What I am trying to say is that there are so many others out there that are dealing with so much worse. Yes, I have had family issues from time to time, but there are those around me dealing with so much worse. Yes, I have had financial struggles, but there are those within my circles that struggle so much more than I. My sufferings often are so small in comparison to what those wracked by the results of sinful living.
I have realized that the fact that I have it so good is not because of my ability to make wise decisions. It is not because I have figured life out. It is not because I live so clean and pure of sin. Often, the reason I am so blessed is because there are inherent protections given to those that follow God’s Word. When we walk with the Lord He not only gives us guidance but protection from harm. (It reminds me of a walk I went on once)
No wonder the world is not attracted to Christ as they should be – we don’t make Him sound attractive! The challenge laid out before me this week is to stop focusing on my own troubles, even though it is “hot”, and to realize that I really do have a lot to be thankful for. I wonder if you will join me?
Do you ever complain when things are not going your way? Never mind, I already know the answer to that question! What kind of image do you think we give the world of what it’s like to follow Christ? What do you think most influences that image? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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P.S. If you have not heard, a new adventure is coming for the Case family! We have been working hard to get everything ready. We will be sharing the news on Friday, but if you would like to find out a little earlier you can join our email contact list by clicking HERE!