In New Wine Wednesday

By Sharon Wilson

Photo courtesy of PIxabay. CC0 Creative Commons

 

“Do everything without grumbling or questioning,” Phil 2:14

Following Jesus is hard.  I remember after my “Big” conversion I radically jumped into following Jesus.  At least I thought I did.  Becoming a disciple, I thought, was all about loving Jesus! I had come to the realization that God loved me so of course I wanted to give that love back.

I entered into lots of ministries at my church and started attending a Catholic bible study led by our pastor.  Dwelling on the word of God filled me with love but it also sparked my curiosity.  I started to wonder what it was like for the first disciples of Christ and how did they struggle to follow him.  My mind was still filled with an easy love of this cool guy/god-man walking around in the middle east preaching God loves you.

It wasn’t until I started pondering the word ‘disciple’ one day in prayer that it occurred to me that the work of a disciple might be different than the “Jesus loves me” songs of my youth.  When I looked up the root meaning of the word ‘disciple ‘I found out that it came from the same root word as ‘discipline!’ Ugg – who wants discipline? I just wanted to love God.

As I grow in maturity I hope I am learning that love is not just all warm fuzzies and that real love requires discipline and, dare I say it, sacrifice! I also see the depth and meaning of this great faith of ours and why we venerate the cross and even the deeper meaning of the Mass.

Even with this knowledge I still have trouble living it out every day! Even simple things trip me up.  Today’s first reading is Paul’s letter to the Philippians instructing them on how a Christian should act.  Great advise and simple – right?

“Do everything without grumbling or questioning,” Phil 2:14

Daily, weekly and during Lent I have tried to give up grumbling or complaining.  Sometimes I even think I am doing pretty good at it, but I tend to fall back into old habits.

This is where discipline can come in.

New habits can break the chain of old habits.  Here is a 6-step plan to help break the chain of complaining.

  1. CATCH YOURSELF

Realize you are complaining and notice.  You may even want to jot it down or record it in some way

  1. Notice triggers

Once you catch yourself, notice any triggers that lead you down that road. Is it during your coffee time with a friend?  Make a conscious effort to chat on positive topics

  1. Limit

Set aside a specific time to complain.  That may seem counterintuitive, but it seems to work if you don’t let it get out of hand.  My husband and I have coffee together most mornings.  Occasionally one or the other will have a “dump’ session where we air our frustrations about work, family, or a situation. Just a couple of rules around this one. Once it is dumped – you don’t pick it back up again and the sessions are short and with a person you trust.

  1. TAKE ACTION

If it’s a reoccurring frustration, Don’t just vent – come up with a plan to improve the situation. If you can’t improve the situation then you can make a plan to change your response to it.

  1. Review

Do a Daily Examen. The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience. Find out how here:  https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen

  1. Pray

Bring your complaining to God and ask Him to turn them into blessings.

 

Being a disciple can be hard work and discipline may not be something I like, but if I love and want to love like God loves me – I have a lot of work to do!

About the author:

Sharon Wilson – Wife, Mother, Writer, Catholic Speaker, and a WINE Specialist. Sharon has a degree in education and has worked as a freelance writer, Respect Life Coordinator, a teacher, in advertising, radio, buyer and in youth advocacy – She even rode an elephant in the circus once! Sharon speaks, writes and shares about God’s healing and about the great gift of being Catholic at SharonAgnesWilson.com

Showing 10 comments
  • JULIANA CLOUD
    Reply

    I can relate to this! Great, solid advise. Thanks.

    • Sharon Wilson
      Reply

      Thanks – I am still working on it! Sharon

  • Kathy
    Reply

    Wow–this one I will read again and again, as I need as many tips as I can get for changing bad habits! This is so clear-cut and, most importantly, adds God to the mix (unlike so much of the self-help advice out there) and so it is truly holystic! Yes, misspelling is intentional! 🙂 Thank you so much!

    • Sharon Wilson
      Reply

      Thanks – I feel the same way about the ‘self helps” without God. I need all the God I can get! Sharon

  • linda cossabone
    Reply

    Well said! Glad I’m not the only one that “falls back” but even our first Pope Peter had that issue. I will check out that website. Thank you for this inspiring article.

    • Sharon Wilson
      Reply

      The daily Examin is life changing. remember to reflect on the good things as well as areas to improve.
      Blessings, Sharon

  • Bernadette
    Reply

    Thank you for this timely advice, I can relate very well with this. Thanks again

    • Sharon Wilson
      Reply

      You are welcome. I am glad my experience of failure can help us all grow! Blessings, Sharon

  • Kathleen Masner
    Reply

    Thank you. Just great advice I needed today. Wrote in my journal to work on being worrisome or complaining. I think the steps you wrote will continue to enable me on so many ways. God bless you.

    • Sharon Wilson
      Reply

      Journaling is a great way to keep track of progress. I am glad you likes the blog!
      Blessings, Sharon

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