Gripes Be Gone!

The countdown for T-day has begun, and I’m wearing a purple bracelet to remind me of the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Actually, it is a visual to recalculate whining tendencies.  The bracelet declares, “Gripes Be Gone!”

Speaker and writer Linda Dillow gave two dozen women and me the bracelets at a recent teatime event. Linda is a Bible teacher, who mines scripture for spiritual nuggets. During this talk she asked if we knew what four horrible offenses God held against the Israelites when his miracles freed them from Egyptian slavery. The Apostle Paul lists the wrongs in First Corinthians 10: sexual immorality, idolatry, testing (rather than trusting), and grumbling.  Linda asked, Isn’t it interesting that grumbling makes this list?  Who knew the offense was and is THAT bad?

Dillow Insight on Griping

Linda Dillow
Author and speaker Linda Dillow

Here’s another observation Linda drew our attention to in First Corinthians 10:6 (ESV): “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.” In other words, we have this example to teach us not to do likewise. Then, Linda challenged us to reexamine our attitudes in those moments that are uncomfortable or difficult. Attitudes of thankfulness fortify the command, “Gripes Be Gone!” She recommended daily journaling to record all the ways we receive God’s care. Give thanks!

So I’m wearing my little purple bracelet and watching out for gripes. When I catch myself, the band is moved from one wrist to the other. (One audience member declared she was not removing her bracelet but simply stretching the band and giving herself a whack.)

Church hospitality guy Dave Fischer wears a large turkey cap.
Someone who makes me smile many Sundays is church hospitality traffic guy Dave Fischer. He likes unusual hats.

Please, No Bleating!

Goat bleats out her complaints!
Bleating!

 

I looked up one definition of gripe:

1.  “to express a complaint or grumble about something, especially something trivial.
“they gripe about the busywork”
synonyms: complain, grumble, grouse, protest, whine, bleat….”

How about you? Would you like to take the bracelet challenge and discover how well you can keep the gripes and bleats away this Thanksgiving?

Here’s one more “gripe” observation for Thanksgiving that might be appropriate. The second definition of gripe is:

2. “to affect with gastric or intestinal pain. ‘It gripes my belly like a green apple.'”

Therefore, watch out for getting too stuffed like a turkey! Happy Thanksgiving!

A Humorous Aside:

For those interested, here is what the Israelites complain about in the wilderness, shortly after their freedom from Egyptian bondage:

Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”

Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium. The people went about and gathered it and ground it in handmills or beat it in mortars and boiled it in pots and made cakes of it. And the taste of it was like the taste of cakes baked with oil. 9 When the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell with it (Numbers 11:4-9).

 

Gripes Be

Gone

Ten Tips to Help You Throw Off Grudges

I’m percolating on a blog about high wires and mustard seeds. Meanwhile, you might enjoy reading this piece by licensed clinical social worker Nancy Norman. Used with permission, Nancy offers 10 tips to help you throw off grudges. Those resentment gremlins like to hide in soul closets, year after year. Sometimes they ambush when least expected. Perhaps 2017 will be the year to throw off these joy-sucking monsters. Read below and see:

Are Grudges Too Heavy to Carry?

By Guest Writer Nancy Norman

What is a grudge, anyway? Webster says it’s “lingering ill will towards a person for a real or imagined wrong.” A synonym is “resentment.”

Mark Sichel, a therapist writing in Psychology Today, defines resentment as “receptively replaying a feeling, and the events leading up to it, that goads or angers us.” He adds that not overcoming resentment is probably the single most devastating obstacle to repairing a relationship.

This pen and ink drawing shows a woman barely able to care a huge bag on her back with the word grudge across the bag.
A grudge can be a heavy burden.

Resentment is different from being angry with someone. You get mad; you get over it; you put it behind you. But grudges aren’t finished. They offer endless reruns; they fester; they create barriers to closeness; they shout out any chance of resolution except by the person feeling them.

Sichel lists 10 steps to letting go of resentments. I’ve added ideas to his list:

Addictive State of Mind

1. Approach resentment as the addictive state of mind it is. If you can’t keep going over and over how you were offended, you’ll lose the resentment.

2. Realize that you are using resentment to go over old dramas. What your neighbor just did reminds you of an earlier hurt. But you can’t change the past.

Transferring Onto Others

3. Examine how your resentment may come from emotionally confusing people in your present life with people from your past. Your boss has characteristics, both good and bad, of your mother or father. When the “bad” ones show up, the intensity of your anger is often measured by the past–not the present.

4. Acknowledge that you cannot control those who have rejected you. Many resentments come from feeling unimportant to someone who matters to you. You can’t make people like you.

Resentment always hurts you more than it does the person you resent. Quote by Rick Warren, with art showing a park bench by a tree and water.
Quote by Rick Warrren

 

Fake and Fraudulent Power

5. Recognize that your resentment gives you only a false sense of power and superiority. You feel “better than” the one who did you wrong. But there’s no real power in judging others. It’s a lonely existence.

6. Learn to identify signals that provoke resentment. Get familiar with the words and actions that seem to cause lasting anger and blame. This awareness can help you move through the hard feelings.

Powerful, Healing Words

7. Put a thought between your feelings of resentment and chewing on them. Therapists call it “thought stopping.” It takes practice, and it works. Get a phrase in mind that you’ll use when feeling resentment such as, “I can give myself peace.” This interrupts the resentment-ruminating cycle. Say it any time resentment flares.

Sign on window says, "Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head."
“Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head.”

8. Unless you look closely, you can convince yourself it’s all the other person’s fault. Look for your part in the offense, forgive yourself for that, and make a goal not to let it happen again.

Pardon and Peace

9. Declare an amnesty with the person you resent–whether he or she is aware of it or not. The person you resent may be long dead, but you have the power to grant a pardon. Extend the pardon to yourself as well, for holding that grudge.

10. Forgive when you can, and practice willful and deliberate forgetfulness when you cannot. These acts are gifts to yourself rather than giving in to the people you resent.

AA says that “resentment hurts me most.” To gain more peace of mind, I lay down the grudge. And I look for things to carry that bring me happiness instead.

(Note: The above article appeared in “There’s a Blog in My Eye” over a year ago and has been a favorite among my blog hits. It originally was published in LIFE After 50  and is used with permission. Below is some advice to ponder that a friend found on a sign. It seemed appropriate in thinking about grudges.)

A black printed sign with the words quoted in blog.
The words say: “People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you arer kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see in the end it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway” (author unknown).

Pokémon Go: Work, Play, Love

I recently discovered that Pokémon lurks in my home and out on the street. Actually, the virtual animated creatures or pocket monsters are just about everywhere I travel. Thanks to house guests, I am learning about the I-Phone and Android game. Pokémon Go has entered my life, just as I am reading friend Mark R. Shaw’s book: Work, Play, Love—A Visual Guide to Calling, Career, & the Mission of God. There’s an interesting connection between the popular game and Mark’s book.

A Pokemon sits in the hand of a player.
Virtual creatures are flying around in my house!

Pokémon Go players use an app on their cell phones to capture different animated creatures and various weapons to gain points and power. They join teams and defend gym locations against other teams. If you observe people swiping their fingers across cell screens as they walk, chances are they are playing Pokémon Go. The game is popular with multi-generations and across the world. Players obviously love the play and work hard to get better.

Work Play Book

Dr. Shaw’s book Work, Play, Love has a chapter on gaming, suggesting that God, our creator, wired us for play, as well as for work and love.

Book cover title "Work, Play, Love" by Mark R. Shaw.
This IVP book is great for a Millennial desiring a more integrated life.

Too often, he says, we keep these areas of life in separate “silos.” Mark declares God’s intentions for humanity is very much about interfacing play and love with work. He shows from the Book of Genesis and Proverbs 8 that God, with wisdom as a companion, sets himself as the model of how to do work with play and love. I like the idea of God delighting as he creates, consistently saying, “It is good.” (Read Proverbs 8 to appreciate the emphasis on wisdom’s involvement at creation.)

Mark, as well as his wife Lois, has spent many years training African leaders for ministry.  In his book, Dr. Shaw has a lot of well-thought out ideas about regaining Project Eden in the cluster of callings that make up our lives. But first, we must jettison the Babel mentality of

Dr. Mark R. Shaw, author of Work, Play, Love.
Dr. Mark R. Shaw, author of Work, Play, Love.

excluding God from life, and, like Abraham, surrender our doubts to the one who knows the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. I cannot do his book justice here. I do highly recommend it for those who want a fresh biblical perspective on blending the areas of work, play, and love.

One idea his book has helped me realize more clearly is that the curse of work is a lighter burden if we are intentional about play and love. I hope you will be challenged to look prayerfully for examples where work, play, and love interact together. Then, incorporate them more fully into your callings.

Of course, some work is just downright dirty. Even so, there are possibilities. I think about the farmers in my family, who for at least five generations, have known hard work—sweat, bugs, dirt, wind, hail, broken machinery, etc. But through the years there have been lots of stories and practical jokes to lighten the load. Also, there has been love in small actions. I remember countless times Dad and Mom delivered milkshakes to hot and hungry hired hands, driving combines and trucks during harvest time.

Doorman Story

Here’s one more story of work, play, and love interacting. When I was young and single in Philadelphia, I daily walked four blocks to my office from the commuter train. One of my favorite routes went by a posh building with a gold-framed door guarded by aDoorman opens a door. doorman. Probably about five feet tall, the chubby doorman wore thick glasses and dressed in a uniform that had shiny gold buttons. He donned a spiffy, black cap. The doorman’s work, of course, was to open the door for the building’s clients, and he was seriously dedicated. But here’s what he did for me every time he saw me pass by. He tipped his hat respectfully and smiled like I was somebody special. It was easy to smile back at him! Work, play, and love were in motion together.