Over the past few years, I have been trying to grumble and complain less. It’s a dreadful habit. I know it is wrong to do these things, and it doesn’t set a good example. Sometimes things frustrate me, so I give in.

Frustration at work or with friends and family can bring out the worst in me. In an attempt to vent, I grumble and complain to trusted people. My dear husband is often the one who has to eat the serving of grumbles that I dish up. My complaining doesn’t bless anyone, making it unfruitful.

Over the summer, one of our pastors had a mini-series of messages called “Me and My Big Mouth”. The first week in the series was about how complaining is a toxic habit that we need to break in order to experience true joy. I cringed in my seat as he introduced the topic, but I knew I needed every word of the message.

He gave the example of the Israelites, who had been freed from captivity only to complain about their new lives of freedom. They’d just been delivered from the Egyptians, who were swallowed by the sea, yet they complained about hunger and thirst.

Moses also said, “You will know that it was the LORD when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the LORD.”

-Exodus 16:8 (NIV)

I shrank down in my seat as I thought about the blessings I’d prayed for but complain about at times. I prayed to have children, yet I complain about their behavior and messiness. There’s also my job, which I prayed to get, but I grumble about policies and paperwork.

The grumbling and complaining I do not only serves no good, it is an affront to God, who has blessed me with the things I’ve prayed for. Just as the Israelites grumbled about their food and drink after a miraculous deliverance, I too grumble after His provision.

The sobering idea that I wasn’t grumbling against my job or my children, but against the God who provided them convicted me. I need to replace my grumbling with gratitude. It must become a new habit.

If I live in a mindset of gratitude, there won’t be room for grumbling and complaining. I want my heart to be so filled with thanksgiving that I am unable to entertain complaints. Our mouths let flow what our hearts are filled with, just as Jesus said in Matthew 12.

“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

-Matthew 12:33-37

Lord Jesus, forgive me for my idle grumbling. It’s so easy to do and difficult to stop. I don’t want to be condemned by my empty words and known as a griping complainer.

Only with God’s help, staying in an attitude of prayer and thanksgiving, can I hope to convert grumbling to gratitude. I’m working on it, with God’s help. I feel happier and more content.

Replace your grumbling with gratitude and watch your heart and mind change.