A blessed feast to all! This comes from Christine in Alaska:
When I read which Maxim was mine, I chuckled. Irony, it seems, always wins. I am a huge whiner. I usually like to label my complaining nicely. I’m “venting” or “just airing some problems.” But it’s whining and complaining, all the same. So I thought on this for a few days. What does a whiner -— of whom I am first -— have to say about complaining, grumbling, or murmuring?
I read somewhere that if all the people in the entire world put their problems in a huge pile, we would all take back our original ones. Boy, isn’t that the case! My problems, as a middle-class American, are pretty minor. In the grand scheme of life in general, they really aren’t even a blip on the radar. So why do I insist on expounding on them? It seems that every time I complain about something, that tiny incident -— whatever it may be -— is magnified. And if I complain about it to five people (as I usually do) then it is magnified five times. All of a sudden, I have made a mountain out of that little molehill.
In further retrospection, I realized something. My complaints are really blessings. Take today, for example. My strong-willed daughter is in the midst of her terrible twos. I could grumble about that until the cows come home, and still have breath left over. But instead, I am going to choose to see the many gifts in this situation. Thank you God, for the blessing of her throwing a fit on the floor. That means that we have a floor, and a roof over it. Instead of calling my husband at work to complain about her sassing, I will instead thank God that I have a husband to call. Instead of grumbling that she swiped too many cookies when I wasn’t looking, I will be grateful that she is fed. And when I want to murmur over my pile of dirty laundry, I will instead offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the beautiful little girl who created it.
Truly, I believe this is one of the struggles of the Christian life: to see the grace and blessings of God in all things, however troublesome or mundane. And when I sit and think about it, the even more extraordinary truth is that I am alive and able to complain. I am loved and cared for by God “who so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son.” As we draw nearer and nearer to Golgotha, where that Only-Begotten Son died for me and my sins, my heart trembles that I have the audacity to complain when such a price was paid for me! Thank God for forgiveness. Thank God for the Cross. Thank God for the Resurrection!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The Forty Maxims
- 1. Be always with Christ and trust God in everything.
- 2. Pray, fast and do acts of mercy.
- 3. Read the Scriptures regularly.
- 4. Read good books, a little at a time.
- 5. Practice silence, inner and outer.
- 6. Cultivate communion with the saints.
- 7. Be an ordinary person, one of the human race.
- 8. Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time.
- 9. Be honest, first of all with yourself.
- 10. Be faithful in little things.
- 11. Do your work, then forget it.
- 12. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
- 13. Face reality.
- 14. Be grateful.
- 15. Be cheerful.
- 16. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
- 17. Never bring unnecessary attention to yourself.
- 18. Listen when people talk to you.
- 19. Be awake and attentive, fully present where you are.
- 20. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
- 21. Speak simply, clearly, firmly, directly.
- 22. Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis.
- 23. Flee carnal things at their first appearance.
- 24. Don’t complain, grumble, murmur or whine.
- 25. Don’t seek or expect pity or praise.
- 26. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
- 27. Don’t judge anyone for anything.
- 28. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
- 29. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
- 30. Be defined and bound by God, not people.
- 31. Accept criticism gracefully and test it carefully.
- 32. Give advice only when asked or when it is your duty.
- 33. Be strict with yourself.
- 34. Be merciful with yourself and others.
- 35. Do nothing for people that they can do for themselves.
- 36. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
- 37. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
- 38. Endure the trial of yourself and your faults serenely, under God’s mercy.
- 39. When you fall, get up immediately and start over.
- 40. Get help when you need it, without fear or shame.