What I Learned In My 21 Days of No Complaints!!!
A few weeks back I shared that I was planning to start the 21 Days No Complaints Challenge!!! Well, I did…and I invited several others to go with me. Would you believe that 65 people joined the challenge? Though it was difficult, it was definitely worth it! Let me share 6 things I learned with you!
#1 Sometimes I complain about the dumbest things! You may remember that I did a trial run before I committed to actually taking the challenge. That first day I did really well. I avoided complaining when I was critiqued at work. I kept it positive that evening when dealing with an uncooperative person who I know was taking advantage of me. I had a ton of running around to do that night when I got off work, but I did not complain once…Well, that is until I was finally headed home around 11:30pm. Driving home and feeling good, I approached the turn into my neighborhood, I slipped my fingertips slowly through my hair to massage my scalp. I guess the wear and tear of the day had caused me to sweat and my hair felt less smooth and silky than usual. And before I knew it I let out a sigh and said, “I hate when my hair feels like this.” WOMP! I couldn’t believe it. I only had 30 minutes to go! Moreover, there was no one in the car but me. I actually complained to myself. How silly. LOL!
#2 This leads me to my second lesson: I COMPLAIN A LOT!!! We have no idea how much we complain! The best part of this challenge is that it forced me to pay attention to what words come out of my mouth. In so doing, I became keenly aware of how often I have the urge to complain–all the time! I wanted to complain about weather, malfunctioning technology, and having to wait to long. It was a constant effort to keep from complaining, mainly because I kept wanting to do it.
#3 Words HAVE POWER!!! I noticed that the longer I went without complaining, the better I felt. My mood was better. My outlook was more optimistic. No complaining turns an okay day into a great day because it makes you feel soooo good inside. We don’t realize how strong of an impact our negative words have on us internally. When we speak negatively, we feel negative. When we speak positive, we feel more positive. The bible is right when it says that life and death is in the power of the tongue and those who speak eat the fruit thereof (Proverbs 18:21). In other words, what comes out goes right back in. Choose wisely.
#4 People want to be better–and occasionally they will take action to do just that. When I decided to do this challenge, I wanted a little company. So I sent out a ton of text messages, Facebook posts, and tweets to secure some companionship during the journey. Since it was a tough challenge, I only expected 5 or 6 people to join me; I had no idea that a whopping 65 people would join in with me. It was AWESOME!!! I discovered that people like a challenge and they signed up because this challenge would help them be better people. I was inspired by so many people’s willingness to take action to improve their attitude. This ultimately makes for better people, relationships, families, and communities.
#5 There is a season for every activity under the sun–even complaining! (Ecclesiastes 3:1) The truth is we live in a very imperfect world. And there does come a time that SPEAKing up and even complaining is absolutely necessary and, in fact, is the right thing to do. Where there is injustice, we ought to complain. When the innocent need protection, COMPLAIN! When the voiceless need to be heard, COMPLAIN! When people are being mistreated, COMPLAIN about it! Too often we are silent, when a complaint should be made in the interest of doing what is right. Instead we waste our energy complaining about things that don’t matter and that we cannot change: the weather, how long we have to sit at a light, even gas prices. I am convinced that there is a much better way I can use my words–that help make life better for people around me.
#6 Our bodies, minds, and spirits are totally interconnected. When I first started the challenge I had the strangest sensation every time I got ready to eat–I kept feeling like I should not be eating, as if I were doing a fast. Over and over when I would get ready to eat lunch or breakfast, something inside made me pause as if I should not eat. And the only way I can explain this is that the practice of not complaining felt like a kind of cleansing, and it had me feeling like I wanted to be careful of what I took into my body. As I was releasing the spiritual impurities, I also desired to rid myself of physical ones. I wanted that lighter cleaner feeling to be real for all of me: spirit, body, and mind. It was the most unexpected and absolutely amazing sensation.
This has been such a great experience for me, that I am starting the challenge all over again. And this time it’s not for 21 days, I’m in it for life. I want to enjoy increased positivity during my days, and much less negativity. I want to benefit from what things come out of my mouth, and I want the same for others as well. So I have resolved that I will SPEAK to uplift and not to tear down, to make a difference. Will you join you me? No more complaining for no reason. I will strive to complain only for good, to make the world around me a little bit better. Lord help me. This will be tough!
So my people….what did you learn on the challenge? Share it with me. I want to hear from you. Holla at me. SPEAK!!!