Wednesday, September 5

At the End of the Driveway

As soon as hubby drove out the driveway, I started my daily housewifely duties: picking up his socks and turning them right side out, turning off the lights he left on, closing the doors and cabinet doors he left open, putting his dishes in the sink, and whatever else I could find that he had done or left undone.

And then, it started:

Why does he leave his socks all balled up? Why can’t he turn off the lights? Why can’t he close the cabinet doors? Why can’t he put his glass in the sink? Why can’t he...

On and on, I mumbled, all in my heart and under my breath. I grumbled while I washed the clothes. I complained while I did the dishes. I murmured while I vacuumed. This negative attitude seeped into other areas of my thinking. Its tentacles grabbed my thoughts and slowly began to suck the life out of me.

I noticed negativity taking a foothold. I started to frown more often. My heart became two sizes too small, just like the Grinch’s heart.

I mumbled to myself that... children wouldn’t clean up their rooms or make the right choices. server brought my salad after my entrĂ©e, didn’t fill my water glass, brought me someone else’s meal, or ignored me altogether.
...the person in the car in front of me drove too slowly in the fast lane.
...the nosy neighbor across the street was always watching to see what we were doing and why couldn’t she mind her own business.

Oh, the endless list! I stumbled over all the negative pebbles I flung in my own path.

All this happened many years ago until it finally dawned on me: What is my grumbling and complaining doing to me? What is it doing to my marriage? How is it affecting others? I knew that if I did not change the thoughts in my mind and heart, my negative attitude would spill out as poison on my husband, the kids, and everyone else, if it hadn’t already.

The Bible says, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matt. 12:34b NIV) What would be the outcome if I continued? I certainly did not want negative criticisms to roll off the end of my tongue.

The Canadian preacher A. B. Simpson once said of the apostle Paul, “Paul did not carry a cemetery with him, but a chorus of victorious praise; and the harder the trial, the more he trusted and rejoiced, shouting from the very altar of sacrifice.”

So, I learned to give that sacrifice of gratitude, sometimes even through gritted teeth.

I learned that thankfulness and praise are the best replacements for any complaints, turning each negative into a positive. For instance, if my husband does something that irritates me, I replace it with a positive, like having a husband who loves the Lord, or having one who isn’t an alcoholic, who doesn’t fool around, who isn’t an addict, or whatever. And I do the same for anything else.

I found that, if I am constantly negative and boo-hoo my circumstances more than being thankful and positive, I magnify my circumstances above everything else. And if I am not careful, I will be just like the Israelites thousands of years ago, as they wandered in the wilderness for forty years, whining and complaining, which resulted in dire consequences.

What is my response today?

Now, when my day is darkened with a multitude of problems that cause my gratitude to stick in my throat, I strive to remain positive anyway. When my eyes spill over with the tears of heartache, I attempt to find a way to be grateful.

I do my best to focus my thoughts on what is “true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others.” (Philippians 4:8 The Living Bible)

When faced with circumstances beyond my control, I try not to respond with feelings but try to purposely choose to be positive, thus invalidating the negative.

I do not want my gravestone to read: Died from too much whine!

Now, as I watch my hubby leave the end of the driveway, nothing fills my heart but gratitude!

***I originally wrote this for Chicken for the Soul’s upcoming book The Power of Positive. It never made it {sniff-sniff} so I’m using it for this month’s Christian Writers’ blog chain topic of change. Please visit the other participants are in the right sidebar.

Life: Unmasked
Reflections of His Grace


39 Responses
  1. I loved this post Lynn! And love the gravestone comments from A. B. Simpson and you!

    Hugs and blessings!!

  2. lynnmosher Says:

    LOL Thanks so much, my sweet Buffaloe! Love you! ;D

  3. Love you too, sweet friend!!

  4. oh my goodness. I can EASILY relate. Thank you!

  5. lynnmosher Says:

    LOL So glad to know I'm not the only one! Thanks so much, sweetie! I appreciate it. Bless you!

  6. Lol! "Died from too much whine!" That is good. Really good. :)

    I love your message, and your focus on what is good and right and wholesome and true. You go, girl!

  7. lynnmosher Says:

    LOL Thanks so much, Jennifer. So glad you liked it! I'm honored to have you visit. Bless you!

  8. Terra Says:

    We can stop whining and put a positive face on things; well written Lynn.

  9. Admission is the beginning of change and even though it is hard to admit the things we do, the end results are so much better. I am glad you learned your gratitude lessons early on so you are prepared for the battles today. Loved the quote from A.B. Simpson.

  10. Love it. Thanks for reminding me to think before I grumble. ;-)

  11. Melanie Says:

    "Sacrifice of gratitude...sometimes through gritted teeth."
    Those words really spoke to me this morning. Thank you!
    Visiting from Life Unmasked.

  12. Voicing gratitude through gritted teeth! Love it!

    When it comes to people, I try to remember that what annoys me most is often the basis for what I love most about them. E.g., Hubby leaves his sox on the floor BUT he's not a stickler that I make sure everything in the house is perfectly in order. Praise God for that!

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks, Lynn! I loved the quote from A.B. Simpson about Paul! What a reminder for us to rejoice in all things!

  14. Tracy Krauss Says:

    Love the quote that you 'don't' want to see on your gravestone. I think we all have done these very things. We really do need to count our blessings, don't we?

  15. lynnmosher Says:

    You're so right, Terra! We CAN do it! Thanks so much for your kind words. Bless you!

  16. lynnmosher Says:

    Oh, yes, Jeannie! I learned that praising God and being thankful are far above being negative. Much more rewarding! Thanks, sweetie, for stopping by. Bless you!

  17. lynnmosher Says:

    Stephanie, sometimes, it's difficult and takes a lot of practice before being positive becomes automatic. But it's well worth the effort, isn't it? Thanks so much for visiting and commenting. Bless you!

  18. lynnmosher Says:

    Melanie, so glad it spoke to you. I'm honored to have you visit. Thank you so much for commenting. Blessings to you!

  19. lynnmosher Says:

    Exactly, Carol! You got it! Thanks so much for stopping by. So appreciate you. Bless you!

  20. lynnmosher Says:

    Heather, isn't that a great quote? I love it. I'm grateful that you took time to read and comment. Blessings to you!

  21. lynnmosher Says:

    LOL Tracy, glad you like my unwanted headstone! And amen! We do need to count our blessings and be grateful. Thanks for commenting. Blessings to you!

  22. Bill Jones Says:

    Thanks Lynn - a great reminder because it is easy to get caught in the negative. That's a regretful place to be because God has given us so much of the positive.

  23. lynnmosher Says:

    You are so right, Bill! God has given us so much to be thankful for. We just need to be more aware. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I appreciate it! Bless you!

  24. chris Says:

    Oh boy... and then they grow up to be men!!

    I think you've wrapped your arms all the way around the power of positive Lynn, excellent :-)

  25. such a needed reminder for me, friend. it's all about letting our mind be renewed daily, yes? bless you. thank you so much for linking.

  26. TraciB Says:

    Thanks for this post, Lynn! I have that same struggle, especially when health or work issues aggravate me or someone does something dumb while driving 85 miles an hour on the interstate.

    The challenge to think and speak positively, to keep an attitude of gratitude, is constant. But as you point out, it's worth the effort.

  27. Jean Wise Says:

    The gravestone comment is wonderful. love it but also such a good post - lots to ponder.

    I used to whine about my hubby's snoring and man does he snore. But a few years ago, a good friend lost her hubby unexpectedly and I realize I will take his snoring every night instead of the silence she was now experiencing.

    Blessings on your weekend, Lynn

  28. lynnmosher Says:

    LOL Yeah, they do! Sometimes! Chris, thanks so much for your kind comment. Bless you!

  29. lynnmosher Says:

    Emily, yes, you are so right. Daily mind renewal! Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I so appreciate it. Blessings to you!

  30. lynnmosher Says:

    LOL You're so right, Traci! Thanks so much for stopping by. Makes my heart happy! Bless you!

  31. lynnmosher Says:

    LOL Jean, so glad you liked my unwanted headstone comment! And I've had the same experience about the snoring. Better to have it (and wear earplugs) then not to have it at all! Thanks for stopping by. Always love to see you. Bless you!

  32. I think we've all struggled in this area, Lynn. If we're really honest about it. Thanks for the great reminders, for us to focus on the positive.

  33. lynnmosher Says:

    Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, Deborah! Blesses me. Bless you!

  34. Lynn, I know this feeling too. Thank you for sharing your lovely blog at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. xo

  35. Anonymous Says:

    This is so good. Many years ago, I belonged to a women's group that soon became a husband-bashing group. I got out of it eventually, but not soon enough. I now guard carefully any husband talk and if I find myself griping, I change the subject.

  36. lynnmosher Says:

    Hey, Katie-kins! Thanks so much for stopping by. You have such a wonderful blog hop. I appreciate your comment. Bless you!

  37. lynnmosher Says:

    Anonymous, good for you! That's one thing hubs and I have never done: bash each other in front of others. And we have rarely done it to each other. All the marriage experts agree. The more a spouse dwells on the negative of the other partner, the more it is fixed in that one's mind and it loves to grow! Thanks so much for visiting. I'm honored. Blessings to you!

  38. You are so right, Lynn. It is our attitude that makes the difference in our lives. I have made it a practice to concentrate on what I have versus what I don't have, and being thankful. I have also gone one step further. God isn't interested in making me happy. He is interested in changing my selfish thoughts and desires into union with Him. What I think will make me happy won't necessarily do so. Being with God is the only thing that will. Great post, Lynn. Lot's of good instruction, quotes and reminders of what really is important.

  39. lynnmosher Says:

    Amen, amen, amen, Ceci! It all comes down to letting go of self, doesn't it? Thank you so much, sweetie, for all your wonderful comments. I so appreciate you. Bless you!