Saturday, January 16, 2016

Complaining


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Another 2016 New Year's Resolution for me. Not that I am generally a major complainer in life, I just feel like I have slipped into a bad habit the last year and half. Most of the complaining happens in my head, the rest is heard by my hubby and dearest non-judgmental friends. Since it's the year of the Book of Mormon in Sunday School, let's start there for examples and learning.
(I have touched a little on this subject once before here. Like many aspects of life, we always need a little tune up. The longer I have this little blog, the more I like the fact that I can go back and re-learn what  have already learned. Oh the folly of human nature, we are forgetful students.)

1 Nephi 5- Sariah complains against Lehi(oh dear)
Surprisingly this is not a marriage post, although it could easily be turned into one. This is a gratitude post because that is where my studying took me. In the first few chapters of Nephi, murmuring is clearly one of the lessons we are to learn -not- to do. Ideally we should be as Nephi and Sam, turning our hearts to the Lord and be believing, stoically going forward when the Lord gives a commandment. However, if we read this account and merely view the words as just historical facts, then we miss so much. Let's do a little visualization with Sariah in mind. 
Sariah is a wife, mother, daughter of God. Her husband has just had his life threatened by some very angry people. She wants safety for her family as much as her husband does. They leave their comfortable home, traveling around 14 days into unknown territory and make camp. She listens to her children fight and complain, she has to endure days and days of worry as she sends her children back to that life threatening city they had just left. She has to sleep, and cook, and live in a tent with all of the natural elements that come with the outdoors. If anyone has a right to complain about her current situation it is Sariah. (I must give her credit for silencing her complaints up until this point, surely my husband would have heard about it from me long before now.) She is tired, her body probably hurts in some way from all of the travel and sleeping on the ground. She thinks she has lost all of her children. She has reached the end of her limits as a mother, as a wife, as a child of God. My heart aches for her now as I visualize all that she has gone through. So she complains, poor, tired, grieving Sariah complains. 
It is here that I begin to question, what am I to learn from this? Sariah is experiencing very hard things, what am I to do then when I experience hard things?
There is a footnote on the word 'complain'. Footnote 2a tells me if I want more information to see TG(topical guide) Murmuring. Under 'Murmuring' it says "See also, Disobedience; Disputations; Ingratitude; Rebellion". The word Ingratitude stood out to me which recalled to my memory President Uchtdorf's talk Grateful in Any Circumstance. What on earth did Sariah have left to be grateful for? Her world was falling apart. President Uchtdorf kindly teaches us, when we find ourselves in such difficult situations as Sariah's:
"Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I’m suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances—whatever they may be."   
He further adds "Being grateful in our circumstances is an act of faith in God. It requires that we trust God and hope for things we may not see but which are true. By being grateful, we follow the example of our beloved Savior, who said, “Not my will, but thine, be done. True gratitude is an expression of hope and testimony. It comes from acknowledging that we do not always understand the trials of life but trusting that one day we will." 

Lesson learned: True gratitude is an act of faith in God and an expression of testimony. I want to be known by my Savior and God as being grateful, in any circumstance, because I love them.



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