When it’s Okay to Be Discontent, Driven, and Complain

It's okay to complain. (The Bible told me so.)Discontent.  Drivenness.  Complaint.  These are usually negative words.  And rightfully so. But sometimes these words get a bad rap, especially in Christian circles.

I recently wrote a post about the advantage of living with God’s vision.  A reader commented that the line between growth and contentment can be blurry.  I thought it was a very insightful question and made me think.  Her comment inspired this short series of posts that I hope will help to unravel when and how it is okay to be discontent, to complain, and to want more from life yet continue on in gratitude and peace.

Complaint:

David (I, II Samuel & I, II Kings) had real problems.  He had armies wanting to kill him.  He had to hide out in caves and deserts for years.   This was more than just the minor annoyance of getting stuck in traffic.  He was an exile wanted dead or alive.  He had real reason to complain.  And he did, regularly.

The Israelites also had some problems after God led them out of Egypt.  They too had to wander around in the desert for awhile.  And they too complained.

But God welcomed David’s complaint and punished the Israelites for theirs.  So what’s the difference?

The main distinction between the two types lies in the hearts of the complainers. The underlying question to each is: How do they view God?  If the complainer is convinced that God is loving and trustworthy (although he may not understand His ways or timing),  it’s totally acceptable for him to voice his troubles to his Father.  But if, underneath the words of the complainer, there is accusation (God won’t help me, He doesn’t know what He’s doing, etc), then it must be rooted out so that intimate relationship can be restored with the Father.  We cannot be close to someone we don’t trust.

Ungodly complaint is formed in the deadly belief that God is holding out on us.  It’s the first lie that was sold to humanity in the Garden of Eden.  Complaint that stems from that belief will only grow to cause pain and distance in one’s relationship with God and others.

Within all righteous complaint is a heart of gratitude towards a good Father. #gratitude Click To Tweet

David knew that God was good.  He trusted God’s heart.  He told God how he felt, that it hurt, that he didn’t like it.  But you’ll notice that at the end of his poetry, he comes back to praise.  But God you are good.  But God you are powerful.  But God you are for me.  There was no accusation towards God.  It’s normal to feel distressed sometimes when life is, well, DISTRESSING!

How can we know the difference between good and bad complaining? The answer lies in the heart.

It’s inappropriate in times of crisis to just try to be grateful for what you do have.  Oh well if your dog died, at least you have 2 cats.  Oh well if you lost your job, at least you have your health.  I understand the sentiment behind those words.  And yes, I’m glad I still have my 2 cats and my health but that doesn’t take away from the fact that my dog died and I lost my job!  It’s okay to admit that that is NO BUENO!

God doesn’t want us to fake it.  But He does want us, at the end of our rant, to come back to the truth that He is good, that He is for us, and that He is blessing us.  Despite our circumstances.

If something in life is hard, by all means, please “voice your complaint before the Lord” (Psalms 64:1).  He cares.  He thinks it’s hard too, and He wants to comfort you.  But if you feel your heart beginning to accuse God, blame Him, or pull back from Him, ask yourself why.  Tell God about it and let Him comfort you.  We can block God’s grace and comfort from entering our hearts and our situations when if we don’t stay connected to Him.

Let’s not be duped by the Enemy, the world, and our even ourselves at times into thinking God is holding out on us.

God is not out to get you.  He has plans to prosper you.  He has plans for your good.  And He want to lead you into those plans more than you even want to be led.

If you’d like to continue to the rest of this series, click here Godly vs Selfish Ambition.

Or if you’d like more resources for your walk with God, you can follow me on Pinterest.

1 Comment

  • Emily April 9, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    What a great insight to complaining! I sometimes get hung up thinking it’s never okay to complain but I love the way you put it and agree 100%. It is all about keeping that perspective of where the grief is coming from – not from God! I love that you say God’s not out to get us, so true. Thanks for a great article!

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