Complaining is a hard habit to kick, especially when your idea of how things should be, looks very different from how things are… at that moment. If I am being completely vulnerable and honest, I have to admit that I complain… a lot. Oxford Languages defines complaining as to “express dissatisfaction or annoyance about something”. So, to continue working on my growing faith and spirit of gratitude, I am turning to my creator for biblical reasoning to complain less in this season of homemaking.
I believe that complaining is a thief of true joy and happiness. As a homemaker, you can focus so much on the mundane, that you miss out on the blessing that is in keeping a home. Complaining could be robbing you of time with your children, partner, and yourself. It might also be teaching your children to look at life from a glass half empty perspective and set a negative tone for your home environment. Since I believe the environment is the third teacher (a Reggio Emilia philosophy), let’s look at three biblical reasons to complain less.
Reason #1- Be Glad and Rejoice… and Complain Less
Often when things are hard, painful, or disappointing we are told to be grateful and stop complaining. But, there was always this insensitive or less empathetic tone behind that. And yes, we are to be grateful and to refrain from complaining. Our feelings are valid first and foremost because they are ours. It is the dwelling in the place of disappointment or heartache that lies the problem. We are called to be glad and rejoice. One should slow down to listen and learn. Be slow to speak, or in this matter, slow to complain.
Philippians Chapter 2 Verses 14 and 17 – 18
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing” (Philippians 2: 14, NIV).
Sometimes I think we believe that to be grateful we must never feel sadness, pain, opposition, or despair. Even Jesus wept, got angry, etc. These feelings aren’t “bad” or less than feelings like happiness and joy. They shouldn’t be shoved down, but instead, worked through. We can know that these feelings will exist, and we can choose to be glad and rejoice in spite of those feelings rather than instead of feeling them at all. This builds resiliency and will help us to complain less. Help us to appreciate more.
If you are a homemaker, I see you, I feel you, this mission is hard work. We are constantly pouring out and rarely filling ourselves up, even in the Lord. Philippians 2 reminds us to imitate Christ’s humility and to be reminded that we are to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives and not our own. Complaining is rooted in pride and disappointment based on our own idea of what we should have or how things should be.
“But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me” (Philippians 2: 17-18, NIV).
Reason #2- A Wise Woman Builds Her House
Homemakers, by simple definition, are makers of their homes. Home can include a partner, children, the physical home, etc. The world might see homemaking as a small and insignificant role. But, we are not of this world, and the Bible tells us that the value of a woman and homemaker is precious.
Proverbs Chapter 14 Verses 1 – 4
“Every wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands. He who walks in uprightness fears the LORD, but the one who is devious in his ways despises Him. The proud speech of a fool brings a rod to his back, but the lips of the wise protect them. Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but an abundant harvest comes through the strength of the ox” (Proverbs 14: 1-4, NIV).
The book of Proverbs is very poetic, often speaking in metaphors (in my opinion). Here, we have biblical reason to complain less. Which is what a wise woman would likely do. I would also go so far as to say that complaining is that of proud speech. To be dissatisfied would mean you believe that you should have something a certain way based on your own doings. The definition of pride is, “a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.”
The scripture says, “where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but an abundant harvest comes through the strength of the ox” (Proverbs 14: 4). I can see this as being a metaphor for the homemaker. That “harvest” comes from the strength of the homemaker. Where there is constant grumbling there is the opposite of strength.
Proverbs Chapter 11 Verse 2
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom” (Proverbs 11: 2, NIV).
If you are reading this, and you too battle with complaining, I am not shaming you. Like I mentioned, complaining is something I struggle with. I often feel this lack of control in my life and it leads to complaining. As a fellow homemaker, I am calling us out on our stuff so that we can do the work. We are human, flesh, and therefore we fall short by default. I know I will never be free from feelings of disappointment, and that may lead to complaining, but the point is that I want to complain less and grow in faith. I want to walk by that faith and trust that God’s plan for my life is much more than I can ever imagine. Complaining shouldn’t be the default, gratitude and praise should be.
Reason #3- Sticks and Stones
Have you ever heard or said, “sticks and stones may break my (your) bones but words will never hurt me (you)”? I believe the intent behind this common saying is good, however, I feel it is actually a pretty damaging thing to say and believe. When someone says this, either to themselves or to a child, it is with the good intention of trying to build them up and help them to turn the other cheek when someone is being cruel, though not physically harming them. But, we aren’t just physical beings. We have to acknowledge and care for our mental and emotional selves.
So, while words might not physically hurt us, at that moment, they actually are very powerful and do hurt. Bones can heal, words can destroy. Words become our inner voice. There is a reason the Bible teaches us to be “quick to listen, slow to speak” (James 1: 19, NIV).
James Chapter 3 Verses 5 & 6
“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” (James 3: 5-6, NIV).
While words may seem small, just as the tongue, they can change the entire trajectory of your life and possibly others. When we complain as homemakers, we are speaking that energy into our home, our partner, and our children. We are setting the tone. When we are faced with challenges in this season, we get to choose whether we speak life or death into our circumstances.
Proverbs Chapter 18 Verse 21
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18: 21, NIV).
With the whole “sticks and stones” perspective ingrained in most of us, we have to first acknowledge that words are powerful. Words can cause harm. Once we let go of trying to convince ourselves otherwise, we can practice intentionality with our words and begin complaining less as we are commanded by our faith.
No one is perfect and we all fall short. Let’s help one another and share what tools we use to fight the spirit of complaining. Do you journal, study the word daily, or something else? Share in the comments.