My thoughts are overwhelming me. My head and back ache. My living environment is messy and disordered. My to-do list overflows. My usual supports are either unavailable or take more effort than I have space to give. What is the Christian woman to do in this circumstance? Her vice of choice: grumbling and complaining, provide little satisfaction beyond the moment. She knows from years of grumbling and complaining that this particular go-to offers no lasting relief or gain. In fact, it is a sin that God warns us against. In Numbers 14 the Israelites were led out of captivity in Egypt en route to the promised land of God, but the journey was more difficult than they anticipated. They feared the unknown and they began complaining:
“If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” – Numbers 14:2-4
Here, God was leading them into their miracle, their answered prayer, their hearts desire, yet they were overcome with fear and dissatisfaction so much so that they begged to go back to Egypt, the place of their torment. Imagine how God must have felt. Well, we don’t have to imagine because a few verses down in verse 11, He says:
“How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them?
Sis, how can our grumbling and complaints communicate something we don’t intend? Here, we see what the complaints of the Israelites amounted to - lack of faith in God. Lack of trust in His plan, and the ridiculous belief that they know better. These are the same folks who watched God perform miracle after miracle in rescuing them from the clutches of Pharaoh back in Egypt. These folks saw God part the Red Sea with their own eyes. Yet, and still, they didn’t trust Him. Yikes!
These stories aren’t in the bible for us to point and look down on them. No, they are there because they reflect our souls. The fleshly bent towards rebellion. Now let me be clear, all those in Christ are forgiven, washed clean and new creations. We are as perfect spiritually as we will ever be. The Bible says as Christ is, so are we in this world. – 1 John 4:17
But the flesh is rife with temptation, and a common temptation is that of murmuring and complaining. Especially as an antidote to stress and burnout. When we murmur in response to stress, what we are actually doing is confessing negatively. We are committing a negative confession. We are speaking against the promises of God in our lives. We are speaking against our faith in God Himself. We are offering the enemies lies a voice in our life.
Romans 8:6 says: For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot.
We don’t intend to do this. At least I know that I don’t. So, I want this blog post to serve as a reminder that even in stress-filled times, God has given us the ability to trust Him and speak words of faith into our lives. Let’s not give the enemy a mouthpiece ever, but especially not at a time we need to hear God’s promises the most.
We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us - Philippians 4:13, and we have the mind of Christ and the freedom in Christ to make decisions in our lives that enable us to serve Him, others and ourselves better. That includes saying no, cancelling plans, enlisting help, seeing a counselor etc. Burnout is an indication that something isn't working. Let us not respond to burnout by murmuring. For it is with your mouth that you confess your faith. - Romans 10:10