Do everything without kvetching. –Philippians 2:14 CJB
“Quit your kvetching,” my mother often told me.
She used that Yiddish word whenever I complained about something, like when I’d gripe that my nose didn’t look right on my face.
“Imagine what you’d look like without a nose,” she’d say.
No sympathy. At all.
But she knew there were things in life I’d have to deal with – things I couldn’t change and things I could (like my attitude), but I was too busy wallowing in self-pity. Pity parties may be good to air bottled-up emotions, but they don’t remedy the situation.
My friend Rebecca is a lot like my mother in that way. I have to admit, sometimes I don’t appreciate her words. All I want is a little sympathy. I don’t get it. Instead I receive a verbal boot in my feeling-sorry-for-myself attitude.
Take, for example, my grumbling on Facebook this past week about being cooped up during this messy winter with its manic weather and the resulting cabin fever. Every time I plan to make the 12-mile drive down the mountain to town to get my hair cut, precipitation is forecast. I don’t drive on roads that may freeze up in the blink of an eye or if there’s even an inkling of the possibility of freezing rain. I’ve rescheduled my appointment three times. And from the looks of Tuesday’s forecast, it’ll be four.
“I find if I get cabin fever,” Rebecca wrote, “it usually means I have too much time on my hands.”
Too much time on my hands? I resented that. I have a schedule packed with things to do: prepare services and sermons, write my weekly column, schedule my blog, work on my novel, do laundry, make meals, clean up after the cats.
Oh, did I mention I’m kitty-sitting my grandkids’ two cats? And vacuuming up hair (they’re big, fuzzy cats) and cleaning up you-know-what because one of them won’t use the litter box.
But there I go, kvetching again.
Rebecca was right. Although I have items on the to-do list, I wasn’t doing them. “I don’t feel like it,” I’d tell myself. Or give myself some other lame excuse.
Instead of centering down and focusing on being productive, I’ve been wandering cyberspace, chasing rabbit trails, accomplishing nothing – and making myself more depressed.
Rebecca says I can regain my focus, motivation, and momentum by getting busy. And she suggested some activities:
- Cooking/baking for an elderly friend or neighbor;
- Putting together little packages for moms at a homeless shelter;
- Rearranging or redecorating a room in your home that you have wanted to do for a while;
- Start a new Pinterest board or web page;
- Make a craft and do a video of making the craft and post it online so others can try it out too.
Her suggestions go right along with what Paul wrote to the Philippian church: “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (Philippians 2:4 NLT).
Cabin fever? Focus on doing one item on your to-do list at a time and find ways to help others. Getting your eyes off yourself will pull you out of the pit of self-pity.
And it’s a sure cure for kvetching.
Take this winter day, O Lord, and fill it with Your peace. Show me someone I can help and make my grumbling cease. Amen.
Read and meditate on Philippians 2:1–18
© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.