Temptations of a stay at home mum: Grumbling

This blog post is part of a series on the particular temptations we face as stay at home mums, and how to flee from those temptations.

Since God is the Author and Ruler of all life, he alone has the authority to determine right and wrong. That’s why it’s so important to stick to the Bible’s terminology and definitions when it comes to sin.

Using different terms for what God calls sin can be our way of trying to soften it, and make it not sound so bad.

The other risk is that we end up adding “sins” that aren’t in the Bible. If God doesn’t put something in the category of “wrong”, then it’s not wrong. And if God calls something sin, then we’d better not continue to entertain it in our lives.

The good news is that in Christ, we are free from sin – we don’t have to submit to our sinful desires any more!

Let’s not make excuses, but rather examine our hearts honestly before the Lord. Let’s flee from temptation and put to death any sin we have been allowing to continue.

Other posts in this series:


Grumbling

It’s time to talk about grumbling…

Grumbling is when we whine, complain, and generally make our unhappiness known to everyone around us. It flows from a place of discontent.

In my experience as a stay at home mum, I’ve been most tempted to grumble and complain (either out loud, or in my heart) when:

  • Things don’t go my way
  • Life is just hard
  • The work is gross (hello, poo explosion!), or
  • I feel unappreciated

But grumbling is something God takes seriously.

Circumstances might be hard or unpleasant, but they don’t justify a grumbling attitude or complaining words.

Also note – “fixing” these circumstances won’t take away the temptation to grumble, because it’s a heart problem. You could have more, better and easier everything in life and I guarantee you could find something to grumble about, if this is an area you struggle with.

There is great hope, though, in fighting this temptation. First, let’s look at what is actually wrong with grumbling in the first place.

What is sinful grumbling and complaining?

Here’s what God says about this in His word:

  • “And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp.” Numbers 11:1
  • “We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.” 1 Corinthians 10:9-10
  • “Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labour in vain.” Philippians 2:14-16
  •  “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9
  • “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
  • “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13

While complaining and grumbling certainly have a negative effect on those around us – our kids, husband and friends – the main problem is that grumbling is a sin against God.

It expresses a lack of trust and satisfaction in Him. Complaining and grumbling (whether out loud or in our hearts) is the opposite of contentment.

What does grumbling look like as a stay a home mum?

Grumbling and complaining are such huge temptations for stay at home mums because this kind of attitude is very encouraged by the culture around us right now.

We’re told that to be “real” and “authentic” means to let loose about everything we’re finding hard at the moment. We’re so used to saying “just venting” and then proceeding to complain about everything that’s going wrong.

Grumbling as a stay at home mum can manifest in these ways:

  • Venting about things our children or husbands do or don’t do
  • Complaining to others about the amount of work or labour we have to do
  • Complaining to God about our circumstances
  • Berating our husbands and children about how much we do and/or how much they don’t
  • Completing all our daily tasks, but inwardly dwelling on how hard or unfair it is

Is all complaining and grumbling wrong?

There’s a difference between faithless grumbling and humble honesty with God. Faithless grumbling comes from a heart that doesn’t trust in God, that believes we know better (and would do better!) than Him, and is ungrateful for what He has provided in this situation.

Humble honesty before God, on the other hand, comes from a firm belief and trust in God’s sovereignty and goodness. We are able to pour out our hearts to God and tell him the truth about how we are feeling when things are hard because we trust that He wants our good and that whatever He chooses to give IS good.

Humble honesty is saying, “God, this is hard, please take it away – yet, not my will, but Yours.”

Honestly? There are frequently times in the life of a stay at home mum where things are just hard and wearying. In those moments, we can call out to God – we can say to Him, “Lord, this is hard! Refresh my soul and help me to glorify you in this moment!”

In those moments, we can call out to God – we can say to Him, “Lord, this is hard! Refresh my soul and help me to glorify you in this moment!”

See Psalms 13, 44 and 86 for examples of how to pour your heart out to God honestly without giving into sinful grumbling.

God is our loving heavenly Father and he wants to hear from us. Remember His promise – “for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose”.

Remember also that not everything that is for our good feels good. And not everything that hurts is bad. A loving Father gives both good gifts and painful discipline.

How to flee from the temptation to grumble

As I mentioned last week in my post about laziness, we fight against temptation by using the things God has given us. I’ll go over those again, and also list some particular strategies for fighting against the temptation to grumble.

In your fight against grumbling:

  • You have the Holy Spirit, who is continually working in your heart to convict you of sin, empower you to fight sin, remind you of God’s word, and as a guarantee that God will not abandon you.
  • You have Christian friends and the church. Tell your closest friends that this is a struggle for you and that you don’t want to grumble and complain any more. Give them permission to pull you up if they hear it!
  • You have God’s word. Memorise Scripture to help you remember God’s goodness and fight the temptation to grumble. Philippians 4:11-13 is a great passage to remind us that we can have contentment in all situations through Christ’s strength. And Psalm 103 reminds us not to forget all the benefits of belonging to God – great things to dwell on when you’re tempted to complain!
  • You have the testimony of other believers, especially believers throughout history and in the persecuted church who have remained faithful to God through the worst of circumstances. We like to watch the kids’ TV series Torchlighters which shows the stories of famous Christian missionaries and martyrs throughout church history. You can also pray for Christians who are currently suffering persecution through the Open Doors ministry.
  • You have spiritual blessings which are eternal and cannot be taken away (Ephesians 1:3-14).
  • You have access to God in prayer. At any time of day or night, whenever temptation strikes, you can pray and ask God to help you.
  • You have reasons to give thanks. It’s God’s will for us to be thankful in ALL circumstances, even the hard ones. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Sisters, in Christ, we are never without reason to rejoice – we ALWAYS have something to give thanks for, no matter what the circumstances of our lives are.

Trust in God – don’t grumble and complain. Be honest with Him when life is hard, but never doubt His goodness or His sovereignty.

Is grumbling a particular struggle of yours? What are you going to do to tackle it today?

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