Nobody Likes a Whiner

I hate whining. I frequently say, "Whining doesn't change my mind." Other quotes come to mind too. "Nobody likes a whiner."

I don't want to be a whiner. Of course, I was raised in a no-whining environment. Then, as a young ballet dancer, whining still had no place. There were often things to whine about- like bloody toes, kinked muscles, pinched nerves, sprained ankles, broken bones; but, honestly, most of the time we taped that stuff up, iced until the last minute, and got on with the show. If you whined about things, there was a ready solution- she's called an understudy! Self-care, while preached, was rarely practiced very well- if at all. "Grin and bear it" pretty well entrenched itself in my life philosophy.

Now let's add another layer. Bear with me because this is about to get theological, and I'm going to use a lot of Christianese. My heart has twisted some things around- it is, after all, "deceitful above all things." The twisting has gone something like this: If God is in control and has good plans for my life, then I should be able to make it through almost anything without despair. The twisting continues: being sad about how something turns out is simply discontent. And then more: I should be able to make it through anything with a fantastic attitude and ability to always keep my eye trained on God's transcendent plan. I absolutely believe that a lot of those previous few sentences is true. But it doesn't sound very grace-full, does it, to leave out some acknowledgement that things here can really suck.

It doesn't sound like what I say to ANYONE aside from myself. I tell people that God is sad about the tragic things that happen in the world. I tell them that it hurts him that they were abused; that is NOT how he wanted it to go. Yet, when it comes to my own baggage and issues and challenges, I imagine God looking down at me saying, like a parent with a bar of soap or bitter medicine, "this is for your own good." Now, God has said that he uses difficulties to test us and discipline us- and to do so out of love like a good father. He has also said that he has good plans for us- plans to give us hope and a future. He has said through Paul that we can consider our trials light and momentary compared to the riches in store. Paul also wrote that he learned the secret to being content in any and every circumstance and that some things are left as thorns in our sides to show the power of God. I took all that stuff to mean: YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO DEAL, LADY! That's not what the Holy Spirit was going for, if I may be so bold as to say that. The whole reason we need the gospel (the GOOD news) is that there is, has been, and (not forever!) will be a whole steaming pile of BAD news. The only reason we can have any hope that any of these things God said are true is that he gave us Jesus (who means mercy, grace, and forgiveness to all who believe.)

Gosh, I didn't mean to get off on a tangent about Jesus and how wonderful he is, but that is just what happens when you believe he is the key to life, the universe, and everything.

Back to whining. When I take Jesus and total reliance on him out of the equation, even just on accident and without knowing, then the Bible's words on struggle and trouble change from being sweet encouragement to being impossibly high, burdensome standards. Honesty about struggle and trial become WHINING.

Then there's the fact that someone always has it worse. No one in my family is dying. None of my loved ones are wrongly imprisoned. I don't have any terminal diseases. (Chronic? well, only 4.. but we'll get to that... maybe). My husband has a great, well-paying job. He loves me, is faithful, and encourages me to pursue my interests and dreams.

This is the type of analysis I have been conducting on my life, heart, and history in order to answer these questions: Why am I so loathe to be needy? Why is it so hard to talk about how crappy things have been?

I am a people person. I used to be a bright, fun, cheery person. I was never anxious or anything remotely resembling depressed. I was textbook plucky. I know that my friends and family are all thinking, "awh, you still are!" But, people, you don't know the half of it. Unless of course you were in my life before about 2002, then, yeah, you probably know. But even with what happened in 2002 (see previous post), Brendan and I (and our children) have just completed the most difficult year of our lives to date. I feel like SUCH a different person standing on this side of it. Here's where knowing all that stuff about God and his plans is really beautiful. I can be confident that at my core, different as I may feel, good things are happening. He is going to be faithful to complete work in me. But, gosh, it is so hard getting used to this different skin. I need to finally write about it all. I just did a whole post on most of the reasons I don't want to. There are a few more too: it's tiring! it's difficult for me to think through! and I don't spend much time out of my bed unless it's kid awake time. It will be good to do it though. There's a lot of tangled stuff in my head that needs to get sorted, and I do want you to know what it's been like- what it is still like. Oh, how I want you to know.

I just had to purge all this first. Brendan is out of town, so maybe tomorrow I can get working on the meat of it all.

I'll try not to be too whiney ;)

Hello, I'm Jessica. I am a sick person.

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