Welcome to Day of 1 of NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER 2019! (Yes, we’re at it again!)
To be perfectly honest, I had been thinking about NOT doing NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER (NCN) this year. There were several reasons: we’ve got a full plate right now in this season of our lives, it’s been a bit since I blogged on that regular a basis (see season reason #1), and I really wasn’t sure anyone else would care if I let it slide. Was I pushing this thing further than it needed to go? Maybe it was time to drop this public challenge and just make it a private one. I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking on it, you understand. It was more of a passing thought that led me to a “wait and see where you are then” resolution…
…right up until I started hearing from a few friends. It seems I’m not the only one who recognizes the need to stop what has become the “norm” for our society and make a difference the only way we truly can: one person at a time, starting with ourselves.
So! Here we are! At the very beginning of another NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER! While the goal for this month is to eliminate complaining from our own lives and, perhaps, to influence those around us to do the same, I want to suggest a secondary theme for this year’s observance, as well. It is the idea of “Progress, not Perfection.”
I lose count of the people who tell me that they didn’t make it past the first day every year. My response is always the same: “That’s fine. Try it again tomorrow.” I always say that because sometimes the results of doing something that’s actually GOOD FOR US isn’t always what we think it will be. I am the perfect illustration of that and, perhaps you are, too.
I’ve been naturally strong my whole life. It wasn’t something I ever truly had to work for; it was the result of great genetics and God’s own good pleasure. Over the last couple of years, however, I noticed that my strength wasn’t as consistent as it had been. I wasn’t worried. I was still plenty strong and had energy–until that started slipping, as well. Hmmmmm…well, that’s different. Maybe it’s just part of getting older. Yep, that’s probably it. That, and stress…lots and lots of stress. My doctors agreed and I just tried to rest a little more.
It didn’t help. Not only was I feeling weaker, I was getting larger and heavier than I had ever been and my body was becoming more susceptible to injury. Again, the doctor said it was just a normal part of aging, but what she didn’t know was how much I no longer felt like me. The stress was piling up and I needed an outlet. I prayed about it. I blogged about it. I thought about it. I talked to friends about it. None of that helped ME feel any better about it, but I decided that I needed to do something just for me. I decided to get out and walk as a way to recover from a back injury.
When I was growing up, my mother’s family would gather regularly and after lunch, most of the girl-cousins would get out and go for a walk. It was always a sweet time of fellowship among us. Later, I had walked with friends for improving my fitness levels and it was a great benefit in losing some excess weight. I set out to walk with those two things in mind. I didn’t push. I just decided to stroll and remember. That led to strolling and thanking God for such great memories, then thanking Him for my family and friends, and on thanking Him for all of the other blessings I have received. The thanksgiving led to prayers for specific needs that I knew about and, almost immediately, my walk became one of the highlights of my day.
Over the months I have gradually increased the speed and the length of my strolls with God, but the prayer time has remained a constant unless He sent me a neighbor to share my time. Even then, I was often praying for them. My already active prayer life was being taken to a new level! Definitely an unexpected result of deciding to start walking!
Another unexpected result was that, almost immediately, I gained 18 pounds. Yes. You read that right. I wasn’t getting bigger, I was just getting heavier–because muscle weighs more than fat. While I know that in my head, I was still discouraged about that number for awhile. Some days I still am. For awhile the weight gain settled down, but it didn’t drop off right away. It just STAYED. If I hadn’t also been aware that I was also becoming stronger, having more energy and greater endurance, and didn’t huff and puff so much coming up that slight hill…well, I think you see where I’m going. Six months later, I’ve lost about 12 pounds–something that I actually discovered just this morning because I had refused to get back on the scale for awhile! (HA! Like that made a difference!) My clothes fit a little differently now and I’m grateful for all of the positives because they literally outweigh the overall weight gain for me. This is a process. It will take time for me to get where I’m going. The very fact that I apparently NEEDED about 18 pounds of muscle and the improved tone from the walking and the stretching, well, that actually makes me grateful for this unexpected result. My strength and energy are returning and increasing! THAT is worth celebrating!
I’m sharing all of that to say this: NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER can be celebrated even if you (or I!) can’t do it perfectly, even if no one around us seems to notice or join us in our efforts, even if we’re under a tremendous load of stress, and even if it doesn’t turn out to be what we expect it to be. The point is this: The goal is to use this month to start making a difference the only way we truly can: one person at a time, starting with ourselves.
While this is definitely a personal challenge, be sure to invite your friends and relatives, your coworkers, and fellow adventurers into the unusual idea of a trying to go a whole month without complaining! Whether or not they join us, if we work this right, we’ll become a more positive influence, make the world right where we live a better place to be, and, hopefully, glorify God in the process.
Who knows what else we’ll gain in the process! (grin!)
Remember: Progress, not Perfection. You can do this! WE can do this. Give it a go–even if you have to go it alone where you are for awhile! This effort is contagious and it WILL pay off in ways we may never even see this side of eternity.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:20 (CSB)
Grace and Peace–and Happy NCN 2019!!!