Tuesday Topic: Relating, Venting, and Complaining

I know that between friends we all love to share “battle stories” about life overseas and even life in general for the sake of relating, and of making sure we’re “not the only one,” or even just for a healthy laugh. How do you distinguish relating or venting from sinful complaining? When do you usually end up regretting having said something? How do you effectively process through hard emotions and even frustrations without complaining and feeding discontent?

(If you would like to pose a “Tuesday Topic” question, please email it to formissionarymoms@gmail.com . Provide your blog address if you would like to be linked to, and specify also if you would like to remain anonymous. Thanks!)


6 Responses to “Tuesday Topic: Relating, Venting, and Complaining”

  1. 1 Becka February 15, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Man, I MISSED Tuesday Topics!

    I guess, in my mind, I cross the line whenever I take my vents outside my house. I’m not sure I feel that way, but my guess it has to do with the fact that everytime I do, it blows up in my face.

    Vent to my husband and I feel relived.
    Vent to my co-worker, and it comes back to slap me around a little.

    I think I am a bit of a “winger” as my Australian friends would say. I always do it for humorous effect, but I have been called a Drama Queen before (more than once in this term) and so, I am guessing that even if I perceive my griping as being silly and harmless, others do not.

    HMMMM. Something to work on. (and I thought I had already reached perfection)

  2. 2 Phyllis February 15, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Also, how do you stay real? I am a pretty positive person, but I’ve really struggled at times with people who avoid complaining so far that they won’t even admit that something could be a problem! There’s a balance between always “venting” and trying to pretend that everything is always happy-happy….

  3. 3 Shilo February 15, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Such a good question and such a delicate balance to strike. If I have a struggle, I try to share…”this is hard” but to bring it back to, “but I am so thankful for…”.
    God always works in powerful, mighty ways in my life through this crazy, temporal, changing lifestyle we lead…I know I wouldn’t be the woman I am now if it wouldn’t have been for having been thrown on Him so many times in utter dependence. It helps me to remember that it really is a privileged life, despite all the painful, difficult moments.
    Blessings, everyone!!

  4. 4 Addie February 15, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    This is a struggle for me as well in the U.S. I try to be aware of gossip too, especially with my husband. Venting is one thing, but when it turns to gossip about someone, divulging details or opinions or over-critical observations I have to examine my heart on things.

  5. 5 Ashley L. February 19, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    I love all of your thoughts. Phyllis, I totally agree with you on there needing to be a balance between complaining and faking it. My pastor talks sometimes about “happy clappy Christians” and the description totally cracks me up, but I definitely don’t want to be fake and thus make people think that to be a Christian it means that you can never struggle with anything.

    I’ve found that my complaining usually comes the more self-focused I am. I have been reading Ann Voskamp’s new book “One Thousand Blessings” (Anyone else reading it?? It’s so good.) and that has really convicted me about keeping my eyes open to the daily grace that God bestows upon me. This week was a week of high highs and low lows and I found that the lowest lows were not so much because of my circumstances but more because I was pitying myself. I guess this is a long ramble to say that I see that I am less likely to complain unnecessarily the more I am focused on Christ and practice thankfulness, which also helps make sure I save my venting, etc, for the times when it really is something that I need to talk through with someone for the sake of moving forward and not dwelling upon it. I definitely am prone to giving into the momentary gratification that I receive from complaining, only to receive the longer lasting consequence of discontent.

  6. 6 Phyllis February 20, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Yes! I’m reading 1000 Gifts now, too!

    Also, I’ve found what Shilo says to be exactly what I need to do. Instead of not admitting that there’s a problem, I can say (without even really complaining), “Yes, I’ve been having a hard time with [whatever], but God has been so good in [this specific way].”

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