How Complaining Affects Your Health and Hinders Your Blessings
We all complain from time to time. We may go on and on mumbling to ourselves or telling others what is not going right in our lives as we grumble, “Can you believe this is happening?” or “I can’t handle this mess anymore!” We may find ourselves relentlessly repeating matters and conversations from the other day that didn’t go well and then tacking on a smug, “Well, bless ‘em anyway.” Unfortunately, that doesn’t truly negate all the complaining we just did. All these difficult situations in our lives may be true, but did you know that speaking out and repeating what we are not happy about does not improve anything? Grumbling and complaining works to hinder your relationship with God and the blessings He wants to put in your life. Today, let’s explore the question, “What is complaining and how can it negatively affect your health and blessings from God?” With this understanding we will be able to effectively overcome this destructive pattern and set ourselves up to walk in faith and trust in God.
Conversing about the negative things in your life might seem therapeutic or even like it is opening a much-needed release valve. However, have you noticed after speaking out negatively, you only feel better for a moment? You still end up where you began, feeling icky and overwhelmed by the emotional heaviness of the situation.
Complaining leads to blaming God
Let’s take a lesson on complaining from the Israelites. Soon after God miraculously delivered the Israelites from the oppression of the Egyptians, the Israelites find themselves hangry* and complaining. Having lost sight of the recent exhibit of God’s mighty hand in their lives, they moaned that they would rather be dead in Egypt. At least their hunger was satisfied there, and they could have their needs easily met by their own means.
And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill the whole assembly with hunger. Exodus 16:3
God heard the murmurings and complaints of the Israelites. They thought they were justifiably complaining about the lack of physical provision from their leaders. Yet Moses reprimanded them and told them that they were, indeed, complaining against God Himself.
…The LORD hears your murmurings which you murmur against him: and what are we? Your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD. Exodus 16:8
God hears our complaining, and no matter what we complain about, we are, in essence, complaining against Him! Ouch! That is not fruitful or profitable for us; it overthrows our faith!
What is complaining really?
When we murmur, complain, and grumble, we are spending our precious time and energy highlighting and focusing on what is not going well. It is okay to be aware of what is not working well in our lives so we can troubleshoot and pray through it. But when we join the side of the negativity, there is often an undertone of blame. That is the essence of what complaining is.
Even if you are just blaming yourself, an attitude of blame can be detrimental. Blame tricks us. It makes us feel that we are taking action, but it actually leaves us without a place to take any responsibility in a situation, and forward progress is impeded.
Do the thoughts we choose have consequences?
We get to choose what thoughts we continually think about and what words we repeatedly speak out. We may have been trained to focus on the negative and think that it is helpful to vent about the difficulties in our lives. But is it beneficial? The Bible says it is not to your advantage to complain, and science unanimously agrees. 1 Corinthians 10:10 reminds us that the Israelites complained and were destroyed by the enemy.
Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 1 Corinthians 10:10
Complaining and your health
Medical science has discovered that complaining raises the level of the stress hormone, cortisol. When you have higher cortisol levels, your immune system wears down over time, which can leave you more susceptible to sickness and disease. Consistent complaining contributes to stress, increases anxiety and depression, affects your sleep and eating habits, and may lead to more serious health issues down the road.
Science explains that stress can also damage neurons in the hippocampus, which is the area in your brain used for problem-solving. Due to how stress impairs the hippocampus, complaining can keep you from being able to solve the problems you are complaining about!1
The negative effects of complaining on your blessings from God
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. Jeremiah 17:7
The Scriptures say that you will be blessed when you trust in God. Yet, the act of complaining is the opposite of trusting God. The enemy knows if he can get you to complain and not trust God, then he can decrease the flow of God’s blessings in your life.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6
How to line yourself up for blessings
Complaining does not please God, but faith does. He does not reward complaining; He rewards faith and trust! If you wonder why you do not perceive God’s blessings in your life like you are hoping for, it could be because your complaints squelch your faith. It is your faith that God rewards or blesses.
Practice eradicating complaining from your heart and your lips, and you will soon notice you feel better in your spirit, soul, and body! You don’t have to do it on your own. Ask God to help you recognize those old, familiar patterns of thought and speech so that you can take them captive. Less complaining will boost your health and bump up your blessings.
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV
How to overcome complaining
Repent for complaining and for blaming God.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 KJV
Here’s an example of what you might pray:
Father, I recognize that my complaining is a sin and is dishonoring to you. I ask for your forgiveness, and I receive your forgiveness. I choose today to begin afresh in learning to be thankful in all things and to trust you with my heart and my life.
Receive His forgiveness.
11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, [so] great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, [so] far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:11-12 KJV
Practice trusting Him.
5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV
Renew your mind in Christ by casting down your complaints and choosing to trust God.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2 KJV
When you don’t know what to do, ask for wisdom.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:5 KJV
Give thanks to God!
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV
Pastor Adrienne Shales
Read more related to this topic:
Ending the Blame Game – Blaming is a fruit of complaining. Learn how to deal with blame and the benefits that will result from overcoming it.
What Does the Bible Say About Trusting God? – When you are learning how to overcome complaining, it’s important to replace it with God’s ways. Learn the Biblical keys to trusting God.
How to Overcome Fear, Stress, and Anxiety in Your Life – Complaining often comes as a result of fear, stress, or anxiety. Learn how to target these and overcome them in your life.
How to Be Restored to the Father’s Love – Fear comes as a result of separation from love. Learn how to be restored to the love of Father God and find healing in your heart so that you can learn to trust Him again.