What changes faster than a college freshman’s major? My fitness goals. Last summer I ran every morning before the sun could bombard Tallahassee with unbearable heat. I did a mixture of sprints on the local track to shrink my timed mile and a half. It started out at 11:50, but by the end of the summer, I had it under 10:30. In between now and then, my goals shifted more than once. Right now my goal is to lift heavier. At the gym, I could even recognize a few guys in the weight room and feel brave enough to give a “bro” nod.
What changes faster than my fitness goals? The things people complain about. I swear the constant gripes I hear from people around me stream from a never-ending river. The barista complains about her early morning shift. The professor complains that no one comes to class. The students complain that they have class. The news anchors complain, the writers for the Wall Street Journal complain, and even the cats complain when they meow in the wee hours of the morning. It seems inevitable, there's always something to grumble about. Plus, being surrounded by disgruntled people will only spread this incessant whining. Are we pigs? No, we should stop acting like pigs.
If you complain about trivial things, then how will you face real trouble? Will you just collapse like a damsel in distress? The Bible tells me to “Share in the suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the recruiter” (2 Timothy 1: 4-5). God places you in situations for a reason. We face mountains if it’s His will. But we don't just complain about the big mountains. We complain about everything if it's unsatisfying. What now? Change your mindset.
Not everyone has the mind of a soldier. But, you don’t need to be a soldier to think like one. I’m sure walking in the desert with over a hundred pounds of gear on their backs gives soldiers a reason to complain. Yet, that’s part of their job. For you students out there, your job is to go to class, study for the test, write the papers. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24). Let God’s word change your mindset. Do the work you were called to do without complaining. Have the mindset of a soldier who is called to complete a mission. Then you will be ready to persevere and embrace the circumstances you find yourself in.
Today the news will complain about the cold weather, and tomorrow it will be too hot for them. You may think that girl sitting behind you in the lecture hall will stop complaining about her roommate once class begins, she won't. Don't let the complaining disease spread. Let God's message invade your thoughts and change your mindset. Persevere through the challenges you face, big or small. Don't complain. Do the work you were called to do.