(Image courtesy of Charles Schultz, Peanuts.)

I have come to realization that I complain a lot more than I would like to think.  Complaining is so easy to do.  But why?  Why is it so much easier to complain than stay upbeat and positive?  How does one look at the glass half-full and not half-empty?

Here are three simple and Biblical ways to stop the habit of complaining.

1. Shut up!

Complaints only happen during communication.  Think about it: we only complain when we talk or write to somebody - or sometimes even ourselves.  Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media are breeding grounds for complaining, whining, and slandering.  The next time you feel yourself giving into the temptation of complaining, try shutting your mouth or shutting down the computer.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in our daily drama that we just start spouting off the first emotions that come to us.  Usually, when we are focused on our own situations, our feelings boil to the surface in the form of complaints.  When we force ourselves to be quiet, we can catch our breath, begin to think clearly, and make rational decisions.  You have the choice to be a Negative Nancy or a Positive Paul (or Pauline, if you prefer).

Psalm 26:1 says, "For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation."  The next time you feel like complaining, try being quiet and allowing God time to save you from your negativity.

2. Look up!

After we shut up, we need to fill the silence with good thoughts to counteract the effects of the bad.  Think of it like medicine for the soul.  We need something good in our minds to purge the bad out of our thoughts.  Guess what?  You need not look any further than up!

Corrie Ten Boom, author of The Hiding Place, once wrote, "If you look at the world you'll be distressed.  If you look within, you'll be depressed.  If you look to God, you'll be at rest."  Corrie had figured out a great secret of this life: that Jesus is the cure to all our diseases, including the disease of complaining.  He is the perfect medicine to give our minds' rest from the negativity that so often entangles us.

When you shut up and look up, you will find rest, hope, and joy to face the negative emotions rising up inside of you.

3. Fill up!

After we have shut up and looked up, it's time to fill up!  Think about it like this: If you ate a lot of junk food right before supper.  I'm not talking about a little piece of cake with a dabble of ice cream.  I'm talking about as much cake, ice cream, candy, and pop (also known as soda) as you could possibly fit in your stomach.  Undoubtedly, you would feel sick and sluggish - and definitely not hungry for supper!  To fill our bodies with so much trash is ridiculous (at least, I hope!).  So why fill our minds with negative thoughts, complaints, and cynicism?  All those things will do is weigh our minds down and cause dissatisfaction.

What we really need is to fill our minds with wholesome thoughts.  I'm not huge into the "think positive" movement (I prefer to think realistically), but I do think there are some great things we can gain from thinking positively.  If we "fill up" our minds with positive, encouraging thoughts and hang out with people who do the same, our minds will be so filled up with good things that we won't have any room left for negative complaints.

Paul says in Philippians 4:8 that we should think about things that are true, right, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, and praiseworthy.  When we fill our minds with those things, we can't go wrong!

All in all, complaining is such a normal thing that we - myself included - do it without even thinking about it.  We complain about our government leaders, the weather, our job, the economy, the immorality we see daily, and, well, just about anything.

Paul writes in Philippians 2:14 that we should, "Do everything without complaining...."  Furthermore, Jesus says in Luke 6:45: "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man man brings things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."  Fill up your heart, therefore, with good things and you will speak good things.

I know I need to practice this.  Do you?

"If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all" (Thumper, from Walt Disney's Bambi).