Beliefnet

Adapted from A TRAVEL GUIDE TO LIFE. Copyright c 2014 by Anthony DeStefano. All rights reserved.

If you’re anything like me, you probably get a lot of pleasure from whining and moaning and complaining. It just seems to be a common human trait. But it’s time to stop—right this very second! If you’re ever going to solve your problems—and I don’t care what those problems are—the first thing you have to do is get off your pity-pot! Remember that scene from The Godfather—when the Hollywood singer goes to Don Corleone and starts crying to him about all the terrible things that are happening in his life? He has no money. His marriage is breaking up. He can’t get a job in the movies.

And all he can do is whimper and weep like a little girl and ask over and over, “What am I gonna do?”

And do you remember the Godfather’s response? Instead of sympathizing with him, he stands up suddenly, grabs him by his jacket, starts shaking him and yells at the top of his lungs: “You can stop crying and ACT LIKE A MAN!” Well, it’s time for you and me to follow that same advice! When you really want to take control of your life and turn things around, there’s absolutely no place for self-pity or complaining. Even if life has dealt you a bad hand and you deserve to complain, it’s still useless. It doesn’t help you. Life is too short. It goes by in a flash. You just can’t spend a lot of your time moaning. You have to take ownership. You have to take responsibility. You have to wake up and DO something.

I’m not trying to be cruel here. My point isn’t to make you feel guilty. It’s to make you get honest. Remember, it’s not just you I’m saying this to. It’s me too. It’s everyone—whether you’re old or young, rich or poor, good or bad. We’re all a bunch of crybabies! Even some of the greatest saints in history have been guilty of complaining too much. Take the great St Paul, for instance. In one of his letters he talks about how God had given him some kind of “thorn” in his flesh to “torment” him and keep him humble. He never says exactly what the affliction was—it could have been anything: a bad temper, a physical problem, a spiritual temptation, who knows? —but he does say that he begged God three times to take it away.

Three times. He basically did what I was just describing a moment ago—he whined and complained to God. But do you know what God said? He didn’t sympathize with him in any way.

No, He said: Enough! “My grace is sufficient for you—my power is made perfect in weakness.”

In other words, God essentially told St Paul to shut up—to stop complaining! And it’s the same for us. We’ve got to remember that God has the same exact message for you and I that he had for St Paul. Enough! “My grace is sufficient!” So you’re down and out and can’t take it anymore? You’re tired of problems. You’re tired of bills. You’re tired of fighting with your spouse and with your kids. You’re tired of being misunderstood. You’re at the end of your rope. You want to just crawl up into bed, pull the covers over your head and sleep for a hundred years.

“Enough?” God says.

“My grace is sufficient."

Now that you’re weak and exhausted and feel you have nothing left—now we can start. Now I can finally begin helping you in a serious way.” “But no,” you say! “My family is falling apart. I just lost my job. I’m filing for bankruptcy. I’m embroiled in a huge scandal”—whatever it is. “

Enough!” God says. “My Grace is sufficient!” “But I’m grieving,” you say. I just lost someone I loved very much and I can’t even get myself to breathe, much less function.”

Well, we can all understand that. If someone close to you has died, you need to grieve. You need to grieve as long as it takes. You need to cry to the very end of your tears. And anyone who tells you differently should really mind his own business. But eventually, when you’re ready to pull down the covers and get out of bed again and venture back into the world, the same message still applies to you.

“My Grace is sufficient.”

That isn’t being harsh. It’s being real. Where there’s life, there’s hope! If you’re breathing right now, then it’s still possible for you to turn things around. If your heart is still beating, there’s still time to change your life for the better. So whether you take the advice of God the Father, or The Godfather—please, for just a little while, take a vacation from complaining. For the next few days, even if you don’t feel like it, try your best to get off your pity-pot, put on your big girl panties, pull up by the bootstraps, and act like a man!

Remember—“My Grace is Sufficient.”

From the Hachette book, A Travel Guide to Life

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