Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sometimes you've got to cowboy up

You can find a lot to complain about in the Army, especially if you are deployed to the Middle East. I must confess that I have found a thing or two to complain about. Most of the time, I try to focus on the small comforts that are available to me. I know that there are soldiers who are suffering greater hardships than I.

There are others, however, who are so negative that their lives are a never-ending song of woe. They frequently repeat their litany of all the wrongs, real and imagined, that they have suffered in the hands of the Army. While most people will steer clear of these grumblers, others will gathers around and add their voices to the chorus of complaints.

Grumbling should not be a part of a Christian’s life. “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:14 - 15 (NKJ)

A bad attitude can be contagious and detrimental to the morale of those around you. In the Army it can lead to punishment; at work it can lead to dismissal; at home it can lead to divorce. Moreover, bitterness can blind us to small blessings we can enjoy in spite of difficult circumstances.

Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, said that through all his suffering, anguish and loss he learned that, in the end, the only thing a person can control is his attitude to a given situation. The Apostle Paul knew suffering, too: prison, 39 lashes (five times), beaten with rods (three times), stoned, shipwrecked (three times), a night and a day in the open sea, constantly on the move. He knew hunger, thirst, cold, danger and betrayal. (1 Corinthians 11:23-27) Yet Paul said, “…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Philippians 4:11(NIV)

When I face another 130+ degree day, an extra shift, sandstorms, or some other unexpected hardship, I will think of Paul’s words and strive to be content.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV)

I’m not taking about a rose-colored glasses, glass is half full type of optimism. It’s just that sometimes you have to cowboy up.

No comments: