Whining Steals Joy

Sometimes our prayers aren’t prayers at all–they’re just whining sessions. When we whine, our joy dissipates, and things only get worse. Whining steals joy! In this post we are going to discuss how to reverse this trend and get our mommy joy back!

We’re currently in a series of talks from my book, Glorious Mothering, which I wrote a few years back. Our topic is taken from the chapter on the five ways our joy is stolen and how to overcome them.

There is a principle here that is very important to understand:

Saying something out loud makes it more significant.

What we say affects how we feel about something, and in turn can affect our actions and reactions.

For instance, you meet a friend on a playdate. She’s had a bad day, or bad year, or bad life, so she starts in on all the negatives:

  • Her husband
  • Her parents
  • Her kids

And on and on…

You may be having a banner day–everyone is healthy, your husband is dazzling, the house is clean and functioning splendidly. But the dark cloud hanging over this dear lady is so heavy it starts hanging over you.

Then, these few negatives in your life come to the surface, and you find yourself chiming in–and those tiny things start looking bigger and bigger.

You came to the park lighter than air, now you are like a lode stone to everyone you meet. Your poor husband and children have to put up with your bad attitude as you walk through the house moaning and groaning.

As another example, consider a coach before an important game. When he gives his speech, what does he say? Does he reiterate their failures and the superiority of the opponents? Or, does he showcase their strengths and give them hope? Some coaches even have their teams chant something positive, like “We’re the team that’s on the top, we keep going never stop!”

And here’s the best example yet–from the Bible.

We are talking here about the 12 spies who went into the promised land to spy it out and bring back a report. They all saw and experienced the same things, but ten of them whined and complained about the negatives. Because of this whining and complaining, all of the people, even the grown men, had an awful reaction:

Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night.

Numbers 14:1

The words of these ten men were so impacting they affected over a million people. The Bible says they MURMURED–they listed all of their complaints until their emotions were stirred enough that they wanted to get rid of Moses and appoint a leader that would take them back to Egypt!

Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained. “Why is the LORD taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!”

Numbers 14:2-4

God hates murmuring. He was going to get rid of the whiners and replace them.

On the other hand, faith pleases God (and it increases our joy).

How do we gain faith? By what we hear.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Romans 10:17

And when we speak out faith, we hear it, and it bolsters us up so we believe, and when we believe, God can do mighty works.

This is what God says about Caleb, who spoke his faith out loud:

But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.

Joshua 14:24

Caleb had a “different spirit.” He chose to believe God; he chose to look at the positives instead of the negatives, and he spoke those positives out instead of the negatives.

The consequences were this:

  • The Murmurers: Fell in the desert and never got to live in the promised land.
  • Joshua: Became Moses’ successor and led the people into the promised land.
  • Caleb: Entered the promised land and inherited the very area he had spied out.

When we choose to speak and walk in faith, we receive the Promise–we receive our Mommy Joy.

Does this mean we pretend everything is rosy and ignore issues in our lives?

No. It means we face those issues fearlessly.

Joshua and Caleb didn’t just float into the promised land. They had to fight right along with the rest of the Israelites. But they did it with faith.

We might have mounds of dirty dishes, piles of laundry, a child who won’t stop sucking his thumb, and more month than money. These situations are real, and they are a threat to our joy. We need to “strengthen our arms for the task” and tackle each one by faith.

Here’s an exercise to aid in application:

Every time your mind turns to a negative, make a note of it. Write it down or put it into your phone.

Then, in a quiet moment, prayerfully find a faith-filled scripture to counter that negative. Then personalize it so that it speaks directly into your life.


Negative: “We don’t have enough money”

Scripture answer:

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4


“As I delight myself in the Lord, He will give me the desires of my heart.”

Another great scripture is:

The LORD will perfect that which concerns me;

Psalm 138:8a

Take these scripture personalizations, and every time negativity wants to push your mind into the ditch, kick it with God’s positivity (and try to do it out loud).

Sometimes I just say, “Jesus is Lord!” and negativity runs away whimpering!

NOTE: Don’t be concerned or discouraged if your emotions don’t line up with your declarations. Our emotions are not the boss, the Spirit is. If you persevere, eventually your emotions will get on board and you will not be able to keep your joy down.

You won’t have to try to be “nice” or happy, it will be an automatic byproduct of your bubbly spirit–hallelujah!

For more on this subject, check out this podcast and/or video I’ve created in these places:

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Praying or Whining?

5 thoughts on “Whining Steals Joy”

  1. Hi, I love your website! Very encouraging and Biblical. This particular entry has given me some things to think about as I attempt to balance sincerely pouring my heart out before the Lord with doing all things without murmurings and disputings. I think the key is whether we tell Him our troubles from a posture of thankfulness and trust! —or not.

    I wanted to give you a heads up that you (accidentally I imagine) used the incorrect book of the Bible in your quotation references. It says Joshua but you meant Numbers. Easy to get confused with Joshua being one of the main characters in the story, but I thought I’d better let you know in case someone unfamiliar with Scripture encountered this post and wanted to look the story up, but couldn’t find it!

    Another note just to think on theologically- while your point about what we say to ourselves stands, I actually believe the Scripture that says “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” refers to THE Word of God, Christ Himself (see John 1:1-18, I John 1:1-4, and Revelation 19:13.) He is the One Who speaks and we live (John 5.) It really doesn’t change anything about your post, but I just think it’s so beautiful to think on Him speaking life and faith into us, giving us ears to hear, that I thought I’d share! That’s why the passage there in Romans says “But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.” There are places where the written words of God have not gone, but there is no place where the Word of God Himself cannot reach His people- His lifegiving voice goes to the ends of the world; and to His people made alive by His Spirit, whom He has given the gift of faith and ears to hear (the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, but His Spirit dwells in His chosen people as He makes them alive and thus reveals His things to them, I Cor 2) even the heavens themselves declare His gospel story (Psalm 19, what that passage in Romans is quoting.) I’m really underselling it because I don’t have time to go into all the details at the moment, nor the eloquence to express it even with all the time in the world, but I hope you can catch the facet of the unsearchable riches of Christ I’m trying to magnify here and will enjoy a meditation on it yourself!

    • Thanks for the heads up! I never realized it could be THE Word! That is a great revelation! I’ve been ill for a few weeks so it’s been hard for me to find the energy to be online, sorry for taking so much time to get back to you 🙂


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