When I worked in corporate America, I learned that there was one key element to fitting in. You had to develop your ability to complain in the break room.
Commiseration was a key point of solidarity. Over warmed up Hot Pockets, I discovered that the degree to which you hated your job was equivalent to the number of years in the same department.
In my 5 years on the job, I did find some solace in commiseration. At first it was a way to realize that I wasn’t alone. I needed to know that I wasn’t the only one frustrated with how the company did business in certain areas. But then it just became a way to blow off steam.
After an especially heated conversation with a customer or employee in another department, complaining was a cathartic exercise. It was a temporary release of frustration to completely berate the object of my vexation without actually having to confront the issue.
Five years later when I had another job opportunity, I handed in my letter of resignation faster than the drip coffee could percolate.
Changing Your Mind
I see a parallel of my work situation in the church. I realize that there are a lot of problems in the church. It’s easy to complain about them. There’s a temptation to commiserate with others in the blog world as we feast on DiGiorno’s and disappointment.
At first it feels comforting. We need to feel like we’re not alone with what we’re feeling. We need to know that we’re not crazy. We need to know that maybe someone else is feeling frustrated too.
But we can’t stay there either. Because just like my fellow workers, the longer you stay in that job, the more you’re going to resent it. Eventually you’ll find something else and repeat the cycle.
But until we change our mind about the situation, the dissatisfaction is always going to catch up with us. One of my favorite quotes from Bill Johnson says:
The grass is always greener where you water it.
I know there are a lot of problems in the church. But I want to be part of the solution. I don’t want to be stuck in the break room of life, complaining about how much it sucks. I want to find creative ways to speak life into what I love.
If I sow a lifestyle of cynicism, disappointment and doubt, I can’t expect to reap hope, healing and resolve.
I realize that my commitment to God and His church is so much more important than any job I’ve ever had. So when I find a problem, I’m committed to seeking the truth and finding how to make it better. Because complaining about where I am or running away to somewhere else will never change anything. And I don’t plan on staying anywhere that isn’t changing and progressing.
How do you address the problems in the church?
Do you think it’s important to criticize, find solutions or both?