Back at the beginning of the year, one of my biggest goals was to quit complaining. Now, I realize some don’t like to do New Year’s goals, and that’s fine! But I personally LOVE them; I think they are a fantastic way to begin the new year; so full of hope! So I decided to try a 40-day complaining fast, to see if I could break the destructive habit of complaining, and see if there were any real results from the fast.
The short answer:
It kind of changed my life.
The long answer:
Okay, here I go.
The very first day of the fast, something quite intriguing happened. It’s as if each time I complained or was tempted to complain, the situation would get “highlighted” in my head (I know, weird) and it would make me realize what I was doing. It was so neat. I really felt so victorious in those first few days, fighting a new battle and feeling the effects of a life where complaining is turned into gratitude. I could physically feel myself relaxing and my mood brightening.
It became like a fun game: let’s see how we can be thankful for this situation! I didn’t always feel immediate effects or physical effects from the lack of complaining; it was kind of a step in faith to practice gratitude and hope/know that it was doing my body, mind, and spirit good. And by the way, I am totally okay with that! I love to practice faith. The Bible says the just live by faith – it’s good for us!
I have a Facebook group for The 40-Day Complaining Fast – and we were really encouraging one another, posting faith-building, funny, and grateful memes. If you are trying to practice more gratitude in your life and want to join, request to be added to our group! It’s a totally positive and uplifting place.
But then, something happened. Our family began a strict, healing diet known as the GAPS Diet, about three weeks after the fast began. All of a sudden, my body was losing the sugar it was addicted to and detoxing and just so not liking life. It was so difficult, even though it was my choice to begin the diet. The fast from complaining went completely out the window. I mean, I think I hurled it out the window in an achy tantrum. There was no way I could fathom not complaining. My existence for the next four months or so was one huge COMPLAINT.
Strange, huh? I would often sit and ponder why I would start a fast like this and feel so victorious, only to completely fall off the wagon (HARD) only a few weeks later. What was the point? I am positive any gains from those first three weeks were lost due to the massive amount of griping I did. Every movement I made was a gripe. (But, I’m really selling the diet for you, right?)
I learned some important lessons during this rough time, namely this: I should never judge a person for complaining or think that I have complaining conquered in my life. It’s only by God’s grace that I can get out of the bed in the morning, by His grace that I can even attempt a complaining fast, and by His grace I can choose to make an act of my will to stop a complaint. And it’s not that His grace wasn’t there during the hard times, I just know I wasn’t choosing to walk in it. I wouldn’t even think about it at times.
Now that we are out of the hardest part of the GAPS diet and I am feeling much, much better, I haven’t told anyone really, but I have decided to revisit the fast. The point of the fast, originally, was to try to cut complaining/reverse it with gratitude for 40 days, in the hopes that a new habit would be formed, and would continue on indefinitely. (You can read more about the fast and the positive effects of gratitude here.)
Yeah, life happened, but I am not counting it a failure. Did you fall off the complaining wagon as well? The fabulous thing is, we can just pick up right where we left off!
So here’s to picking up the pieces and trying again. Any step toward gratitude is a step in the right direction, and I know I can only take it one step at a time. We really do have so much to be thankful for – sometimes it’s just easier to do than other times. Either way, be blessed, and know this: I am thankful for YOU! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
2 thoughts on “40 Day Complaining Fast: Revisited”
Just found you and this could not have come at a better time! I was just appologizing to co-workers yesterday for my excessive complaining lately. I will take on your challenge!
Also I always used to kick myself for falling off the wagon of my new plans and goals for improvement, but looking back I have come to realize 1: I probably go for too much change all at once and 2: it takes time and I can see the improvemenrs that have been made in my health, life, relationships, etc.
So here's to the journey and finding inspiration when you need it!
Awesome, Angela!!! I’m so happy for you to join me! And yes, you are so right. We try to change too quickly and it does take time. But I love how our brains *can* change over time… Here’s to our complaining fast! <3