$5 Fine for Whining

The rustic wooden sign read: “$5 FINE FOR WHINING.”

It didn’t matter to me that the white-painted lettering was a little crooked or that the leather strap to hang it on the wall was a bit worn. I bought it anyway.

I purchased this sign at a horse show while holding my then six-year-old daughter’s hand. As she read the sign she whined, “Where am I going to get $5?”

Eleven years later, this ole’ sign still hangs in my laundry room. I’m reminded of it today. One, because it’s Monday and I’m getting the weekend laundry caught up. And two, I’ve been whining a lot lately. Really. Just ask my daughter.

Hindsight is great, isn’t it? I’ve decided that I’m 200% great until I get out of bed. Then, look out. This past month or so, I’ve complained about the weather, grumbled about my writing deadlines, moaned about the weeds in my flower garden. In other words, if I were to pay my whining debt at $5 a pop, I’d need to get a better paying job or use my credit card.

But ain’t it great? God doesn’t charge us for whining and complaining. He doesn’t keep tabs either. So we don’t have to open the wallets or write a blank check. Here’s what the Bible instructs us to do:

“But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you” (Ephesians 4:20-24/The Message).

Today is a new day. Today, right this very moment, we can start over. We can trade our stinky, whiny attitudes for an attitude of gratitude. We can learn to wake up in the morning and thank God for what He is doing and will continue to do in our lives. As we continue to grow from the inside out—at work, at home, and even while doing laundry—we can find something positive in the situation and allow the character of Christ to shine through us.

Back to my laundry room, thanking God I have clothes to wash.

Coates
Jan Coates is an author, speaker, consultant, founder of Set Free Today and serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery®.

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