What Time in Prison Can Do for a Person

14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Philippians 2: 14-15 NLT

Recently my friend Megan and I discussed living abroad as missionaries or government employees.  We tossed about

From Google Images

ideas as to where we would like to live versus where we may end up.  My mind raced as I contemplated what it would be like if Dale and I were assigned to a developing country – having different and fewer food choices and having less comforts in everyday life.  Then I thought about the climate – what if I had to live in an exceptionally hot and humid place?  I don’t care for temperatures above 75 degrees, and I satisfied my quota for humidity growing up in Iowa.  A list of reasons as to why I shouldn’t or couldn’t live abroad took shape in my mind, tainting my view of what could otherwise be a magnificent opportunity.

A prison from Google Images

During my quiet time later that week I mulled over the above verses from Philippians.  Paul didn’t complain even though he was in an undesirable position – he was in prison when he wanted to be traveling about, spreading God’s word.  Instead of dwelling on his misfortune or counting the days until he would be released, though, he strove to make the most of his situation by looking for opportunities to share the Gospel with those in the prison.  He also continued ministering to outside people through letters.

I have learned that complaining about things that are out of my control limits my life experiences, is a downer for those around me, and is unappreciative of blessings provided by God.  Now whenever I catch myself creating a list of complaints as to why I can’t or don’t want to do something, I shift my perspective to that of Paul: looking for the good and opportunities that are within even the most undesirable of situations.

What do you complain about?

Song for Mediation:  It’s Your Life by Francesca Battistelli , http://www.amazon.com/Its-Your-Life/dp/B001CDNK0Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1320590316&sr=8-1

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