Quit your Whining! Entitlement or Thanksgiving in Disasters

The news reports of the power outages in the eastern part of the U.S. in the wake of Hurricane Irene last week include a lot of whining. Knowing that reporters tend to go for the dramatic, it is likely that such people are in the minority, but the stories bother me. We have many relatives and friends in southeast Texas who have dealt with longer outages from previous hurricanes who refrained from whining, realizing that repair takes time when damage is widespread. So far reports that I have seen from this week’s Texas wildfires focus on people thankful for their lives, even while they mourn the loss of everything they own. 

Aren’t we whining when we focus on what is hard in our lives rather than God’s gracious provision? That response reveals an attitude of entitlement: “I deserve to have ____ (health, perfect children, good things, no struggles, etc.).” Shouldn’t we be thankful for what we do have rather than gripe about what we don’t?  Do I make that choice when faced with trials or even a difficult day? Do you?

I appreciate storm victims who express gratitude for their homes, their lives, and for the hard-working people trying to help them. I am sad for all the victims, even those who whine, recognizing how hard their situations must be. 
“In everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18).
It’s biblical to express our grief and sorrow. Don’t think that joy precludes sadness. When we lament our losses, however, we should do so with thanksgiving for God’s sovereign work in the midst of our pain. When we focus on trusting him for the greater good, our perspectives change. We begin to recognize that all of life is grace; we aren’t entitled to anything. As we give thanks in everything, we begin to walk in joy, blessing others, giving glory to God, and in the process becoming witnesses to a watching world.
What verses help you choose thanksgiving?

Kay is a life-long Texan whose favorites are Tex-Mex, books that feed her soul or make her think, good movies and travel to new places. Her great joy is to serve God by teaching the Bible and developing women as servant-leaders. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Beyond Ordinary Women Ministries, which provides free videos, podcasts and articles as well as low-cost Bible studies to prepare Christian women for leadership. (beyondordinarywomen.org) Kay spent ten years leading women’s ministries on church staffs, most recently at Northwest Bible Church in Dallas. Kay is the author of From Ordinary Woman to Spiritual Leader: Grow your Influence, a practical guide to help Christian women influence others by applying foundational leadership skills to their lives and ministries, and a number of Bible studies for women, some are available at bible.org and the newer ones are found at beyondordinarywomen.org. Kay earned an M.A.C.E. from Dallas Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Effective Ministries to Women. Kay’s family includes a husband, two grown children, one son-in-law, two hysterical granddaughters and a Goldendoodle.


  • Diane Stevens


    Hi–My Lenten journey is on thanksgiving instead of whining/negativity, so I appreciate your blog.  I am guessing that by the end of this journey, I will have more insight into what is whining and what is appropriate grieving and calling out to God as our Abba.  God called the brokenhearted to have their wounds bound by Him.  Whining seems like a default program of confusion and despair when I do it.  Often I am on a new road and the suffering is unlike previous experiences.  Some are much harder than others.  Thanks for this posting!!

  • Kay Daigle

    Whining vs. grieving

    Great idea for Lent, Diane. I think you may have stated the obvious difference when you said that God tells us to call out to him. Whining is complaining, not to God but to everyone else. True grieving calls out to God. Thanks for those thoughts.