How To Handle “The Whine”


You are a leader.  Who is following you?  Maybe it’s your children, employees, team, family, group, or staff.  What’s coming out of their mouths?

As a leader, I find no greater joy then when those that I lead surpass me.  Watching and hearing about their latest breakthrough, awards, job offers, or achievements brings me such pleasure.  Yet, there’s nothing more heart stabbing than a great grumble–a big whine.  Complaining about this or grumbling about that.  It is just not enjoyable.

In Exodus 17, Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt when they began to whine.  “We’re thirsty!  We’re thirsty!  Waa-waaa—waaa!”  In the beginning, Moses’ response was not one of a high quality leader.  However, Moses shifted and became a great leader in an awful situation.  You can learn to make the same great moves Moses did when handling his people’s “whine.”

1) Be realistic with your expectations.  At first, Moses wasn’t realistic.  He expected them to have the same perspective of their situation that he did.  He responded in Exodus 17:2 with “Why do you quarrel with me?  Why do you put the LORD to the test?”  He got defensive.

Know your people, your kids, your team.  You are leading them for a reason.  They may not see everything the same way you do.  If they are two years old, know that.  If they are a hormonal teenager, be aware of that.  If they have never been a boss before, realize that.  They probably don’t know what it’s like walking in your shoes.

The people didn’t have the same relationship with God that Moses did.  Therefore, they whined and complained.  They didn’t trust God like Moses did.  Know your people and be realistic with what you can expect from them.

2) Praise God!  Yes, praise God that at least there’s still communication.  Even if the communication is not the most pleasant, at least there’s still an open door.  It’s when the silence hits that you know you’ve lost that communication.  So as long as you are hearing the “whine,” praise God for that!

3) Keep control.  Don’t do what Moses did at first and bite back.  Do what Moses did next.  Go to God.  If you are faced with a situation where there is no way you can please your followers, then go to the Father.  Ask Him for that miracle.  Moses received water from a rock.  Water doesn’t come out of rocks.  It was a miracle!

Maybe you can’t give that raise, buy that Christmas present, or meet their requests.  Ask God for your water from a rock.  He is a God of miracles and breakthroughs!  Ask Him for the miracle for your people!

4) Trust and obey.  In Exodus 17:5 the Lord told Moses what to do.  “Walk on ahead of the people…take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go…  Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.”  Ha!  What kind of solution was that?!  Yet Moses didn’t complain.  Moses trusted God and obeyed.  It says that “Moses did this.”  He obeyed.

When you turn to God and ask Him for the miracle, trust and obey what He tells you.  What if things didn’t turn out so well when Moses obeyed?  What if the water didn’t come out of the rock?  Moses would’ve looked a little crazy to the people watching.  “There goes our leader again, just losing it! Hitting a rock with a stick.  I knew we shouldn’t be following him.  He’s gone crazy.  He’s a terrible leader.”  The speculation could have been bad.  Yet Moses trusted God and obeyed.

So next time you are leading your people and you hear “the whine,” be realistic with where the whine’s coming from.  Praise God that you heard the whine.  Keep control and turn to God.  Then trust and obey what God tells you to do.  There’s no reason to bite back at your people, your kids, or your team.  Lead.  Expect God to give you water from a rock!

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  1. Nancy Benton says:

    Thanks Jamye
    Well said

    Sent from my iPhone

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