Entitlement: the opposite of gratitude and contentment. The feeling of being “owed” something.
I started reading a new parenting book last week, it’s titled, “Raising Grateful Kids In An Entitled World.”
Funny thing is, it’s rocking my world.
Like every good parenting book, the author persuades the reader to examine his or her own heart and mind on the issue at hand. Let me just tell you, I feel entitled to a whole lot, in fact, it’s a bit embarrassing.
I feel entitled to good health for myself and my family.
This reared its head a couple of months ago, when I was diagnosed with a pretty serious stomach condition. I couldn’t eat without experiencing pain and discomfort. After the third trip to the doctor, I was fed up, this was officially UNFAIR! How was I supposed to function if I couldn’t even eat?! (This was my unfiltered prayer to God)
Like a good parent, he allowed me to get my tantrum out before he quietly spoke to my heart, “Stop complaining child, pay attention, focus on what I am doing through this struggle.” Oh, the patience he has for my shenanigans. With this simple instruction, He moved me from an attitude of entitlement, to one of gratitude. I stopped complaining, began the prescribed medication, and starting keeping a food log.
Friends, I am happy to report that I have been symptom free for almost a month. I firmly believe that my stomach is healing. Through this struggle, I have become much more intentional about what I put into my body, and I no longer take my tummy for granted.
Secondly, I feel entitled to consistent peace within my extended family.
Ha! This is a funny one. Ok, so, if you do life long enough as an adult child of divorce, you come to discover that divorce is the gift that keeps on giving (I’m quoting a fellow counselor here). It’s inescapable.
I believe that my family has come a long way, we are officially doing joint birthday parties for my kiddos, can I get an “AMEN!” But, there are still difficult times, awkward situations, and painful memories that arise. God is showing me that although some of this can and should avoided, I am not entitled to complete peace. He is still at work in the pain.
Lastly, I expect a good return for my hard work.
I’m a worker, a doer, more Martha than Mary (although, I feel like I’m much more balanced in this department due to my kiddos…). Bottom line, I love to exert myself – working out, mowing the grass, exercising our humongous puppy, etc. Sign me up to sweat. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty.
Here’s the problem: when this effort goes unnoticed, or doesn’t have an immediate positive outcome, I become discouraged, feeling unappreciated, or misunderstood.
Counseling has taught me a great deal in this department. New clients come in, ready to FIX IT NOW!!! They are tired of the struggle, the relationship, the uphill battle that is life. They want coping mechanisms, recipes for success and immediate satisfaction. This attitude is so pervasive, that I now begin each counseling relationship with a disclaimer, “Good counseling is like planting a garden from seed…it takes time, intention, maintenance, and lots and lots of patience.
Basically friends, the more I live and learn, the more I’m realizing that there is only one thing that I am entitled to in this life, and that is, the love of Jesus Christ. And even this was not earned, it was graciously given!
What if we as Christians make the decision to live blessed, instead of entitled? What would the world see?