As I sit at my desk, on the cusp of a New Year, there are many thoughts rushing through my mind.
Will I make New Year’s Resolutions? Will I keep those resolutions? Should I not make any resolutions? Do I really have to make any just because it’s “the thing” to do? Oy vey!
So I’ve decided NOT to make any resolutions ~ I have decided to make an intentional decision to become UNentitled.
Entitlement is a word that is thrown around a lot these days. Especially in terms of the younger generation of teens and early 20-somethings. Here’s a shocker for you though…we all of bits of entitlement strewn around our life. And it’s time to pick them up and get rid of all of it!
Just in case you are curious as to whether or not you walk around with any entitled attitudes, let’s start with my favorite thing to do ~ word study! To give this little exercise a bit more gravity, insert the word “yourself” in place of “a person”…if you really want the impact, read the definition out loud.
Here we go…According to the dictionary, ‘entitle’ or ‘entitlement’ means: 1.
Still don’t see it? How about this…have you ever said any one (or more) of the following:
*It’s my right to be upset. That person cut me off on the freeway.
*It’s my right to be offended. She was rude to me.
*I’m allowed to angry. My kids don’t listen to me.
*I’m allowed to be irritated. My husband doesn’t notice what I’ve done all day around the house. Do the clothes magically clean themselves?
*It’s my right to hurt. No one understands me and no one really cares about me.
*I’m allowed to sit in my pj’s all days, watch my dvr’d shows, and let everyone fend for themselves because I’m just plain old tired. (yeah..no…this one isn’t personal or anything…)
To be truthful and honest…I’ve been there at various points in my life and have muttered these phrases (and probably others that are just as inane) and felt completely justified in doing so.
God’s Word is full of proof that the exact opposite is true.
We are not entitled to anything except death, without trusting in the Lord to save us from our sins.
Proverbs 18:2 (HCSB) is pretty clear as to what kind of person we are not to be, “A fool does not delight in understanding, but only wants to show off his opinions.”
To be even more clear, in Jesus’ own words He tells us how we are to live our life. Matthew 16:24-26 (HCSB) says, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it. What will it benefit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?”
We don’t like words like ‘deny’ or ‘lose your life’ ~ those do not resonate with our sinful nature of doing whatever we want, when we want, and how we want. The challenge is there but becomes less when we do follow the Lord and take up the things in our heart that are actions and issues that Jesus loves and is concerned about.
Whether you are a parent or not, you have undoubtedly come across the infamous outpouring of emotional trauma when someone cries out to you, “It’s not fair!” Oh, that’s my favorite (she says with a smirk!) My girls know what my response to them will be…every time they say it….”The fair happens once a year and it’s where you can get funnel cake. Move on. Life’s not fair.” I know they hate it when I say it, but I say it with a smile. Most of the time, they have no idea that that little phrase and the half-smile on my face is what is saving them from a total mommy freak out!
There is responsibility we have to take when we sin and are disobedient. We do not get to pick and choose what rules apply to our lives. Simply because we don’t like certain scriptures in the Bible, or laws of the land, or rules in a household, does not preclude us from being accountable when we stray from those statutes.
Ezekiel 18:25-27 (HCSB) says, “But you say, ‘The Lord’s way isn’t fair.’ Now listen, house of Israel: Is it My way that is unfair? Instead, isn’t it your ways that are unfair? When a righteous person turns from his righteousness and practices iniquity, he will die for this. He will die because of the iniquity he has practiced. But if a wicked person turns from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he will preserve his life.”
Our generation of children do not have the corner market on the “it’s not fair” statements. The Israelite’s of the Old Testament have been saying it way before them!
Read that last sentence in Ezekiel again. What a beautiful promise the Lord gives us! When we turn away from what we think is our “right” and what we “are allowed” to do, and turn toward the Lord and what He calls us to do, He will ‘preserve our life’ and He will do it immediately!!
On a total side note, a really fun thing that is happening right now as I finish writing this post, is that I have a house full of teens ~ all Seniors in high school…about 25 of them…and they are delightfully loud and full of joy! They are getting ready to surprise one of their friends for her 18th birthday. My daughter has been decorating all day and preparing for this event. The exact opposite of entitlement. All of these amazing young people have chosen to set aside their own agendas, their own plans, in order to honor one of their friends and make her feel special. I love this and I’m so excited to be a “fly on the wall” as I listen to them excitedly plan where to hide and when to yell, “SURPRISE!”
How will you lay aside your “rights” this New Year? How will you decide to set aside your agenda in order to honor your friends? Your family? What will you do when you feel the ugliness of entitlement begin to rise in your heart?
Stop and breathe and pray!
Whatever we ask of the Lord, that is according to HIS purposes and goals for our life, He will easily and surely give to you. When you ask Him to give you a patient heart with your children (no matter how old they are!), when you ask the Lord to give you grace with the people driving slower than you on the freeway, when you feel offended by someone does or says, when you feel unappreciated ~ ask the Lord to fill you with His peace…with His goodness…with His grace.
And He will absolutely and perfectly do just that!
Enter each day with an attitude of service ~ trade out the entitlement and choose to find those ways to bless others. You will not be disappointed when you follow the path that God has for you.