Entitlement

Do you ever feel like God keeps giving you little nudges about growth he wants of you either personally or in your marriage (or both)? Um…yeah. That’s where I am this morning, except for he is pushing, not nudging!

My husband and I have been embarking on more robust nightly quiet times together for a particular prayer intention. What a great thing this has been for us! While I know God is leading us slowly to His will on that intention, some of the “ancillary” results of our prayer have brought up other issues we think he wants us to work on. One of these has been both of our sense of entitlement in our individual daily lives and marriage.

My husband can struggle in a slightly different way than I am on this topic, but I will say that for myself, I can get so bitter and let sin creep into my heart so easily when I think I am entitled to something – more sleep, a break at the end of a long day or one of my husband’s trips, a chance to exercise, going out “unaccompanied”, not doing the dishes, you name it – and it doesn’t happen. Now, I may honestly need some (or all!) of those things for health and sanity, and as moms and wives I think we have to work charitably with our spouses to find the right balance in our particular circumstances on the hard labor that goes into family and home life. But to allow ourselves to feel we are inherently entitled to these things is something slightly different I think, and God has been leading my heart to really see why.

If I feel entitled to any of it, it’s really just another way to say I’m ‘owed’ something, or that something is mine (my time, my rest, etc). But the truth is, I’m not owed anything in this life…and all of these things are God’s for his Kingdom. As a Christian, as a wife, as a mother, I am not meant to be my own, but rather poured out as an offering for my God and my family. This is hard, hard work, and I fail sooooooo often. I often look at my life as though my time, my rest, and the like are mine. When I do so, however, not only do I become completely unhappy when my purported breaks for myself don’t materialize, it often starts a chain reaction of all sorts of negatives, to include sinful thought patterns, negative tone and attitude, and even conflict as I ‘demand’ what is “rightfully mine.” How much damage this can do to my relationship with others…God and my husband being first in line.

The reality is this: if I am not concentrating on the source of my energy – Christ – and if I am not concentrating on the fact that none of my abilities, time, energy is really mine for my personal use, issues abound and joy is squelched. If, on the other hand, I go back to God with my weakness and fragmented energy and time, He will help me gain what I need in a host of tangible ways. He will pour back in what I have expended to refill me, through His grace, through a friend’s helping hand, through a small heroic act of kindness from my husband. As I start out this new week, this is my prayer…that I can go back to the Source of the work I have been given since he knows my needs more clearly than I do, to pray for more humility to realize that nothing that I’ve been given is mine, and, in a word…loose the attitude!

 

Lord, help me reshape my concept of my life, time, and energy to be reflective of the truth. All is yours!

  • Kathleen

    So true! When we start thinking about what we think we deserve, joy can quickly cease. Could you expand what you mean by robust quiet time? Do you not talk to each other or do you just turn off tv and cell phones etc? Just curious.

    • J’

      Kathleen, I just meant that instead of just trying to do our normal evening prayers, we have been spending a more concerted chunk of time praying together (and apart). This has lent a lot of fruit, and though originally for a particular intention, we are trying to keep it up since it has been such an amazing addition to our life.

  • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

    Wow, J! This is so challenging. As a melancholic, I have lots of internal battle and bitterness and self pity. This is very encouraging and humbling at the same time!

    • J’

      I am a melancholic too…so that’s why I struggle with this so much! Ugh. Prayers always accepted gratefully.;)

  • Bethany

    Love it, love all of it! Thank you for this introspective look at something with which we all struggle. Entitlement is the way of the world, yet Christ is the ultimate opposite. “I am not meant to be my own, but rather poured out as an offering for my God and my family”–fantastic meditation. Thank you!

  • http://www.buildingcathedrals.com/ Kellie

    Amen! It helps me to offer up the “me time” I do get for different intentions. So for example, when I get out to run or to the gym, I offer up the workout for something specific. This doesn’t work as well when it comes to going out for coffee ;-)

  • Juris Mater

    Great thoughts, J! I go through many phases of bewilderment at the amount of work required in raising several kids/keeping house/etc, and the little time for replenishment, but you’re right, that’s different from getting resentful about it.

  • MaryAlice

    For me those feelings of entitlement go hand in hand with comparing my life to others. What a mistake! I tend to feel that I deserve AT LEAST what everyone else has, but probably more! This applies to luxury items and personal time. It is especially hard when plans get cancelled, but with babies this happens all the time – you spend a dinner out nursing in the restroom, or you have to stay home with a sick child, or the sitter falls through, and you do just have to offer it up.


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