Summer is such an interesting time to observe my habits. Maybe it’s the lazy days and lack of structure but I feel like the worst of myself comes out between June and August. I’m having such a hard time getting into the zone of productivity, healthy living and focus. While I want to remain carefree and soak up the sun, I know I need to find a balance.
And I see it in my kids as well. Y’all, they are just wild things this summer. And since I’m so out of the zone, their behavior has often gone unchecked. Some days I feel like we’re all just a hot mess.
As I’ve pondered why we can’t seem to get it together, I keep coming back to the issue of entitlement. I’ll admit I first zeroed in on the word as I’ve observed my kids but I quickly became convicted of it myself. In large part, our issue is that we feel like we deserve so much.
It’s a new day. . .I deserve a new, fun activity, is basically what my 6 year old is saying when she asks, what are we going to do today? and responds with a sigh when the answer doesn’t meet her expectation.
Motherhood is so hard! I deserve to eat this donut to reward myself for all of the crazy I’ve had to deal with today, is in essence what I am proclaiming when I stuff that chocolate glazed yumminess in my mouth at the end of the day.
These habits of thought are generally harmless but they point to a deeper, heart issue that can often lead to very unhealthy living >> entitlement.
We hashtag #firstworldproblems as a joke when we flippantly complain on social media about how hard we have it. The very use of the term just goes to show you that we know we shouldn’t be complaining but we just can’t help it.
I’ve done this. I continue to do it. But I’m not doing any good as I settle for these thought patterns of entitlement. So it’s time to abandon my feelings that I deserve anything. It’s time to embrace true grace that offers me unmerited favor with a heart of gratitude. It’s time to really teach my children that everything we have is an undeserved blessing.
As I think about those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. . .as I consider the depth of the blessings we enjoy in this amazing country, I’m challenged to stop complaining about the state of our school systems, our tax bracket and the constant road construction in our city.
When I consider the military mom who sits at home, taking care of her children alone, as she fervently prays that her husband will return to them someday soon, I get sick about the way I feel entitled to a day off or a moment to myself.
Yes, our system is flawed. Our country is not perfect. But friends, we.are.so.blessed. We have so much to be thankful for. What am I teaching my children if they constantly hear me complain about what is broken without expressing gratitude for all the more that is such a blessing? While I believe it’s okay to recognize what needs fixing, it’s much more important to point out what is working for our benefit and to look for the good in all things.
So this weekend when we gather together to grill out, shoot off fireworks and enjoy our abundant freedom, I am making this declaration:
Freedom from Entitlement: A July 4th Manifesto
I will stop complaining about our leaders and their weaknesses. Yes, they are flawed and some of them do not possess the character or strength needed to do the job well. But neither do I.
I will recognize the fact that it’s a blessing we have the freedom to choose our form of education, and for the most part, the public sector is doing the best it can with what its got. We are not entitled to have others give our kids a prestigious or perfect education. As parents we are the only ones responsible to make sure our kids get the education we want them to have.
I will stop expecting things to be easy. Life is work. The more diligent I am to work hard for the things I enjoy, the more I will enjoy them.
I will not complain when I get stuck in traffic, in a long drive thru line for my over-priced coffee or in a slow check out line at the grocery story. Instead I will be thankful for a car that runs, paved roads, the ability to splurge on a caffeinated treat and the pleasure of purchasing good food to nourish my family.
I will not expect my church to provide everything I need to flourish in my faith. I will be thankful for the structure they provide for us but I will take responsibility for my spirituality and the spiritual growth of my family. I will not expect perfection from my spiritual leaders but will fervently pray for them as they continue to pour their lives out for others.
I will respond with grace when I don’t see eye to eye with others because I am not always right and I’m not entitled to have everyone think the way I think.
My new-found Pollyanic attitude may not connect with everyone. I realize there are some who are so passionate about fixing what is wrong with our nation that they focus on it intently. And we need people to help us overcome our weaknesses and obstacles. . .to ensure that the freedoms we enjoy remain our freedoms for years to come. But for most of us, we simply need to get out of our entitlement mindset, take responsibility for our own lives and the lives of our families and forge forward in with a heart of gratitude for all we do enjoy.
This weekend, I’m making the choice to lay aside my feelings of entitlement and embrace gratitude for the freedom we enjoy.
[Tweet “This weekend, I’m making the choice to lay aside my feelings of entitlement and embrace gratitude for the freedom we enjoy.”]
Do you struggle with the issue of entitlement? What do you need to declare today to walk forward in freedom and gratitude?