Sunday, July 7, 2013

What to Do When You Feel Entitled : 5 Tips to Tackle Discontent

For the past two weeks I have been sharing my thoughts on entitlement, specifically addressing how we need to battle entitlement in our homes and change our attitudes about what "I deserve."

Today I want to share a few ways I'm trying to move away from this "entitled" attitude I've adopted because, as I mentioned last week, if I expect my children to have a realistic view of life and not expect everything to be handed to them or that they should always go first, then I have to begin with me. I have to present a realistic model for them that they can follow when the world tells them they deserve more.

So, how do I stop feeling entitled? How do I deny my self what I believe I deserve?

 For me, that means 5 things.


1. Stay in constant communication with God.

Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to "pray without ceasing." Instead of calling a friend to vent or burying my face in the phone to avoid the problem, I've got to turn to God for help. I've got to see my situation as God's will and turn to Him when I'm in doubt. I've got to keep reminding myself that I am not in control, especially when my sinful nature says, "You deserve a break; just let the house work go", or when I grumble and complain about my unruly kids as if God cheated me somehow.

And you know what? When I'm walking beside Him, seeking His help, and focusing on what He wants for me rather than what I think I need, I feel peace. Oh how I want that peace . . .

2. Memorize & recite Mark 10:43-45.

Here Jesus is speaking to His disciples about what it means to be great, following James and John's request for special places in His kingdom:
"'...[W]hoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.'"

James and John wanted more. They weren't content with simply serving and working. They wanted to be great. Specifically, they wanted to sit beside Jesus in Heaven. As Jesus' special friends--remember they were with Jesus at the Transfiguration and a part of the "inner circle" with Peter-- they believed they were entitled to the sky box while everyone else sat in the cheap seats. But Jesus set them straight.

To be great is not to rule over others but to serve.

When selfishness creeps in and I begin to think I deserve a seat beside Jesus for all my hours of laundry folding, yogurt making, and diaper changing, remembering Jesus' words to His disciples gives me the reality check I need. He gave His life a ransom for many.

3. Get busy for the kingdom!

It's usually when I'm completely overwhelmed with my too-long to-do list that I become discontent and yearn for something more/different/better. It's then I begin to feel I deserve a vacation instead of buckling down and getting my work done.  

I need to remember that homemaking, serving my family, raising my children, loving my husband--that's kingdom work, and I need to see that work as a blessing, not a chore just to get done.

We all have work to do for the kingdom. We each have gifts to use to bring unbelievers to Christ and to build up the church. When we begin feeling entitled, that's when we need to get busy!

"God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure."

Hebrews 6:10-11

4. Take regular (or permanent) fasts from "idols."

Most of us have something--maybe someone--that we put before God. Maybe it's your spouse or children, a job you love, blogging, looking good, or running. Whatever it is, it's an idol if it consumes our time, energy, bank accounts, thoughts, etc. When we don't have a proper balance, we sacrifice what really matters just to appease our gods. We start feeling like we deserve a new dress--even though we don't have the money--or we are entitled to a raise when we aren't.

I struggle with maintaining a healthy relationship with my smartphone. I've been completely imbalanced lately, to the point that I can't wake up without first checking my email. So, I'm instituting more stringent rules on myself to be better disciplined in this area because when I'm tuned into emails and the latest pins, I'm not focusing on my husband, my kids, or my home. 

{I'll post more on the specifics of what I'm doing here in a few weeks after I finish reading Sarah Mae's "The Un-Wired Mom" and have had time to reflect.}

Identify your own idol(s) and devise a plan to tear them down. If you don't think you're "hooked" on anything, look at your bank statement or keep track of your time: write down everything you do in a 1-hour period. See where you're spending your money and/or time, and work on changing the way you relate to the things of this world. 

Life isn't about stuff; it's about spreading the good news of Jesus and making the world a better place to live.

5. Look for ways to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Jesus every day (Matt. 16:24).

When I'm feeling entitled and throwing a pity party because everyone else is going to the beach but me, I've stopped surrendering all to Jesus and started expecting things. I start thinking about me and what I deserve. But Jesus didn't say, "The first shall be first." No! He said, the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.

Ask God to help you identify people who you can serve. Be proactive, and look for opportunities where you can be of use. I have to stop thinking of myself first and remember that I'm not here to live a soft, cushy life for me, but to give all 100% of myself to God. To live for Him.

I don't know about you, but I'm grappling with feelings of discontent & entitlement every day. I think it's a by-product of living in this blessed country. But in order to live a life worthy of my calling, then I need to get outside myself, to deny myself what I think I deserve, and start living for others instead. It's a constant struggle but as I trust God and draw closer to Him, I'm feeling more content every day. I pray you will come to that place of peace too. Please let me know if I can pray for you.

What about you? How do you keep your "I deserves" in check?

Related Posts:

Battling Entitlement in Our Homes
When I Feel Like I Deserve _____

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  1. What a great post! I too struggle with the entitlement thing. I need to read this post again!

  2. Thanks, Melanie. I think I just want what everyone else has, and when I don't get it, then I get bitter, jealous, ugly. If God wants me to have x, then He will provide. It's a control issue for me for sure.

  3. We're going on vacation soon and I'll be on a major internet-fast. Reading this, I think it'll be good for me!

    1. Good for you, Helene! I totally need one but am honestly terrified at the thought of no internet for an extended period of time. But I think it would be WONDERFUL for me. Wishing you the best!

  4. It's funny because last night I was up late making hamburger patties from this HUGE package of ground beef from Costco. I was lamenting how much work it was and how I rather be doing something else. Like, relaxing in front of my computer! I caught myself, and realized how ridiculous it was that I was complaining about having food! Your thought about entitlement being a by-product of living in America is soooo true!

    1. We are so blessed to live in this country, yet those blessings come at a cost. We have to remember why we're here and use those advantages we have to God's glory. That's hard, just like living in the world but apart from the world is a challenge!

  5. Amen! Amen! AMEN! My husband and I were just talking about this last night... I struggle with this so much, and I don't want my children to, too! I'm also reading Sarah Mae's "The UnWired Mom"'s been really eyeopening for me. I'm loving the 2 week challenge, but if I'm going to be completely honest it's been challenging! ;)

    I just wanted to let you know that this line: "I need to remember that homemaking, serving my family, raising my children, loving my husband--that's kingdom work, and I need to see that work as a blessing, not a chore just to get done." really hit home!

    Thank you for sharing your heart with us! I will be sharing this with others!

    1. Thank you, Kelsey. I'm struggling with the challenge too, but wow have I needed it! There are so many distractions-- pushes and pulls on us--so many things vying for our attention that I think we begin to believe the world when it says we deserve more, better, a break, etc. When we realize that those thoughts are from Satan, not God, then we can rest in Him, not in the things we think we deserve.

  6. Stopping by after I saw Kelsey shared it on Twitter. So glad I did. "I've got to keep reminding myself that I am not in control, especially when my sinful nature says, "You deserve a break; just let the house work go", or when I grumble and complain about my unruly kids as if God cheated me somehow." <-- This is me lately. I constantly think "I deserve a vacation" or "I deserve a venti chai from Starbucks"... I throw each of these under the umbrella of "giving myself grace", when actually I'm using that self-grace as an excuse to keep sinning and ignore my entitled thinking.

    Great post - off to share it with others!

    1. April, I too struggle with self-grace as you call it. I like that :)

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, and thank you for sharing.

      Blessings to you!

  7. Great points - and very helpful post! I also find that giving myself permission to find humor in life and to laugh goes a long way toward keeping at bay that self-pity that can lead to an entitlement mentality.

    1. You are so right, Amy. We all need to laugh a little more at ourselves instead of taking ourselves so seriously. When problems arise it's easy to take the personally and have a pity party, but that's when we need to take it to the Lord and just find joy in the trials.

      Thanks for commenting!

  8. Thanks for these tips, Keri. Great reminders. Especially #4...fasting from technology idols. I have to remind myself of this one. Visiting from Hearts for Home.

    1. You're welcome, Sheila. Thank you for commenting. I think technology is my strongest adversary. I'm constantly tripping up because of it.

  9. Keri, I am actually not very good at keeping away the entitlement feelings. I certainly feel that after a day of being a mom to four small kids I deserve a break! You're right, though - that's not a godly attitude. Pinning and now following!

    1. Anna, I am not either! I have three small kids so I know exactly how you feel. It's a constant battle of my selfish will against God's, but I know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

      Blessings, and thanks for following and pinning!


  10. Great topic and list! I just try to think of how blessed I am to have what I have and how easily I could have been born somewhere else. I see a lot from my students, by sponsoring children through Compassion, and by reading up on different situations. This helps me keep things in perspective. (BTW..I found you through the Pin it party and I'm repinning this.)

  11. Thanks for this helpful post! I wholeheartedly agree with all 5 tips. Such good advice!

    1. Thanks, Danielle. I appreciate your encouragement!