Worthy, not entitled.

I realized today that I’m a little entitled — and I owe that realization to potatoes. Sort of.

I worked late this evening. I arrived at 7:00 am and left at 8:00 pm. By the time I left, I was hungry. Really hungry. And I was craving these Alexia waffle cut fries. (Don’t judge me – there’s no sugar or trans fat. Actually, can we just stop judging people for what they eat altogether?) Anyway, I almost ran to the store to pick some up . . . but I hesitated. It’s just that I have plenty of good food at home, and buying more struck me as a waste of money. Plus, after the work day I’d had, a useless errand didn’t seem like a good use of my time.

I debated momentarily and asked myself the question, “What would happen if I don’t get what I want tonight?”

The answer? Nothing especially tragic. Or even remotely tragic. Actually, I’d save myself some time, energy, and money if I didn’t get what I wanted. And, I’d be a better steward of what I already have by actually using it.

That’s when it hit me: I’m entitled. How many times have I run to the store to get what I wanted, when I wanted? Whether it’s food, or clothes, or a new book, or whatever, it’s happened more times than I care to admit. The possibility to purchase and download online makes it even easier. How many hundreds of dollars have I spent purchasing iBooks, iMusic, and miscellaneous items like The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall? (I admit I don’t regret the latter. It’s an amazing rendition of a fantastic musical. In fact, what are you doing on my blog when you could be watching it?! Shoo! Just kidding. I appreciate my readers. Sorry for the ramble; I have ADHD and I’m really, really tired right now.)

ANYWAY. I’ve heard the term “microwave society,” but I don’t think that’s honest enough. “On demand” is a phrase I’ve heard used a lot in marketing, but I think it’s way more appropriate to describe the culture of the U.S., my generation, and me. Because I like things on demand. Clothes, movies, books, furniture, waffle fries . . . you get the picture.

However, I don’t really care what responsibility “society” has for this. My entitlement is my responsibility to fix. A fruit of the Spirit is self-control, so if I’m really walking in the Spirit, I’ll be successful in overcoming my “on demand” attitude. (…Maybe I owe this revelation more to God than potatoes.)

I don’t know if I’ll ever be perfect. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the demands of others on me, and then I get demanding, too. (That’s an observation, not an excuse.) As I’ve mentioned, I also have ADHD. For those of you who don’t know, ADHD is a neurological condition, not a character flaw. Symptoms may include impulsive behavior (although I prefer “spontaneity”), inattention, and, believe it or not, hyper-focus. All of these things can look like entitlement to the untrained eye — but they can actually be beneficial for a person’s survival, too. I wrote a paper on that, so naturally I like to think of myself as a demi-authority on the subject.

For those of you who’ve made it this far in my purposeful but verbose meander – thank you. I haven’t wrapped up just yet, however. The title of this post is “Worthy, not entitled.” And the “worthy” part is really, really important; I’d be remiss to neglect it.

At different points in my life, I’ve struggled to stand up for myself. At other points, I’ve struggled to stand up for myself respectfully and/or articulately. I’m not going to waste my time beating myself up on that, because I’m a work in progress and I know I’m learning.

But the fact remains that I can’t have anyone walking away from this post with confusion about where I stand (and where they should stand) on their worth. After taking inventory of your flaws, or exploring at length one flaw in particular, it can be so easy to beat yourself up. The belief that I am such an absolute piece of trash that I don’t deserve any love or respect whatsoever has dominated my concept of self more than I care to admit. That’s an ugly thought, but it’s important to accurately convey the harshness with which many people speak to themselves in their minds. We need to bring that stuff to light and then help people do away with it.

And the “doing away with it” bit? That’s why I’m still writing. Because God says we are made in His image – the image of absolute perfection (Genesis 1:27). And God says that what we have destroyed, He can redeem (Romans 3:21-26). Not worthy? Not a chance. 

Don’t use your worth as an excuse to entertain a sense of entitlement. Don’t twist humility and patience into a distorted belief about your value. And remember that God doesn’t convict us to control us or be a total . . . well, [insert profane adjective here]. Here’s all the nasty stuff (spiritual slavery, if you will) that entitlement in my life has led to:

  • wasted money
  • wasted time
  • emotional exhaustion
  • confusion
  • wounded hearts and strained relationships (because I’ve spoken in anger from a place of entitlement)

Friends, if the Lord is convicting you of something, He is trying to save you from disaster. Galatians 5:1 puts it well: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (ESV). In other words, the Lord disciplines the people He loves (Hebrews 12:4-6).

And if you have a caring friend who points out a flaw with gentleness and humility, then they’re not attacking you – they’re loving you, too (Proverbs 27:6).

Love is a beautiful, restorative, fulfilling thing.

Heavenly Father, I’m so grateful for everything you’ve given me. I can’t number my blessings any more than I can number the stars in the sky. Teach me self control . . . teach me to discipline my spirit when it makes inappropriate or unnecessary demands. I know I have so far to go, but teach me to crucify my flesh and do away with all profanity. In Jesus’ name, so be it.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” — Galatians 5:16-26 (ESV)

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