Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dispelling Entitlement

Sometimes when I go running, I have epiphanies.  This is the latest epiphany I had.

People feel entitled.  They feel as though they deserve __________.  Case in point, the middle one of the kiddos that I nanny, feels that he deserves to have someone play with him.  When there is no one to play, he becomes angry.  He can list many reasons that he deserves this right.

I feel entitled to decent weather.  When it snows in April and May, I get angry (and simmer on the inside).  I deserve some decent weather to exercise and drive in. {Interesting sidenote: according to merrian-webster.com, the first use of the word entitlement was in 1942.}

So as I ran, I pondered, "What dispels entitlement?  How can I go from feeling entitled to joy?"

In middle school and high school Sunday School (which Ian and I lead), our teens are currently studying Philippians.  There are four themes to Philippians: Joy in Suffering, Joy in Serving, Joy in Knowing Jesus, and Joy in Contentment.  We have talked a lot about the difference between joy and happiness.  Happiness is a temporary emotion.  Joy is an attitude of the heart (and therefore joy is a choice).

One of the best ways I have learned to cultivate joy in my life is thankfulness.  Even if our circumstances does not change, our perspective can.  The grass is greenest where you water it.

So my running epiphany last week was this: Thankfulness dispels entitlement.  I am not sure if this is 100% true, but it helps me.  I used to have a hard time being thankful.  I would think of some poor kid in Africa (sorry SAffers) that was starving in the blazing hot sun and try to well up some form of gratitude.  In the back of my mind, I would be thinking, "what is that kid thankful for?"

Then God hit me in the head.  Sure, I can be thankful for material possessions and different circumstances in my life, but I can always be thankful for who God is and what God has done.  Always.

The next time it snows in June (that does not really happen in Colorado...right?), I have a choice.  I can throw an internal tantrum or I can choose to be thankful that God is good.  Thankful that God is sovereign.  Thankful that God is holy.  Thankful that God redeems.  In the midst of inconvience (to me), God has a plan that He is working out.  God is still saving sinners.

Less of me...More of Him.

Let's chat - what are your thoughts?  Sometimes my running epiphanies have holes in them, that I do not see.  What can you be thankful for despite circumstances?


  1. Very good Alissa! Yes, we do need to be more deliberate about thankfulness. Really hope your snow is gone now!:-)

    1. Oh the snow is gone. It is in the 90s (32C and hotter) now but it cools off a lot at night. Thanks Kerry!