Freedom From Entitlement

quote from post with a floral designed graphic

 

What happens when you lost a document? One you remember writing, reading to your husband, and setting aside to share here two weeks later, yet you can’t remember its title nor seem to find it no matter how many times and ways you search your documents folder?

You re-share a piece from … 2017, updated slightly to make sense when read five years later. Wow, five years. Is it a sign of aging when half a decade seemed to zip by? 

And now, back to our regular programming … or blogging. (And thank you in advance for your grace!)

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When in the middle of a crisis, one word dominates my mind—help! I’d do anything, give up anything, if only God would come through. But oh how quickly pride and entitlement creep in, once the chaos has passed.

It was maybe ten years ago, we were living in a beautiful, spacious home in a gated community, attended a church we loved, and I spent my days doing what I loved—homeschooling our daughter.

In a flash, everything changed, leaving me scrambling, fearful, and crying out for aid.

Our daughter and I were sitting at the breakfast bar, completing her lessons, when I heard the familiar screech-rumble of the garage door opening. I glanced at the time, finding it strange that my husband would come home so early.

When he walked past me without a word a moment later, heading straight for our bedroom, I knew something was wrong.

I immediately followed.

The defeat I saw in his eyes tore at my heart, but what he said after weakened my knees.

That morning began a six-month bout of unemployment that left us scrambling and me crying out to God, “Help us, please! Fix this.”

Then one day, He did. By this point, we’d depleted the last of our savings, and, with all our belongings in storage, we’d moved to a 500 square-foot, furnished, rent-by-the-month apartment. My husband had found temporary contract work while continuing to seek something more permanent.

It’s interesting what happens, when life hits hard and everything is reduced to necessity. In that tiny apartment, with its cheap used furniture, paper-thin walls, and stained and torn linoleum, I learned to become content. To rejoice, actually, in what I had. By taking away our big, fancy house and all the other fluff I’d come to rely on, God granted me an incredible gift—the ability to cherish those things that mattered most—time with my husband and daughter.

So when His aid came and He opened a door for my husband at Union Pacific railroad in Kansas City, MO, I thought I’d arrived. I’d learned my lesson, had found contentment, and could move forward, receiving God’s blessings with open hands.

Open hands that, once they quit clinging to Christ, quickly grasped and strived, until my easily-swayed heart became consumed with a sense of entitlement. It started while house hunting. Needless to say, our budget had changed drastically, and the houses our realtor showed us looked much different than the large, newly built home we’d frantically sold in Louisiana. As we toured smaller, older, and less aesthetically appealing homes, a sense of entitlement emerged, initiating an ugly and growing discontentment.

It was as if I’d forgotten all God had done—how He’d held my family together, kept us from debt, and provided for us at just the right time.

I had fallen into the same pattern the Israelites had, after God miraculously freed them from slavery to Egypt, provided for them in the desert, and personally led them, by a pillar of fire by night and a sun-shielding cloud by day, to the Promised Land.

“They forgot what He had done—the great wonders He had shown them” (Psalm 78:11 NLT).

They forgot and became discontent, and their discontentment turned their hearts from God, from the One who saved them, the One who loved them, and who cared for them as a parent for their young.

There’s danger in forgetting. Or perhaps I should say, there’s incredible power in remembering all God’s done. It frees us from entitlement, keeps us humble, grateful, and I believe, surrendered with a heart that’s ready to receive whatever God has for us.

Let’s talk about this! Do you ever find yourself slipping into a sense of entitlement? Do you notice, when you do, that your discontentment and misery increases? What do you do to stay centered in gratitude and surrender? In what ways has God used life circumstances to purge the sense of entitlement from you? Share your stories, suggestions, and examples with us, because we can all learn from each other!

And make sure to check out the latest Your Daily Bible Verse podcast!

 

God Rescues Us (2 Corinthians 1:10) Your Daily Bible Verse

Today’s Bible Verse: He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us" – 2 Corinthians 1:10   Want to listen without the ads? Become a BibleStudyTools.com PLUS Member today: https://www.biblestudytools.com/subscribe/   MEET OUR HOSTS:   JENNIFER SLATTERY is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at https://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com   Follow Jennifer: https://www.lifeaudio.com/faith-over-fear/  https://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte https://www.instagram.com/slatteryjennifer/    CAROL MCCRACKEN is a Christian communicator who teaches women Biblical truths through real-life application and humor to connect them to their God-given purpose. Carol has been a Bible teacher for twenty years and served on church staff and in women's ministry for three decades.   Follow Carol: https://www.carolmccracken.com/   REVEREND DR. KYLE NORMAN is the Rector of St. Paul’s Cathedral, located in Kamloops BC, Canada.  He holds a doctorate in Spiritual formation and is a sought-after writer, speaker, and retreat leader. His writing can be found at Christianity.com, crosswalk.com, ibelieve.com, Renovare Canada, and many others.  He also maintains his own blog revkylenorman.ca.  He has 20 years of pastoral experience, and his ministry focuses on helping people overcome times of spiritual discouragement.   Follow Rev. Kyle: https://revkylenorman.ca/   JOY A. WILLIAMS is a writer and speaker who is amazed her first name became her life’s mission. As life happens in ways that baffle us or bring us joy, she loves exploring how those moments can bring us closer to God.  She is a member of the “First 5” writing team at Proverbs 31 ministries. As a licensed minister, she serves as a teacher for the Women’s Bible Study and the Married Couples Ministry at her church.  Joy is a wife and mother and she shares encouragement on the “Joy to the Soul” blog.  Subscribe to receive the newest posts and updates at joyawilliams.com.   Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest   Read Joy’s 7-day Bible reading plans: “Live Your Joy Story” and “When Easy Doesn’t Live Here: Living by Faith When Life Is Hard” on the YouVersion Bible app.   JESSICA VAN ROEKEL loves the upside-down life of following Jesus as she journeys to wholeness through brokenness. As an author, speaker, and worship leader, she uses her gifts and experiences to share God’s transformative power to rescue, restore, and renew. She is the author of Reframing Rejection: How Looking Through a Different Lens Changes Everything.   Jessica and her husband have two adult daughters spreading their wings, and two high schoolers, a son and daughter, fluttering their wings as they edge closer to the nest. Connect with her at welcomegrace.com and reframingrejection.com. Discover more Christian podcasts at lifeaudio.com and inquire about advertising opportunities at lifeaudio.com/contact-us.
  1. God Rescues Us (2 Corinthians 1:10)
  2. Joy for the Devastated Heart (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
  3. At the Temple Wall (Psalm 66:19)
  4. Where Is Your Hiding Place? (Psalm 32:7)
  5. When the Church Is Messy (Matthew 18:15)

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6 Comments

  1. oh man its the worst, i had a lot of blessing and assumed things would stay that way, When they didnt and God took it all way i saw how ugly my heart was

    1. I can so relate to that, jandjcreative! My heart often seems so fickle! I can understand the sentiment behind Proverbs 30:8 where the writer asks God to give him neither riches nor poverty. But thank goodness, whenever my heart does start to stray and become consumed with self, pride, or entitlement, God lovingly brings me back. What a patient, gracious Father we have! <3

  2. Jennifer, this is such an interesting post. I never truly got to the point where I felt I had “arrived,” so losses were somewhat easier to deal with in some ways, but harder in other ways. By learning contentment with less, I struggle with pride and judgment of others over their material possessions. There are so many forms of pride, and it is so sinful. Wanting more and more and that sense of entitlement is pride in action. The only way to escape the pride whether from having greener grass or from the weeds that mean you’ve chosen to give to the church rather than buy weed killing fertilizer…is to surrender the pride to Jesus. He’s got it covered with His blood. Thank God for His eternal perspective.

    1. Beautiful, Janice, and thanks for sharing so transparently! By far, pride and selfishness are my biggest struggles! Praise God for His convicting and molding Holy Spirit!

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