A friend of mine told me a story from a conference she recently attended called Catalyst. A speaker, Craig Groeschel, asked people of the older generations at the conference to describe the younger generation. He kept hearing one word repetedly. It started with an “E”. Groeschel asked the younger attendees what they thought that “E” word was. “Enthusiastic,” “Exceptional,” “Encouraging,” and others, but they were wrong. The word used to describe the younger generation by the older was “Entitled.”
Wait, what? They think we act entitled? Where are they getting that?
When I heard this story I knew exactly what the “E” word was (Well for one I brought up the discussion about entitlement). I have been wrestling with my feelings of entitlement a lot lately. But the funny thing about the older generations calling us entitled is that they raised us to be that way, to expect things from life, to expect to succeed if we did x,y, and z. But regardless of how we got here, we are here none the less.
I realized the other day that my sense of entitlement is cramping my style. It is hard for me to be excited about what is going on in my life when it doesn’t measure up to the success I feel like I deserve. I went to college, got a degree (thanks Mom and Dad!), and now I work as an hourly employee on my feet all day. I like my job, it has benefits, pays well, and is a perfectly good job. It is hard for me to be excited about it because it doesn’t spell success like I was raised to spell it, and I don’t feel like I am applying much, if any, of my undergraduate studies. So truth number one:
We are not guaranteed that if we do A, then B will follow.
A “real” job does not just come to you when you graduate college. The opportunity for said job certainly increases, but one does not deserve a job just because they have a piece of paper saying they are “smart” or “accomplished”. What is the old saying? “Nothing in life is guaranteed but death and taxes.” That is true…
I experience entitlement spiritually as well. I grew up in a time when check-list christianity was rampant. You know what I am talking about. Have a 30 minute quiet time everyday, go to church every sunday, don’t cuss, drink, or have sex, and pray before you eat. Do those things, and you are good with God. But just like entitlement doesn’t really work in the real world, it doesn’t work with God either.
In fact, God says our self-righteousness is just dirty rags to Him. Our check-list or good works, they do nothing to move our entitlement. In reality, the beauty of the gospel is that we deserve death, but God, in His grace and mercy, withholds what we are actually entitled to by sending Jesus to take that for us, and then He gives us His Kingdom instead.
So, God can be trusted to do what is best for me always. I need to let go of what I think I deserve and trust that what God has planned is going to be far better. I just wish there was a check-list to help me get to that place.