I am passionate about going after all God has for you and I. Jeremiah 29:11 declares God’s good plan for each of us. We serve the God of abundance and He is a great gift giver. But there are times I have to remind myself that God is not obligated to meet all my wants and desires. After all, He is God and in His sovereignty He knows better than I what my best life looks like.
So in our pursuit of God’s best, let us not wander into an entitlement mindset. The entitlement mindset is one which declares “I deserve this!” It is rooted in the need to fill the emptiness in our lives with idols. These space fillers can be unhealthy relationships, material possessions, titles, or accolades. It moves away from a heart of gratitude and steps over into the dangerous ground of pride, greed, and envy.
Some ways to tell if you have slipped into an entitlement mindset is to honestly evaluate your response to the following statements:
- When I hear of someone being blessed with something I’ve prayed for I think “That should have been me.”
- I often find it hard to celebrate the success of others because their success makes me feel uncomfortable.
- I spend more time talking about (or complaining about) what I don’t have rather than talking about the blessings which are in my life.
- When I feel empty, alone, or unhappy one way I can make myself feel better is to go buy something even if it financially doesn’t fit in my budget.
- If others would help me more I would be further ahead in my career, goals, and dreams.
- I often resist making plans for my future because if God wants to bless me He can just do it without my help.
- Why should I have to work hard to get ahead when others just have good things fall into their lap?
The entitlement mindset is one which will keep you in a place of mental bondage. It prevents you from being able to find contentment and peace in the process of working with God. It’s easy to get frustrated when you hear of how God is blessing others often with the very things you have been praying about. Avoid allowing a calloused attitude to arise in this place of unmet desire.
Keep your heart soft. Stay in a place of gratitude. Seek first God’s presence and become reacquainted with His ways. Practice being happy for the blessings other receive and soon you will genuinely be happy about their successes. You will no longer see their accomplishments as a threat to your success, but rather as examples of God’s grace in each journey.
Ask God to guide your steps daily. Be alert to the enemy’s plans to sidetrack your progress by keeping you busy with things which lead you away from God’s best. Embrace the process of moving into the success God has for you. Your journey may have more hills and valleys than the next woman, but that’s what makes every individual story interesting.
Gain an understanding of the need to co-labor with God. Yes, God could fulfill every dream or goal you have without you lifting a finger. It could happen, but chances are far better that you are going to have to persists through some resistance. You will be required to stretch and grow in your faith and your knowledge of who He is in your life. Just look at the Israelites. Their journey to the Promised Land took them straight through the wilderness. It was there that they had to learn to trust God for daily bread and to be thankful for it. Don’t waste too much time complaining or you may find yourself going around the same mountain year after year.
Break the Entitlement Mindset
Develop an attitude of gratitude
Begin each day thanking God for all that He has given you: your family, your health, His promises in the Word of God, mercy, grace, and another day to be thankful. Look for opportunities to thank people for their work and the blessing they have given you.
Be a giver
Make an effort to look for opportunities you can give to others rather than focusing on what you think you deserve from others. Liberally give the good gifts of compliments, smiles, and thanking people for their work.
Recognize entitlement syndrome
You won’t have to try hard to hear friends, co-workers, or even your own children whining about what they deserve. Purpose in your heart to be one who directs others back to focusing more on the blessings than what they don’t have.
Cultivate more intimacy with God
What if your greatest desire was to be in God’s presence? Make time to read His Word. Be a good steward of your time. Spend time in His Word and dedicate time to prayer. The one thing you do deserve is more of God in your life.
Evaluate your work ethic
When you hear yourself saying you deserve something, stop and ask yourself why you think you deserve it. Be responsible in your dealings and do your work with excellence.
Break free from the entitlement mindset of “I deserve” and begin living in the empowerment of a mindset which declares “Now unto him who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all I can ask or think according to the power at work in me.” (Ephesians 3:20) This is the same power which raised Christ from the dead and it is all the power you will ever need for any task in your journey to God’s best for your life.