Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Uncategorized, Women's Ministries, Writers

Becoming UNentitled…

As I sit at my desk, on the cusp of a New Year, there are many thoughts rushing through my mind.

Will I make New Year’s Resolutions?  Will I keep those resolutions?  Should I not make any resolutions?  Do I really have to make any just because it’s “the thing” to do?  Oy vey!

So I’ve decided NOT to make any resolutions ~ I have decided to make an intentional decision to become UNentitled.

Entitlement is a word that is thrown around a lot these days.  Especially in terms of the younger generation of teens and early 20-somethings.  Here’s a shocker for you though…we all of bits of entitlement strewn around our life.  And it’s time to pick them up and get rid of all of it!

Just in case you are curious as to whether or not you walk around with any entitled attitudes, let’s start with my favorite thing to do ~ word study!  To give this little exercise a bit more gravity, insert the word “yourself” in place of  “a person”…if  you really want the impact, read the definition out loud.

Here we go…According to the dictionary, ‘entitle’ or ‘entitlement’ means: 1. to give (a person or thing) a title, right, or claim to something; furnish with grounds for laying claim.  2. to give (a person) the right to do or have something; qualify; allow.

Still don’t see it?  How about this…have you ever said any one (or more) of the following:

*It’s my right to be upset.  That person cut me off on the freeway.

*It’s my right to be offended.  She was rude to me.

*I’m allowed to angry.  My kids don’t listen to me.

*I’m allowed to be irritated.  My husband doesn’t notice what I’ve done all day around the house.  Do the clothes magically clean themselves?

*It’s my right to hurt. No one understands me and no one really cares about me.

*I’m allowed to sit in my pj’s all days, watch my dvr’d shows, and let everyone fend for themselves because I’m just plain old tired. (yeah..no…this one isn’t personal or anything…)

To be truthful and honest…I’ve been there at various points in my life and have muttered these phrases (and probably others that are just as inane) and felt completely justified in doing so.

                      God’s Word is full of proof that the                             exact opposite is true.  

We are not entitled to anything except death, without trusting in the Lord to save us from our sins.

Proverbs 18:2 (HCSB) is pretty clear as to what kind of person we are not to be, “A fool does not delight in understanding, but only wants to show off his opinions.”

To be even more clear, in Jesus’ own words He tells us how we are to live our life.  Matthew 16:24-26 (HCSB) says, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it. What will it benefit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?”

We don’t like words like ‘deny’ or ‘lose your life’ ~ those do not resonate with our sinful nature of doing whatever we want, when we want, and how we want.  The challenge is there but becomes less when we do follow the Lord and take up the things in our heart that are actions and issues that Jesus loves and is concerned about.

Whether you are a parent or not, you have undoubtedly come across the infamous outpouring of emotional trauma when someone cries out to you, “It’s not fair!”  Oh, that’s my favorite (she says with a smirk!)  My girls know what my response to them will be…every time they say it….”The fair happens once a year and it’s where you can get funnel cake.  Move on.  Life’s not fair.”  I know they hate it when I say it, but I say it with a smile.  Most of the time, they have no idea that that little phrase and the half-smile on my face is what is saving them from a total mommy freak out!

There is responsibility we have to take when we sin and are disobedient.  We do not get to pick and choose what rules apply to our lives.  Simply because we don’t like certain scriptures in the Bible, or laws of the land, or rules in a household, does not preclude us from being accountable when we stray from those statutes.

Ezekiel 18:25-27 (HCSB) says,But you say, ‘The Lord’s way isn’t fair.’  Now listen, house of Israel: Is it My way that is unfair? Instead, isn’t it your ways that are unfair?  When a righteous person turns from his righteousness and practices iniquity, he will die for this. He will die because of the iniquity he has practiced.  But if a wicked person turns from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he will preserve his life.”

Our generation of children do not have the corner market on the “it’s not fair” statements. The Israelite’s of the Old Testament have been saying it way before them!

Read that last sentence in Ezekiel again.  What a beautiful promise the Lord gives us!  When we turn away from what we think is our “right” and what we “are allowed” to do, and turn toward the Lord and what He calls us to do, He will ‘preserve our life’ and He will do it immediately!!

On a total side note, a really fun thing that is happening right now as I finish writing this post, is that I have a house full of teens ~ all Seniors in high school…about 25 of them…and they are delightfully loud and full of joy!  They are getting ready to surprise one of their friends for her 18th birthday.  My daughter has been decorating all day and preparing for this event.  The exact opposite of entitlement.  All of these amazing young people have chosen to set aside their own agendas, their own plans, in order to honor one of their friends and make her feel special.  I love this and I’m so excited to be a “fly on the wall” as I listen to them excitedly plan where to hide and when to yell, “SURPRISE!”

How will you lay aside your “rights” this New Year?  How will you decide to set aside your agenda in order to honor your friends? Your family?  What will you do when you feel the ugliness of entitlement begin to rise in your heart?

Stop and breathe and pray!

Whatever we ask of the Lord, that is according to HIS purposes and goals for our life, He will easily and surely give to you.  When you ask Him to give you a patient heart with your children (no matter how old they are!), when you ask the Lord to give you grace with the people driving slower than you on the freeway, when you feel offended by someone does or says, when you feel unappreciated ~ ask the Lord to fill you with His peace…with His goodness…with His grace.

And He will absolutely and perfectly do just that!

Enter each day with an attitude of service ~ trade out the entitlement and choose to find those ways to bless others.  You will not be disappointed when you follow the path that God has for you.

hebrews-4-verse-16-2

Blessings,

René

 

 

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Uncategorized, Women's Ministries, Writers

Bootstraps break…

We’ve all probably heard the familiar phrase, “Just pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” ~ or at least something like it.  Maybe you’ve said it to you someone, or you’ve had it said back to you.  It’s phrase that is supposed to muster up courage and admiration, whether in yourself or in someone else.  But does it really?

Have you ever put on cowboy boots?  They have those looped straps on the outside of each boot, so they do serve a purpose.  When those cowboys are out on the range all by themselves, they needed something to help them get their boots on…and the cows couldn’t help out!  And really….could you see a couple of cowboys helping each other put on their boots.  Hahaha!!  Those bootstraps fulfilled a purpose; and fairly quickly became a “self help” slogan.  No where in the Bible does God teach us to do anything on our own.  Even the Lord Jesus taught us that it is important to partner with each other, and more importantly, partner with the God of the Universe!

In John 7:16-18, Jesus shares these wise words,So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.”

Again, although this phrase is meant to be a compliment/encouragement, there are some hidden dangers you’ll encounter when you try and pull yourself up by those hypothetical bootstraps.

One of the first dangers that come to mind is pride.  The infamous verse in Proverbs (16:18) is known by most people, Christian or not ~ “pride goeth before the fall.”  When we have an attitude of pride, we cannot always see clearly the circumstances that require us to pull up said bootstraps.  We’re so busy looking down, struggling to get our feet to go where we want to go, that we will miss the path that God has for us.

Look at Jesus’ words in John 5:30-31, “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true.” He was Jesus!  The Son of God!  The Messiah!  The Savior of the world!  And even He knew that He could not do anything on His own…He had to commit His ways to the Father God.

John 5 verse 30 and 31

The only thing that you could even remotely say that Jesus did on his own, was His death on the cross.  However, in this action, He was given full authority and ownership to lay down His life for our sins.  Jesus, the Son of God, knew what the outcome would be and He went willingly; Jesus, the Son of Man, knew what the outcome would be but needed a charge from His heavenly Father to complete the task.

See here in John 10:17-18 the simple beauty of obedience alongside serving the Father,For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

When we believe the lies of the world, tv media, social media, and let’s face it…our own thoughts sometimes…and strike out purely on our own to accomplish something, we are not walking in the truth of God’s word.

But what if that thing, that task, whatever it is that we “pulled up our bootstraps on our own” goes amazing well?!  What then?!  My friends, these are the moments that satan uses to blind us to our need for fellowship and obedience to the Father.  We start believing the lie that we don’t need God and maybe, we don’t need anyone else.  This kind of thinking is cute when it’s a toddler saying, “I do it myself.”, but it is not cute the older we get.  As we mature in our relationship with the Lord, we are learning to lean on Him and others more and more!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help!

Yep…you heard me right!  Sure, there are plenty of things we can do on our own ~ seeing to our basic needs, driving a car, paying bills, laundry, cooking, etc.  But even in those things, there will come a time in our life where we will need help with those basic tasks as well.

To give you some encouragement to ask for help (from others and from the Lord!) let the kindness of these verses wash over your tired soul ~ from John 15:12-14, This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.”

The more you continue to pull up on those bootstraps of yours, with your own strength and determination, the more you will wear them out ~ and they will break.  Trust me ~ you don’t want to be out all alone on the prairie of life somewhere with broken bootstraps.  Oh how much the Lord will welcome you into His arms, when you come to Him asking for direction in your life…and He will fix those broken bootstraps of yours as well!

Psalm 37:23-24, A man’s steps are established by the Lord,
and He takes pleasure in his way.  Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the Lord holds his hand.”

Blessings,

René

Psalm 37 verse 23 and 24