It’s 2 am in the morning right now and while most people are sleeping peacefully in their beds, I am awake as usual, plagued with thoughts with no sense of peace whatsoever.
This seems to be the consistent story of my life. I am not owning it, but I am just saying that its been a thing.
I really want to be as open as I can right now. It’ll leave me pretty wide open but I created Unfiltered Christianity for this purpose, for the not-so-together Christian to be not-so-together, and I hope someone, somewhere can relate.
I believe the issue is that I feel entitled in a way.
I feel like the world owes me a lot and despite all He has done and continues to do, I feel like God owes me just as much and maybe even more.
For the longest time, I have been crushed under the pressure of maintaining a particular image. I don’t even know why I do it or when it all started, but I feel that it’s so deeply ingrained into me that I can’t detect it most of the time nor am I able to fully comprehend it.
That is what makes it so dangerous.
I’ve put a lot of effort into improving all aspects of my life so I stand out. This I’ve done both consciously and subconsciously.
Spiritually I had to be competitive so that whenever I was within any religious circles I commanded an audience. Intellectually I’ve aimed to know as much as possible with as much specificity as possible so that no-one would take me for granted.
Emotionally, I wanted to be a man who loved everyone with his whole heart, investing a more than normal depth in every relationship I could afford.
Financially, I’ve always tried to be rock solid so that I would never have to ask anyone for help or depend on any man for any reason. Being rich has never been the goal for me- I’ve only wanted to be self-sustaining.
I feel entitled.
I’ve worked hard, I’ve studied hard, I’ve prayed hard, I’ve loved hard, I’ve forgiven hard.
I feel like I’ve been through a lot, with very little breaks in-between, that I have yet to experience a solid form of stability and peace and that all my good doing is yet to be repaid.
I feel a lot of things and most of them are not good for me because of this accompanying feeling of entitlement.
As a result of this messed up position, for the most part, I have started to assume that I need to give out a lot less output and receive a lot more input.
I deserve it, right?
Well, no. I don’t want to believe this anymore and I want to share why.
I know I have put a lot into this world, I am sure of that. There’s nothing special about what I have done (very hard to write) but I have poured myself out into people, companies, religion, family, relationships and everything else out there. Regardless of all of it, I have lost a lot. Lost a mum and dad within the space of a year, lost a home, lost a country, lost relationships, lost a lot of spiritual zeal, lost assets, was basically kicked out of a job, discovered lies told to me since I was a child and, in a way, I feel like I’ve lost a sister.
I’ve lost touch. It doesn’t matter what I’ve put in and how hard I’ve worked, there have certainly been more withdrawals. It is because of my certainty in all this that I feel entitled.
The Bible, the last thing I feel like quoting right now says, “do not grow weary of doing good because in due time you will reap the reward” (Galatians 6:9). God must’ve known that a time would come where we’d get so exhausted that we’d tire of trying. In another passage, Jesus wonders if, when He returns, He’ll find faith left on earth (Luke 18:8).
We choose not to pay attention to such texts, focusing on the so-called deeper things, and then wonder why we are so burdened and why we feel so certain that we are owed more by the world and God.
It is clear not only from those texts but from many others, and even the life of Christ that, in this life, we give more than we take. This is the straight and narrow. Trying to balance the balance sheet of life will only leave you as frustrated as I am.
I low-key envy some people and yet the bible does say “do not be covetous” (Exodus 20:17). I envy because I feel entitled. I look at what others have, and think to myself, “hey, after all, I have done, why don’t I have that, I deserve it too”.
You deserve that car, that house, that wife and, well, you can fill in the rest. And the sad truth, at least to our carnal eyes is that some people don’t work nearly as hard as you do and yet you remain in the negative.
He has that lovely wife, though he cheats on her. She has that job even though she does not have the degree, she earned it by her looks you think. He speaks so well, but he is so simple. Why is she so beautiful without putting half the effort you do?
Yet still, a wise man once said, “the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11).
On top of that, add that, “He makes rain to fall on the just and the wicked alike” (Matthew 5:45) then you have a recipe that is so anti-entitlement.
Funny how I know all this and yet I am still so messed up. Maybe that is the key I often forget to use to open the doors I encounter as I journey through life. I am messed up. Whatever good I do is all but filthy rags. Any ability I have to be excellent in anything is borrowed at best and even still I am not a good enough steward of it. For, how can I expect to have a better life than Jesus Christ? Even He, “made Himself of no reputation” though being fully God and able to claim entitlement to all things (Philippians 2:7-9).
But we take comfort in keeping score. We keep this ever-growing tally that makes us comfortable in ourselves, not perceiving what this is really doing is creating a wall between us and the world or between us and potentially answered prayers.
I’m rebuking myself here but hey, if you’re feeling convicted, welcome aboard.
We simply can’t expect to have it better than God because as Jesus Himself says, “the servant cannot be greater than his master” (John 15:20) and that despite all I’ve been through, I still have not “resisted unto blood” (Hebrews 12:4).
As I write this, I can hear God speak to my heart. I never intended this article to go this way. I actually just wanted to rant because I have been feeling so heavy of late. But He loves me, I know that. He wants me to be better but He still loves me and my currently entitled self.
The beautiful thing about God is that He is able to justly measure our past, understand our present and live in our future. He sees the whole picture.
While humans may judge you on your past (or see it as insignificant), use that to judge you in your present and inaccurately predict your future, Jesus sees it all now and adds it all up, ever willing to create something beautiful from it.
I have lost much and because of me and circumstances beyond me, I will continue to lose things. It is quite heavy to admit. But if I could only remain with Him, even though I do not yet comprehend that He is all I need.
Before I wrap up, I want to share something from a book I’m reading called “The Art of Not Giving a F*ck”.
In the book, the writer, Mark Mason, in one of the chapters, references two studies. One by psychologist Roy Baumeister and another by Stanley Milgram.
Basically, what was discovered in these studies was that people who felt entitled to something (power, the right of opinion etc) did not feel bad about the wrong things they did to others. They actually felt proud and happy! Why? Because they were certain that their actions were justified and that they were entitled to do whatever they wanted.
This is contrary to what we’re mostly told that people do bad things because they have low self-value.
When I look at myself, I think I am more messed up when I have way more self-value than is necessary. You cannot correct me because I am right. You cannot teach me because I know more. You will not take advantage of me because I am one step ahead of your plan. You cannot love me any more than I can love myself.
Yes, there are times when I have a low esteem of myself, but that is when I am most humble. When I feel too great, then I become a problem child.
It makes sense. No wonder why the core principle of Christianity is to “die to self” daily and to be humble all the time. It’s so easy to miss.
So yes, I am entitled and I know this isn’t good. I also know that, in and of myself, I am not special or unique, just flawed and filled with risk and uncertainty.
Its 4 am at the moment. Maybe I’ll be able to fall asleep now.