“I couldn’t get into the pool or the shower today because they were so crowded,” I huffed to the administrator at my local gym. Before she could reply I stomped out the door.
Immediately I was convicted. The little voice deep inside said, “Laura, you were extremely rude to that woman. You have no right to talk to her that way. Go back and apologize — now!”
I’ve been in this place before. I hate it. The familiar sinking feeling after I have allowed annoyance and indignation to spew out of my mouth onto an innocent bystander was upon me. I had to turn around and tell the woman how sorry I was for speaking to her in an offensive manner. She accepted my apology but the outburst left a weight on my soul.
The plague of “I’m entitled” had once again attacked and captured my thoughts. This particular time it was due to overcrowding in my local gym which prevented me from completing my exercises. I knew it was time to capture and wrestle my arrogant attitude to the ground.
The best way to dissolve the suffocating tentacles of vanity or entitlement is to replace the thoughts with gratitude. Therefore, over a cup of coffee, (which let’s face it perks up any negative situation), I began to list things related to the pool incident for which I’m grateful.
- “Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to live in Florida in a climate where I can swim often.”
- “Thank you, Lord, that I am healthy enough to swim, there are many who cannot. Including my three friends, (named them) who are currently struggling with major health issues.”
- “Thank you, Lord, that I live in a country where I am free to come and go as I please.”
- “Thank you, Lord, for placing me in a subdivision where the pool and gym are easily accessible.”
- “Thank you, Lord, that I don’t have to pay an extra fee to use these facilities.”
- “Thank you, Lord, that I have a job that is flexible which allows me time to go to the pool.”
- “Thank you, Lord, for immediately convicting me of my inappropriate and distasteful behavior.”
- “Thank you, Lord, for your discipline. Even though it hurts I know you are a good Daddy who loves me enough to tell me when I’m wrong.”
- “Thank you, Lord, for your patience with me, and for forgiving me when I sin.”
After pondering this list my negative attitude transformed into gratitude. I was no longer focused on how my “rights” had been violated at the gym that morning. Rather my focus shifted, which renewed joy into my mind, heart, and soul.
In a society where everything is so self-centered, it’s easy to become consumed with an entitlement perspective. However, a persistent focus on what I deserve turns into narcissism and pride. Those emotions typically lead to loneliness, frustration, and emptiness. When I’m focused on me I’m not very enjoyable to be around.
This doesn’t mean we should never take time for ourselves, or live as a doormat letting people walk all over us. There is a huge difference between being kind and being an enabler. When I have a humble attitude, I’m placing the other person’s interests above my own. This leads to a heart that is at rest, and a mind that is at peace.
Jesus knew this all too well when he said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45Copyright © 2013 Laura Petherbridge. All rights reserved.