Thursday, July 01, 2010

Entitlement vs. Gratitutde

I read something that stuck in my craw, as it were. A woman who has MUCH to be thankful for right now (stuff far beyond a roof over her head and clothes on her back) was instead angry because her family did not have the money available to go on a vacation this summer. Although I understand that everyone struggles with junky thinking from time to time, I find this sort of thing really frustrating.

I remember back when my husband and I were first married. I was friends with a woman who was about ten years older than myself. She complained about our small town and lack of cultural activities (though we were only a half hour from a city that did have these things), about her home that she considered too small and modest (although it was perfectly fine, she had nice furnishings, and more than met their needs), and about her husband's income that did not provide for nice vacations each year. Even as a 20 year old I could see how much gratitude was missing from her mindset.

I once knew a homeschool mom who acted like she lived in an unfortunate shack. They had a premature baby and I volunteered to go over and help her one day. I was amazed to arrive at her house and see how really, really, REALLY nice it was, how lovely all of the furniture was, etc. It made me kind of amazed and horrified about how much she had complained publicly about her home.

I always feel a little sorry for husbands of unthankful women. Most of them seem to be hard working and gainfully employed with at least one job, if not more, and here they are with a wife who values a bigger house, newer furniture, vacations, high maintenance hair and nails, or whatever else, more than she values building up her husband and family and cultivating an attitude of gratitude. A person like this usually has no end to what they want and what they feel they deserve. If her husband provides a vacation, next year she'll want to go away for longer, to a more exciting destination. If she goes to the spa for her birthday, next she'll want to go every month or so. If she gets something special, it's ruined because now she has a taste of one more thing that she now wants MORE of. How are the children supposed to grow up with right attitudes if this is the example they see every day? The attitude of "what I have is not good enough. I deserve more. I will never be satisfied. You are not giving me enough." It's no wonder our culture continues to think they should get everything for nothing, that credit card spending continues, that thrift is a mystery, that simple pleasures are seen as an ancient oddity.

When we believe that we are entitled to things, that seems to be when we set ourselves up for trouble. When we feel we are entitled to a vacation, a certain amount of spending money, more time for ourselves, what happens when we cannot have those things?

Sure, it's nice to have things that make life easier or nicer. But can you manage to be just as thankful without it? With less? Do you have an inner attitude that results in happiness even if the car breaks down, the money is tight, and you are going to stay home?

To me, remembering all that we have to be thankful for is powerful. When you are deeply thankful and know how greatly you are blessed just as you are, it tends to crowd out the stinkin' thinkin' and whining about what we do not have, and our endless wandering eye over all the things we want that seem out of reach.

I love the song More Than Enough from Jana Stanfield. If you have an opportunity to buy her album Brave Faith, do it. It is so positive and uplifting. I sometimes sing it to myself through my day. Here are the words:

More Than Enough

Hey na na na na na more than enough

(Chorus) I have more than enough
Of all that I need
To do all I can do
Be all I can be
As I go through this day
This is my creed
I have more than enough
Of all that I need
I have more than enough
Of all that I need

Is there anyone who can't remember a time
When you had less money and you did just fine
Compared to where we were we've come all this far
Why not spend the day enjoying where we are

Take a quick look back at dreams of yesterday
Dreams of living the life that you live today
We spend so much time wanting so much more
When there's plenty here to be thankful for

1 comment:

Kat said...

Great post! Whenever I do bemoan something about my life I almost automatically feel terribly guilty as I KNOW how blessed I am.