“You don’t take a three-year-old and say ‘Go get a college degree.’ You don’t let a three-year-old play in traffic. But you do let a three-year-old have a timeout for not picking up their building blocks. When you don’t allow that child to struggle with an age-appropriate challenge, they become weak, they become fearful, and they become spoiled.”
Entitlement can be planted in our minds at an early age. Dr. John Townsend says that it is important to let our children struggle in order to grow.
But what steps can we take if we are living with the entitled mindset as an adult? It’s never too late to change your ways, but it starts with gaining insight. Here are three things you can do to move from entitled to thankful and humble.
Pray Psalm 139.
“Go to God humbly and pray Psalm 139, ‘Search me and know me. Try my anxious heart and see if there are any hurtful ways in me’.”
Praying Psalm 139 begins to chip away at entitlement.
“We have a big God that loves us so much He doesn’t want us to have distance from Him, and He will help us. It’s our way of saying ‘God, I’m on Your operating table.'”
Get around safe, accepting, growth-oriented and honest people.
These three character traits are essential in people who will encourage and call you out as needed.
“They are safe because they can’t have any condemnation toward you; we all shrink from condemnation. They are accepting because when they know everything about you, you can trust that they are not going to bail on you. Growth-oriented because they are submitted to the process of growth themselves. They are people who truthfully say, “I’ve noticed that you blame your boss for everything.” Or “I’ve noticed that you tell everybody it’s always your kids or your wife…” In a loving way they get in your face and they start to change you.”
Begin to observe your day and ask these questions.
Ask yourself, am I operating in a healthy way? Am I loving? Am I holding on to my boundaries? Am I doing what I should do?
“Am I taking care of life in a healthy way? and secondly, how am I impacting other people?”
It’s a challenging process, and one that forces us to lay down what we want in the moment to let God work in our hearts, but it’s worth it. When we start to see our selfish tendencies and let others speak into our lives, we can redirect our focus to God.
Dr. John Townsend is a leadership coach, organizational consultant, psychologist and best-selling author. He consults with corporations, family-owned businesses and small businesses. He is the author of The Entitlement Cure.
Featured Songs: The Maker by Chris August; Not for a Moment by Meredith Andrews; ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus by Steven Curtis ChapmanThe danger of entitlement