Best vs. Easy; Habits I
Luke 17:10 “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” (NIV)
Today, we dive straight into the habits of choosing what is best over what is easy. The first is, change ‘I deserve’ to ‘I am responsible’. ‘I deserve’ is a dangerous phrase. A son walks up to his Dad and says, ‘Dad, I deserve a new video game.’ No, you do not! Daughter walks up to Mum and says, ‘I deserve a new dress for Christmas.’ No, you do not! What makes you think you deserve it? You do not deserve it. I deserve a new pair of shoes. No, you do not. Since I am going to university, I deserve a car. No, you do not deserve a car. I deserve a better life. No! I deserve a good marriage. Who says you do? Whoever said so has been lying to you.
Neuroscientists and psychologists tell us that the phrase, ‘I deserve’ is disempowering. In other words, when you say ‘I deserve xyz’ whatever xyz may symbolize to you, it disempowers you. It has you sitting and waiting for someone else to do something. If in a marriage, one person says, ‘I deserve to be loved in this marriage’, it makes the person powerless. The person just sits and waits for the other person to love them and until that happens, they will not be happy. That is a dangerous place to be. I deserve to be respected in this house. Really? You do not deserve anything. I know some people may be wondering what I am saying but this is the truth. You cannot hinge your happiness on what you deserve; it disempowers you; it takes power away from you. I deserve a new job and I deserve better pay. No, you do not. But look at my qualifications, I deserve… No, you do not. Change ‘I deserve’ to ‘I am responsible’.
‘I am responsible’ is an empowering phrase. Now compare the phrase ‘I deserve a good job’ to the phrase, ‘I am responsible for getting a new job for myself.’ The people that say, ‘I deserve a new job’ typically sit around waiting, being angry and grumpy, not grateful for what they have. But when someone says, ‘I am responsible for getting a new job’, what do you think it does to the person? It empowers him or her to get up and search, to dust up his or her resume and begin to network, make calls, send emails because he or she feels responsible. Replace ‘I deserve a harmonious marriage’ with ‘I am responsible for making my marriage harmonious.’ Imagine what would happen if both parties in a marriage take ownership, take responsibility for pleasuring the other person. What will happen to that marriage?
I deserve to be loved. I deserve to be respected. I deserve ice-cream. Folks need to wake up and change ‘I deserve’ to ‘I am responsible’. Same thing with work; change ‘I deserve a promotion’, ‘I deserve a pay raise’ to ‘it is my responsibility to provoke my promotion and pay raise’. When you move from ‘I deserve financial security’ to ‘I am responsible for my financial security’, you are motivated to get up and to do what you need to do. For example, to earn some, save some, invest some and be financially secure. Do not say ‘I deserve’, say ‘I am responsible’.
Prayer: Father, I ask for the grace to be grateful and not entitled, to take responsibility for provoking a harvest in my life even as I trust You for lifting, in Jesus Name. Amen!