Attitude of Gratitude

21 Feb 2015

I grew up in a very privileged family. Our house was the biggest house in town and we were the richest. We had servants that did work both inside and outside, including nannies that cared for us when we were young. I grew up traveling the world and attended a private school. Yes, indeed I lived the life of the rich and famous. That is until….

Our family returned to the U.S. from central Africa where my parents were missionaries. Suddenly, by comparison, we were the po’ folk. My parents went from church to church ‘begging’ for money, we lived in rented homes, we moved often, being the new kids in town, and we received donated used clothing. We never quite fit in.

Now, again I live a very privileged life. I have in a beautiful home in a new neighborhood. My husband and I enjoy 24/7 electricity and all the accompanying gadgets, making household servants unnecessary.  I work part-time, and yes, still enjoy traveling the world. With a private vehicle, I can move about the city at my pleasure in air-conditioned comfort.

As I reflect on my life, I think I have lived a very privileged life. I’ve never gone hungry, have financial reserves for emergencies and retirement, enjoy a wide network of friends, and still have a loving family who are always there for me. And I have a profession that is meaningful and contributes to God’s purposes, as I understand them.

But I don’t feel entitled to any of it. Yes, I’ve worked hard and made some wise choices (and a few foolish ones) over the years that have resulted in my privileged life. But others have also made wise choices but suffered tragedies that wiped out all advantage.

I live my life out of the God’s grace. My life is not something I deserve, no matter how hard I worked for it.

When I encounter an attitude of entitlement, it seems to do a couple of things:

  1. It separates me from community. If I’m entitled, then others are not. It puts me above others in a way that diminishes relationship.
  2. It drastically reduces an attitude of gratitude. If I ‘deserve’ something, then I don’t need to be thankful, because, after all, it should have been mine all along!

Entitlement lends itself to jealousy and resentment if I don’t get all that I feel entitled to, be it respect from others or more stuff!

Because I live such a privileged life, I think of this often. I try to remember that an entitlement attitude will cut me off from living the life I truly want.

I want to live a life of service and gratitude and thereby make a positive impact in my community.

Royalty-free image by Dean Smith in the United States. Retrieved from: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1442478

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