Our Festering Wounds: Anger and Entitlement

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
It bites. Then it stings as it slips down into your spirit. It festers. It bleeds internally until your whole being is infected- anger destroys.



During my last year of college, I realized how angry I had become. I was angry about my emotional disorders- anxiety, depression, and OCD. I was angry that I couldn't seem to shake them. I was angry at God for not taking them away instantly. And I was angry at myself for not doing the things that I knew would help me- spending time in God's word, eating healthy, going to a counselor, etc.

Since then, I have asked forgiveness for my anger and have tried to work on it. In some ways, it's better, in many ways, it has stayed the same, and in some ways, it's worse. I do think I am doing better than I was my senior year of college, but it is still a daily battle. Some days I have the upper-hand, and some days I sink like a mini-titanic.


Realizing Your Anger

Becoming aware of my own anger made me see something else, too: a lot, A LOT, of people are angry. And not just people who have spent their lives living wrongly either. No, Christians, God-loving and following Christians such as myself, are living their entire lives as an angry people.

Coming to this realization hurts. I see people in my own life struggling with anger too. They are angry about the their health, their finances, their marriage, their job, the political situation in the U.S.- you name it, someone, some Christian is angry about it. And you know what? I understand. Like I said, I struggle with anger too. But the more I take a look at my own anger, and the anger of those around me, I realize that the root of the problem is not anger, it is entitlement.

Entitlement

People aren't just angry because they are angry. People are angry, I am angry, because I feel like something is owed to me. I should have a better mental health situation. Why? Because God should want to heal me. Wow! Can you hear the arrogance jumping out of this blog post? I can!

That's the thing- if we are mad at God, or mad in general, because things aren't absolutely perfect in our lives, that is only because we expect perfection. And why? Hasn't the perfect gift already been wrapped up tightly in our hearts? Isn't salvation for all eternity enough? Or have we bought into some form of prosperity gospel that says God's purpose is for us to be happy?

Is God Selfish?

God loves us-yes. God wants the best for us- absolutely! But what we think is best and what God knows is best are two totally different things. Do they sometimes coincide? Sure! Many times in my life, God has blessed me with the things I desired most: my husband, my college, my family and I living closer to each other again, and quite a few other things too. The evidence seems clear that these are places where what I desired was also what God wanted for me- praise God! I am thankful! But as a general rule, when it comes down to it, God is after our holiness, our sanctification, and after His own glory. Whatever will bring about those things in our lives- that's what He will do. And to our human minds, that sounds selfish. Why does God get to go after His own glory, but we don't?

Well, did we create the earth? Nope.

Did we hang the stars in the sky? Negative.

Did we give our only, perfect son to hang on a cross for a people who's sins were infinite? Um, no.

And that, my friends, is why God gets to be after His own glory.
And as far as God being interested in our holiness and sanctification, that is Him having our best interest in mind. If God left us where we were at, for the sake of our own delight and happiness, He'd be a superficial God, only caring about the surface of our lives. Our hearts and spirits are eternal. They need much more attention than our immediate happiness does.



Does God want us to be happy? Yes, I think that within the realm of what is pleasing to Him, God definitely wants us to feel joy, pleasure, and have happiness in this life. But- and that is a huge, whopping but- God's interest in our holiness, in our hearts changing in godliness, is far superior to His desire for us to be happy.

So if those two things seem that they cannot co-exist in a given situation, guess which one God is going to put first. And honestly, I don't like it. But it is what is best. It is needed. It is beautiful in it's time. And it is filled with love and grace from a merciful God who truly does hold us caringly close to His heart.


Do you struggle with feelings of anger or entitlement? What steps can you take to overcome them?



*Originally Published in August 2015



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25 comments

  1. This was so good!! I think that happiness is has become the end-all be-all goal of our culture, but it definitely wasn't always. Your points about feeling entitled to happiness are really poignant-- I especially like the thought that we expect perfection and grow angry when it doesn't happen. Great post, friend!

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  2. This morning I wrote a comment that never showed up. In that comment I said that I'm very angry too, angry that I takes steps forward but end up backwards and never get the reward I'm working so hard for.

    But I don't feel that way right now because I've carried your message with me all day- I'm not working for my gain but God's. I've spent today at work being conscious of how I'm a vessel through which God ministers to my patients rather than spending the day watching the clock, wishing I was home and complaining about my poor paycheck. Focusing on making my work God's work has completely changed the mood of my day so thank you for being a vessel as well and bringing these words to my attention.

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    1. Thank you so much! You are so sweet, friend! I am so glad it helped. And believe me, I am still struggling to take my own advice. It is a daily process. I am so glad God has used me to help. He gets the glory!

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  3. I used to be angry as a teenager because I would not let myself feel other emotions like sadness or stress. Anger was my go-to emotion whenever something was not right! I'm more in touch with my emotions as an adult so I rarely get angry now!

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    1. Yeah. I was really the opposite. I wasn't an angry teen, but it jumped on me in college.

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  4. LOVE THIS. Thank you for being so real.

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  5. This is a very powerful post. I am angry at times and I can see similarities with this post. I blamed God for a lot that has happened in my past, but I realize it wasn't all Gods doing. There were ways out and to follow him, but sometimes I make the wrong decision. I still have my free will, but now I have given my heart, soul, and mind to the Lord for the best. I will use my past experiences to help others, like you are. God is wonderful.

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    1. Ashley, yes! Of course, a lot of our bad spots in life are our own fault. We have a responsibility to live rightly and in a way that is glorifying to God. But thankfully, even when we mess up, God still has EVERY SINGLE PIECE of our life under control :) He holds His kids!

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  6. I think my anger and entitlement went hand in hand because I felt like I deserved things or expected things a certain way and would just be so angry if God didn't pull through. Thankfully I'm learning to just trust Him.

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  7. Oh yes, Kristin. I dealt with anger for so long. I wish I could figure out am exactly when I released it. What I do know, is I did, I have grown and I'm not looking back. I still struggle. And now I see my son struggling with anger. So we pray, we read the Bible and we talk about it. Not letting it hide, giving it a name, and asking for help. Thank you for sharing this so beautifully.

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    1. Thank you, friend! I appreciate you sharing! It is a tough journey, but God is faithful even when we fail!

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  8. These are really wise, insightful words. Thank you for sharing a piece of your journey and what you are learning! I can totally resonate. So often, I find myself frustrated and bitter when dreams, hopes and desires don't come into fruition. But what I am slowly learning is this: are those things I desire an idol? Am I loving them more than our God? Because if I really loved Him - I would follow and believe despite those things happening or not. xoxo

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    1. Thank you! I appreciate that!
      I agree. And it's interesting because a lot of the time, God actually does want to give us our dreams (not always, but sometimes), but He hates when we make those things idols. We tend to worship the gift instead of the giver!

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  9. The past few weeks have been rough for me and I know that the change needs to start with me. But it is hard to do that! I love the post. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I'm sorry that you have been having a tough time! I hope it gets better soon and I hope you will seek God to start the change in you. Thanks for reading!

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  10. I definitely struggle with feelings of entitlement, especially during financial struggles. This post was a huge eyeopener for me, and I hope to see more like it!

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    1. Thank you so much! That is my whole purpose in writing! I am so glad!

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  11. I go in phases where I am angry & feel like my life should have gone differently. This was a powerful post that got me thinking.

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    1. Thank you! I am so glad it was encouraging to you!

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  12. I've been reading a lot here lately about the difference between expectations and hoping. Expectations often lead to entitlement. I enjoyed reading this post because it made me think about all of the above a lot!

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  13. Wow girl, such a raw, real and honest airing of your heart. Hate to admit that I can relate. How strong you are for rising above!

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  14. I went though an entitlement phase and feeling like something was owed to me, so I can relate. I had to get over myself.

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