Entitlement has swept across our nation like a tsunami, and in its wake is endless debris of unmet expectations. People are deeply hurt because of the chasm between who they wanted to be and who they really are.
A few years ago I met a young man, a teacher. He had a decent job and a wonderful group of close friends. According to most, he already had a good life, maybe even a great one, healthy, reliable job and great friends. He was living the young adult dream! Not the typical person to darken my door asking for counseling.
I listened closely as he tried to explain the reason for his inner turmoil.
He basically was depressed because he wasn’t who he thought he should be.
So I asked, “Who should you be?”
He had a really difficult time landing the plane, fishing for an answer and coming up with nothing.
After a few moments of half finished sentences I was able to piece together where he was going. He was frustrated because the world wasn’t responding to his dreams, desires and expectations like he wanted. He truly believed he was entitled to happiness. Not just a culturally agreed upon version of happiness, but his ideal version of happiness.
It’s crazy how a young man living a good life can be so miserable.
He is the epitome of the “every kid gets a trophy” generation.
After a few conversations I became certain his bedroom had a wall full of trophies screaming, “You’re much greater than you really are.” As an adult he believed it. He should be the boss. Everyone should pick his idea. The principal needs to listen to everything he has to say. Why? Because everyone and everything has told him he is the best. His real emotional chasm was a result of the slowly emerging awareness that he isn’t perfect.
He, like many, had married his personal value into a false sense of greatness.
Do you know what all these unmerited accolades ended up giving him? Discontent and depression.
So where should your identity truly be?
That, my friends, is the question that many who darken my door wrestle with. This is also the juxtaposition found in the Bible. Your worth is without your work. Jesus loved us while we were still sinners. Your value is in your relationship not your talent, skill or facade of the aforementioned.