Tag Archives: attitude

A Vaccination for Adolescence

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preteen

Why haven’t they developed a vaccination for adolescence?  Why bother searching for a cure for cancer when only a certain percentage of the population will ever get?   Better to focus on something we all go through at least once with our own raging hormones and often go through again when we have children.

Last week I invented a new word to describe my middle child in her pre-teen mood:  “Attitudy”.  It can be either an adjective describing her in this phase or an adverb describing her actions.   It is a good word.  It accurately describes how I feel about eye rolls, a sassy tone of voice, and sullen pouting.  The word has kind of a bathroom quality about it.  Only a potty word can accurately capture the essence of the tween.  Yes, Attitudy is a useful word, and you’re welcome to use it too.

Maybe instead of searching for a medical option to cure adolescence, we should look into some kind of residency program, like a cross between summer camp and an insane asylum. We could call it… Boarding School.  It’s got a ring to it.  “Attitudy Academy”.  What do you all think?  All in favor of Boarding School for the temporally insane pre-teens say AYE!

Lord help us.  No wonder in the Bible we often see young teenage Bible characters out in the fields tending the sheep.  Probably they were just disrupting the peace of the home too much, so their parents sent them waaaaay out into the fields.  They needed to be alone and to blow off some steam by throwing rocks at giants and such.  I’m just hopping this one doesn’t sell her sister to a band of traveling Midianites.  (I’ll have to make a mental note to steer clear of anyone traveling by camel.)  

Although not Biblical, the story of Sleeping Beauty is making a lot more sense to me now:  just put her into a coma until we can marry her off.  Well, maybe I’ll have to keep searching for that vaccination for adolescence.

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/twodolla/4192187548/”>twodolla</a&gt; / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>CC BY</a>

When Pigs Fly!

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I’ve been thinking a lot about King Saul lately.

He was ancient Israel’s first king.  Before Saul, the people of Israel were lead by prophets and judges, but the rule of government was spotty at best.  The Bible says, “Everyone did what was right in their own eyes.”  And boy, was it a disaster.  The last judge was the priest/prophet Samuel.

Samuel was getting along in years and had served the Lord and Israel faithfully for his entire life.  But the people started itching for something different.  They wanted to be like the nations around them who all had real kings.  For Israel, God was supposed to be their King.  But the people decided they didn’t want God for King nor Samuel’s sons as judges, they wanted to be like their neighbors.  They rejected God and demanded a king.

So God said, “Fine, I’ll give you a King, but you won’t be happy with the situation.”  God told Samuel to anoint Saul as King.

Now Saul was a nobody from a nobody family with nothing going for him except his good looks.  He was taller than everyone else and had a handsome face.  But his character was far from Princely.  As a matter of fact, on the day that Samuel anointed Saul to be king, he told him that later on he would come across a band of prophets.  Sure enough, later in the day Saul ran into the group and they were prophesying.  The Bible says the Spirit of the Lord came over Saul, changed his personality, and he began to prophesy too.  This was such a dramatic  departure from his normal character that it became an expression of shock to say, “What?  Is Saul among the prophets?”  It became their version of “when pigs fly!”

But Saul’s change of character just didn’t stick because he had a hard time obeying God.  His new power went right to his head and he felt like he was exempt from rules.  Saul’s heart became harder and harder until the Bible says God’s Spirit departed from him… and he never noticed the difference.  Saul was so self absorbed that he only followed his own heart and didn’t seek after God’s heart.

So God told Samuel to go anoint David as Saul’s successor.  David was “a man after God’s own heart.”  Meanwhile, Saul remained king and his hard heart lead to desperate, horrible things.  Saul even stooped so low as to consult a witch for advice about the future!  Eventually Saul committed suicide by falling on his own sword.  His reign ended in misery and heartache for everyone around him.

Now my thoughts turn to you and I.  Have we “clamored for a king” like the Israelites because we don’t like the idea of God ruling over us?  Have we gone in for the pretty face of a sin without considering the content or character beneath the surface?  If God’s Spirit left us, would we even notice the difference?  These are all questions that we can ask ourselves both individually and as a community.  As for me, I pray along with David who wrote, “Create in me a clean heart, O God… and take not your Holy Spirit from me.”  (Psalm 51)

“I deserve better”

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Being a big Paula Dean fan, I was tempted to transform this title to, “I deserve BUTTER”.  I still might someday make that my personal motto, but for now I better get focused *squirrel!*

“I deserve better” is the call of the wild for egoists everywhere.  It is best described as a sense of entitlement.  You might not actually come right out and say those exact words, but you think it in your heart.  You believe that you deserve something.

Some examples might be, “I’ve been good all week long and stayed on my diet, so tonight I deserve to eat a whole bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough… made with butter.”  What, why are you staring at me?  

And it can get even more sinister with things like money, “I’m working so hard lately that I deserve to buy myself those Louboutin shoes like the ones that Oprah wears.”  

Recently I listened to some old Andy Stanley leadership podcasts that talked about a few different bad behaviors that stem from a sense of entitlement.  (I’ve looked for the podcasts again and I can’t find them for the life of me, sorry.)  Especially in leaders, this sense of entitlement is particularly ugly… and particularly hard to see in yourself.  Normally everyone around you can see it clear as the nose on your face, but you are totally blind to your own faults.

So how do you know what it looks like in yourself?  It looks like jealously, taking the credit for everything, getting a big head,  never saying Thank You, not being able to celebrate the successes of others, and bragging.  It can also look like voting to give yourself stock options and a pay raise when the whole company is tanking financially… but that’s another story.

A Christian with a sense of entitlement might feel like “God owes me” for all the work I’ve done for him.  He owes me for all the sacrifices I’ve had to make for Him.

A non-believer might say  “life owes me” or “Karma owes me” or “someone else owes me”.

This is a super ugly attitude among missionaries, and believe me, I’ve seen it.  I’ve seen some missionaries live like America owes them.  (Maybe they are starting to get a little dizzy up on that pedestal.)  They say, “We’ve sacrificed so much already.  We deserve… fill in the blank with something nice.”  That’s not to say that there aren’t perks to living the missionary life style, there are.  But our attitude should be one of extreme thankfulness to God for each new blessing and humility that we should be so honored to be chosen to serve where we do.  A missionary should never have a sense of being owed something.

This is MY idea of exotic luxury… with a nanny watching my children for me.

Why is entitlement such a Dangerous Attitude?  It was Lucifer’s attitude when he tried to usurp the throne of God.  Lucifer was the most beautiful angel that God created, but he felt like God owed him more.  He felt like everyone owed him praise for his beauty and talents.  Ultimately it lead him to rebel against God and be cast to Earth in defeat.

When it comes right down to it, we should remember our rightful place.  We are servants… indentured servants bought with a price.  We have no rights, and our only “just due” is death for our sins.  We have no right to expect anything good… not even butter.  So we should be thankful for every good gift we DO receive from the hands of our loving Master.