One of the best things I’ve learned in life is how sneaky the devil and our emotions are. One minute, you’re doing everything you need to do in life to better yourself, and the next minute you can’t recognize the person in the mirror. A common tactic we use against ourselves is holding onto the belief that we deserve, or have earned, something greater.
It’s an accelerant. You find yourself discontent in one aspect of your life and you seek to change it. Most don’t figure out why they feel this way. They usually just agree with the feeling and change. Next thing you know, you’re battling depression because what you felt was wrong was never wrong. What was truly wrong was your perspective.
What does one deserve, exactly? Food, shelter, or clothes? Transportation, representation, or opportunity? Where does your standard fall? Do you deserve love? Do you deserve millions of dollars? Do you deserve justice? Do you deserve comfort? Do you deserve to live?
I’m not here to tell you what you deserve. I am only here to caution you on one thing: Beware the voice that tells you, “I deserve better.” I’m not saying you don’t deserve better. I’m saying where did the thought come from? Oftentimes, that voice is only speaking up to rob you of your contentment, joy, and gratitude.
Far too often, a person will see another person’s marriage and look at their own marriage and say, “I deserve better.” There could be nothing wrong, but the thought sparked your ambition, or perhaps your ego, and now you’ve become the snake to your own love, slithering about your house waiting to bite your spouse. Where having date night at a low-end restaurant wasn’t a big concern, you watched a video on social media and now you’re nagging your spouse because you think you’ve earned steak dinners, ambience, and fancy drinks. You’ve turned your love into transactions that you force your spouse to pay debt on. You’re killing your own marriage.
Some people ruined their workplace with this attitude. Thinking they deserve better, when really they are jealous of another person’s success and promotion. Thus, they become a source of negativity in the workplace because their jealousy and impatience changed them for the worse. Where they used to want to do everything for the people they worked with, now they want to discourage others from being who they were. You’ve turned your good efforts into gossip. You make your own work experience worse.
“I deserve better”, from Americans at least, is a statement that is far overused and often birthed from evil places. The issue comes in when you become upset because you don’t have the biggest house in the neighborhood, the tastiest meal at the table, the most fashionable clothes in the city, the largest account at the bank, or the most support in the community. You became upset with your pace when your pace is the only pace you can go at.
You can no longer accept the slow and steady. Now, you need the quick and in a hurry. All because of what? Be honest, or maybe I will. I saw something that looked good, in my eyes, and that perspective led me to discontent with my own life because it didn’t look like someone else’s life. Next thing you know, I’m sad because I stopped looking at what was going right in my life.
You know how annoying it is to watch people, daily, say another person is living their life? “She’s living my life.” “He’s doing what I wanted.” False. They are living a life separate of you, with an upbringing different than you, with motivations different than you, and with results different than you. If you want your life to look like theirs, are you willing to trade who you are for it? Most people trade their identity to be in the places you want to be. Careful what you wish for.
Politicians sell their morality and opinion for votes. Celebrities sell their privacy for money and fame. Police sell their honor and integrity for power and money. The tradeoffs are not always great.
You’re looking at a rich person, by American standards, and getting upset because you don’t have “better” like them. Whole time, they are drowning in a tempest of fear, anxiety, depression, addiction, abuse, and loneliness because everything in their life fails to give them an ounce of joy. And I bet, each one of them saw someone else and said, “I deserve that,” without any in-depth thinking as to what that takes.
Corruption is everywhere in this nation. Most of it starts fro
m greed. I can’t stress this enough. Be aware of that voice that says you deserve more. You could find yourself dead or in jail behind listening to that voice without a challenge.
To combat this, I suggest two things: look for things to be grateful for and check your work ethic. I used to think I deserved a solid chance at a professional football career, but then I realized I do not discipline myself in my diet, nor in practices. I thought I deserved better, but my work ethic showed me I didn’t. I had to learn to be thankful for the memories I had of being on the field in high school.
I used to think I deserved the family with the job that paid enough for me to vacation and live comfortably with them. I realized, I was not as grateful for the small apartment and operational, A/C-less car in Houston summers as I should have been. My gratitude was too low.
When you set your eyes on the mountaintop, you tend to forget no one owes you the next step. You can slip and fall, breaking something, and no one has to come rescue you. Count yourself among the blessed if anyone helps you because you can never do it alone. All the billionaires and celebrities have teams to help them along the way. Instead of “I deserve”, be honest and admit, it’s “We deserve”.
It you’re not thinking of the people you can take along with you, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Failure means stolen joy. Failure means depreciated confidence. Failure means self-inflicted chastising. Failure means temptation to do evil things.
Once again, pay attention to the source of that voice which says, “I deserve better.” If you say that after watching someone else, you’re being tempted by jealousy. If you say that after window shopping, you’re being tempted by greed. If you say that after receiving love, you’re being tempted by lust. If you’re saying that after being denied, you’re being tempted by ego and arrogance. The more you look into the source of those words, the more you may learn about your enemies. Most times, the thief of our joy is ourselves. Life taught you a lot, but it did not teach you everything and it didn’t always teach you correctly. Reflect.
The only times I can truly say “I deserve better” is adequate are when you are being oppressed. No one deserves to be abused, misused, triggered, manipulated, profiled, or attacked. Also, when you realize you are not doing enough for you, “I deserve better” is necessary. Sloth is the enemy trying to get you to be lazy about elevating of yourself. Don’t let it win.
The best source to define what you deserve is God. Jesus Christ has already spoken. You deserve love, salvation, sanctification, forgiveness, mercy, grace, blessings, peace, spiritual gifts, the Holy Spirit, courage, faith, belief, hope, guidance, wise counsel, protection, strength, healing, community, and so much more. I could spend all day pointing to places in the Bible where God said you deserve better, but that deserve is a gift, not a reward. That better is not material, but mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional.
Accept what is for you, which is not everything that happens to you but everything that God says you are able to receive. Be aware of the hands and ideals that guide you. The best hands belong to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The best ideals come from our Father in heaven.
Do what you will,