I DO deserve a donut!
I’ve been fighting this line of thinking often recently. I am an emotional eater and a mindless eater, which is a bad combination when you are stuck at home while the world seems to be exploding. The “Quarantine 15” has replaced the “Freshman 15” – and I know I’m not the only one.
But, I mean, come on, I do deserve a donut. I work hard. I’m trying to do the best that I can. If that little piece of sugar-coated sugar will help, then I definitely deserve one. As much as I want to be self-disciplined and self-controlled, indulgence is far more comfortable and feels better at the time.
Discipline and indulgence rarely occupy the same space, and the world definitely favors indulgence. For example, here’s an ad that popped up on an app the other day:
We are being trained to think that we deserve more, and that it should be easy to get what we deserve. In fact, others do us a disservice when they hinder us from getting what we deserve.
I believe that the “I deserve” philosophy is one of the most detrimental ways of thinking and one of the most natural traps to fall in to.
- I deserve a donut
- I deserve a raise
- I deserve a break
- I deserve to have things done my way
- I deserve some “me” time
- I deserve to have what I want
- I deserve to be happy
I’ve heard myself utter each of these in some way, particularly the last one. Now, I cringe when those ideas creep in my head or out of my mouth. We don’t realize how much falsehood is embedded in this seemingly liberating phrase.
The word deserve is defined as to “do something or have or show qualities worthy of (reward or punishment).” We seem to have traded the word “want” for “deserve.” I want a donut, but why exactly do I deserve a donut? What quality or achievement do I possess that entitle me to this particular indulgence? What makes me more deserving than someone else?
A donut may seem like a silly example (if you want a donut, just eat one already and stop talking about it). Still, this innocuous situation displays a deeply rooted idea – if I want it, I deserve to have it. Such a line of thinking promotes selfishness, envy, and greed.
I deserve to be happy. I work hard and should be able to live a comfortable life. Why does she get everything she wants, but I have to work for next to nothing? It’s not fair.
Contrast the “I deserve” mentality with these verses from Philippians 2:
‘Christ encourages you, and his love comforts you. God’s Spirit unites you, and you are concerned for others. Now make me completely happy! Live in harmony by showing love for each other. Be united in what you think, as if you were only one person. Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought: Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God. Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us. Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross. Then God gave Christ the highest place and honored his name above all others. So at the name of Jesus everyone will bow down, those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. And to the glory of God the Father everyone will openly agree, “Jesus Christ is Lord!” My dear friends, you always obeyed when I was with you. Now that I am away, you should obey even more. So work with fear and trembling to discover what it really means to be saved. God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him. Do everything without grumbling or arguing. Then you will be the pure and innocent children of God. You live among people who are crooked and evil, but you must not do anything they can say is wrong. Try to shine as lights among the people of this world, as you hold firmly to the message that gives life. Then on the day when Christ returns, I can take pride in you. I can also know that my work and efforts were not useless. Your faith in the Lord and your service are like a sacrifice offered to him. And my own blood may have to be poured out with the sacrifice. If this happens, I will be glad and rejoice with you. In the same way, you should be glad and rejoice with me. ‘ Philippians 2:1-18, CEV
If anyone could claim, ” I deserve,” it was Christ. Yet, He demonstrates for us humility, sacrifice, and love. We are commanded to share Christ’s attitude in our lives.
The “I deserve” mentality breeds discontentment and disillusionment. We can start to see ourselves in competition with everyone else, criticizing others for having what we believe we deserve. We become less generous, less grateful, less humble. We become less like Christ and less concerned with His best for our lives. We can’t complain and be a light to the world simultaneously.