My finger hovered over the button that read “unfollow.” Tempted to press it yet again, I was surprised that something prevented me from acting so quickly this time. Faces of friends I’d similarly dismissed flashed through my mind as the question, “Why?” captivated my attention. With it came a momentary feeling of paralysis.
I reasoned with myself in an attempt to explain away the feeling that prevented me from edifying my pride once again. “I have been so sweet to her.” “Who does she think she is?” “Why on earth is she ignoring me?” “I don’t have to keep showing up.” “Do I even want to be friends with someone like this?”
It Didn’t Have Anything To Do With My Friends
The steam I’d felt puffing me up slowly deflated as I began to realize that this seemingly small issue was much more significant than I’d given it credit. And it didn’t have anything to do with my friend…friends. It had everything to do with my heart.
This inconsequential and petty solution that I’d used in a sad attempt to set up “healthier boundaries” was not an isolated event. It revealed a pattern that I’d trusted in for years. It showed how quickly I disconnected from others when they disappointed me, how little grace I had to share when I grew uncomfortable in a relationship, and how much entitlement I’d harbored in my heart.
It Wasn’t An Isolated Situation
I decided to “mute” the friend I was following as a quick fix, put my phone down, and pick up my Bible instead. After all, it was my scheduled devotional time. I was far from feeling deep and devoted to the Lord, but I knew I would be grateful for the discipline. The Bible is the one thing I’ve always been able to find comfort in, and I needed it. My feelings were hurt.
I was drawn to the book of first Samuel, chapter twenty. As I read about how David broke down before his friend Jonathan, I was amazed by Jonathan’s response. He was so gracious and so understanding. I wanted a friend like Jonathan. Who doesn’t?
I began to think about who might be my Jonathan. I wondered if I knew anyone as helpful and humble as the Scriptures revealed he was. Sitting there in the dark of the early morning, I felt Holy Spirit speak to my heart.
The Questions I’d Been Asking Suddenly Shifted
Instead of wondering why I didn’t have “loyal” friends, Holy Spirit began to ask me
- Who do you think you’ve been a Jonathan to?
- How have you been helpful and humble?
- When was the last time you did a good deed, shared a kind word, or showed up for a friend without expecting anything in return?
I had no answers. I had been a friend. I had helped others as recently as the day before. However, I had not helped them selflessly with humility in my heart, and both God and I knew it. I was entitled.
I Was Entitled. Ouch.
Merriam-Webster defines entitled as the believe that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. I believed that I deserved my expectations to be met by my friends. When they weren’t, I was left to confront my own selfishness, and it scared me. Instead of acknowledging it, I’d chosen to unfollow and disengage. Ouch.
I’m not proud of it. I’m not proud that I allowed the enemy to manipulate my emotions so easily-on and off social media. I am thankful, though, that I now have Jonathan to emulate. Because of it, I engage with others more intentionally every day.
Jonathan Was Entitled Too
Jonathan was raised to be the king of Israel after his father, King Saul, passed. He was entitled to the very best in life, notwithstanding his father’s honesty, and he literally carried the titled of the future king. When he first spoke with David in first Samuel, chapter twenty, verse two, he denied David’s accusations against King Saul because his father had not told him.
I’m amazed by what God teaches us through his story. Rather than dismiss David, he continues to engage. Over time, it not only leads him to draw out David’s fear, but also creates a safe place where he can surrender his own.
1 Samuel 20:13 in the New Living Translation reads, “But if he is angry and wants you killed, may the Lord strike me and even kill me if I don’t warn you so you can escape and live. May the Lord be with you as he used to be with my father.” It’s here that we witness one of the most incredible friends to ever live surrender everything he’d ever been entitled to: the kingdom, his hopes and dreams, and even his life. It goes without saying that if God were with David as he used to be with his father, David would be appointed king over the chosen people of Israel. Through Jonathan, I learn that the answer to entitlement is engagement.
The Answer to Entitlement
I’m pleased to share it’s been years since I’ve unfollowed friends in an attempt to escape my issues with entitlement. However, I recognize that the hubris I’ve developed in some areas have to be countered with humility, as well. Hubris is defined as excessive pride, and it always accompanies entitlement.
Choosing to engage isn’t always enough, though, especially when it’s entrenched in comparison and competition. We have to choose to engage in humility, valuing others above ourselves as we learn in Philippians 2:3-4. Jonathan shows us that humility leads us to engage when we feel manipulated, mistreated, or mistaken. When we surrender pride, offense, unforgiveness, and disappointment, we grow more like Jonathan and Jesus every day.
Be A Friend Like Jonathan-and Jesus 💗
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