The Hidden Disadvantages of Being Given Advantages
- Kris Reece
- 2019 31 May
How many times have you heard someone say, “If only I had…? Usually they are referring to some advantage that they wish they had, such as money, connections, or opportunity. Advantages in life come in many shapes and sizes, from lucky breaks to wealthy relatives, and seem to give us a leg up.
But in the wake of college admissions scandals, I can’t help but wonder if advantages are always advantageous.
As you watch some of the children involved in the scandal being interviewed, you can see that there is a level of ignorance and entitlement that only comes from having others take care of things that you should be taking care of yourself.
We are all called to a unique purpose in life, but that purpose doesn’t always reveal itself early on. Often it takes considerable personal digging. But what happens when you’re not allowed to dig and you are handed everything?
I believe all those advantages you were handed lead to three hefty disadvantages:
You don’t learn.
I always wanted my kids to get good grades, but more importantly, I wanted them to earn those grades themselves. This goes against everything in our society. Our children are indirectly taught that it’s not about embracing your unique God-given temperament and talents, it’s about being #1.
I’ve seen parents go so far as to take tests for their kids in elementary school. I believe it comes from a place of love, but it causes long-term damage. The same is true when we want to remove the trials that we face; we don’t learn what’s needed to graduate to the next level.
You’re not prepared.
How many times have you heard stories about successful entrepreneurs handing their business over to their kids only to have the business collapse in a short time? This story happens all too often because the kids haven’t benefited from character development.
How could they? It wasn’t their vision, they didn’t have to figure it out, they didn’t fall down and get back up. This mature business was just handed to them.
Unless you go through what you need to go through, how can you be prepared to handle the blessing?
The book of Matthew reminds us that “Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."
You mistake your resources for your source.
Growing up, our family didn’t have much money and I would look at all the other kids in my school and believe they were so much better off than me. I had to work hard just to save enough money for a new shirt.
And over the years, I grew cold and bitter towards others who seemed to have it better than me. That is, until God got a hold of my heart one day and whispered these words: “You’re exactly where I need you to be.”
I thought, “That can’t be right, surely there is someone out there who could help me advance in life.” What I didn’t realize is that there was someone waiting to advance me: God. But I was relying on the resources in this world to be my source. Psalm 146:3 warns us not to put our trust in mortal man.
Favor from God is sweet, but sometimes God doesn’t grant us favor unless we are able to handle it. I wonder if God is the same way with us as I am with my children. I’m happy to do things for my kids when I know they appreciate it, but when it’s expected on some level, I will pull back and leave them to do it for themselves. Because at that point, my helping is not advantageous, it’s enabling.
If you’ve ever worked hard and earned something in life, you know the satisfaction that comes from the accomplishment. But what we often don’t recognize is the benefits that prepare us for our next step.
There’s a lot that happens in the discovery that no amount of “advantage” could ever replace. It’s more often about the journey than the destination.
So when the going gets tough, or when I think someone else has it better than me, I think about what God might be preparing me for. Then I thank him for the advantage that only He can give.
Kris Reece holds a Ph.D. in Christian Counseling and a Master’s Degree in Theology. She is a Christian Life Coach, Personal Development Coach, counselor, and author of three books including her latest “Make it Matter: A Roadmap for Living a Life of Purpose.” For more information, visit www.KrisReece.com.
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