A Realistic Look at Entitlement and Suffering

I grew up in a culture of entitlement and not much suffering. My parents and teachers raised me under the impression that I was special and that God would give me the dream and legacy I dreamed about as a teenager.

After almost achieving that dream in high school but failing, I became attracted to pastors who fed on the entitlement of the rich and high class: AKA the prosperity gospel. I was attracted to pastors who would easily “usher in miracles and give his flock instant hearings or financial gain.” I was attracted to others who would name and claim their healing or better finances. I was attracted to leaders who had influence but manipulate people into a hyper-Pentecostal cults. These false prophets also feed on the entitlement mentality of victims looking for a miracle. And of course with having Aspergers,I really need a miracle to see my dreams come to past. Or do I?

I’m still working towards my freedom. But taking time to reflect on my past has made me realize that it’s better to depend on God through suffering than treat God like a genie or Santa Claus. I do wish my suffering was less, but I’m at the point of taking it one day at a time. I think that is much more of an inspiration than prosperity messages. People are sold to a gospel that is attractive and I wanted to be a celebrity with a gospel I can sell while seeing others change. The fact I never got there after a decade of trying shows I have something else I need to do. Maybe my story will just be a chronicle of finding myself. I guess the parts that will change others forever is that I’ll never give up my fight to find purpose in life.

Influences, Niches, and Inspiration

Last year I took some time to reflect while enjoying the wild that is the Spirit Sands south of Carberry, Manitoba.

I’ve realized something last year. Influence in community is really the only thing I’m deeply searching for, even though I prefer solitude as an artist. I just keep looking for it in the wrong places. I’ve always valued being heard and listened to, but in the end, it doesn’t get me anywhere. The truth is that I’m not a good leader as much as I want to be. I’m an inspiration. I’m a person who makes others think. I don’t change a person’s life. I show them doors to walk through. Pushing people to open those doors never ends well. Only an audience member can decide to succumb to the things I say or the example I lead.

After figuring this out, I’m not opposed to living a life in service to others without a dream. I’m not opposed to representing a small circle of people or small town who share a common goal. I think just doing my part on my own turf is all the influence I need to achieve the significance and community I’ve been looking for.

My wife and I were discussing how difficult life in Winnipeg can be just due to the pace and demanding mentality of the world around us. She wants to move back to a simpler life in the country just working simple well paying jobs and encouraging a small niche community. I don’t blame her. While I doubt this exists, I feel a desire to look for a life that can compliment my struggle with Aspergers. I’m at the point where there’s too much “noise” and “speed” in my life and I’m just scraping by. I need to live life that’s more quiet and as “properly paced” as possible. I’m not saying I should isolate or drop everything, but some of what I live for means nothing now and I have to let go of it over the past year. I think I can manage life better once I live for others almost completely. Perhaps moving into the country may not necessarily be the solution, but it will be a place where we can focus as a family and enjoy God’s beauty. After being refreshed, we would go about our work in our small groups where we fit, and just let things organically grow from there.

Foot In Mouth

I have a tendency to say things I’ll regret later. Putting my foot in my mouth has always been an issue for me. Some say its odd since verbal communication is a slight weakness in conversation while Charlene points out a strength in writing our emails and texts to each other. I guess I have my impulsive moments that get me into trouble. So I’ll be thinking more before I speak if I have something to say while continuing to write as a sideline.

The other thing that’s sad about myself that I can never fix is the Aspergers trait where I want to contribute to a conversation so badly but a lot of times, my response ready buffer is empty. People see that as being extremely shy, but the real truth is that I don’t know what to say. Either the subject in conversation isn’t my thing (no offense) or too big for my simple brain. It’s something I have to accept even as a friend who constantly wants to keep things two-way but is stuck listening. Having that on top of the burden of saying the wrong thing can be exhausting for me in a social setting. Please don’t be surprised if I withdraw or chase me if I do. I actually hate being an introvert when out of my creative zone.

My outlook of the world has changed so much in 2014

Ever since I’ve been struggling through depression and a back/leg injury in 2014, I’ve been doing a lot of research about my viewpoint of this world and the beliefs and entitlement that I grew up with. My outlook of the world has changed so much. Here’s a few things that I’ve learnt, and please be constructive if you e-mail me in disagreement with any of them:

  • God only allows you to have so much of what you want, but He gives everything you need.
  • Blessing and prosperity is subjective.
  • A job you love is a blessing, but not everyone deserves it.
  • Constant exposure to the spotlight is only for a few people.
  • Telling kids they are special and that they can do anything may screw them up. Sure you can encourage them to be anything they want, just don’t give them a sense that they are entitled to be what they want.
  • It’s great to have a dream on cloud 9 as long as it’s grounded and realistic.
  • We live in a world of struggle. There’s always going to be something that needs to be fixed.
  • Bad things happen to you and things won’t go your way. You can whine about it, but in the end, God does answer prayer, but He only answers it His way, not yours.
  • God has the right not to answer to you.
  • Being “ordinary” in a world that seems mundane can be amazing.
  • If you aren’t satisfied with what you have, you won’t be satisfied with what you want. Some things shouldn’t be chased after. Let those things come to you.

Welcome to life with Aaron Parsons.

A Life of Giving It All

I don’t mind if my music or digital art goes nowhere. I’m starting not to mind my suffering. I win just by doing God’s will for my life. That’s it. I won’t purposely try to convert people or push my viewpoints on them like conservatives with a “father-knows-best” mentality. That is mean and abusive.

Many pastors are asking, maybe even pushing the laity to a life of giving it all and going overseas as a missionary, or dropping their current lifestyles to go to Bible college and become a pastor or minister. It’s not a bad question. There is a need for more missionaries and more people to work the harvest. But another question needs to be asked.

Are you willing to be one of the nameless believers in history who have never seen the spotlight?
Are you okay with being forgotten by everyone but God and the rest of heaven?
Are you willing to be faithful right where you are even if God is the only one who sees you?
Are you sure you’ll be okay with no one writing a book about you and what you did in the name of Christ?
Finally, are you willing to live and believe in a God of mundane people?

This is the question that has haunted me ever since my dark times in Brandon Manitoba between 2009 and 2012. I’ve fought hard with the answer no. I wanted respect. I wanted a fan base. I wanted the spotlight because I tasted little of it here and there before 2010. But most of all, I wanted to change the entire world and leave a legacy. Who doesn’t?

After a few Brandon MB friends completely turned their backs on me, the desire turned to a hopeless chase of online schemes for a chance for my digital art to go viral. After going into debt, determining what’s important in marriage and seeing a small community that was deep, fun, and catering to my interests as a geek and musician, I understand what it truly means to be blessed even in a life where to others it can be pretty mundane. So yes, I plan to live and change the world, but just the world that is within my reach. I don’t care if I’m forgotten. It will hurt to loose a few friends and it will rock to gain new ones.

Looking back on the life I used to have in Brandon now, I understand some of my choices resulted in what I went through the past 6 and a half years. Some have also resulted in lifelong choices I can never reverse. The journey isn’t over. I’m still working on forgiving the people who hurt me. I’m working on forgiving myself. I’m still working on replacing the lies I picked up through prosperity gospels, fake news, and hyper-Pentecostal bull. God is good. He helps me learn who He really is and what He really wants for me. It will still take some time for me to feel this daily. I’m feeling better letting things go even as of late. I really don’t need much. Just something to song-write with like laptop or iPad or game console that makes music and a small community to contribute music to such as a Facebook group or an open mic. I’m okay letting go of everything else. I just pray this feeling of closeness to God won’t go away.

I don’t mind if my music or digital art goes nowhere. I’m starting not to mind my suffering. I win just by doing God’s will for my life. That’s it. I won’t purposely try to convert people or push my viewpoints on them like conservatives with a “father-knows-best” mentality. That is mean and abusive. I’ll hang out with people and let them see by my lifestyle and through Jesus that life can be full even if it simply is just creating something and letting others around me enjoy it. Despising my previous need for a radical lifestyle, and breaking away from people who push the radical gospel on others, has only been beneficial for me. It changed me for the better and is slowly releasing me from my depression and entitlement.