Blessed. Whether it’s used in its hashtag fame (#blessed) or as part of a, “I am SO blessed,” statement, it makes me cringe every time. Doesn’t matter if I’m the one using it or someone else is. It just feels so…cliché. It’s odd, though, because I wouldn’t consider ours a culture that is very thankful, especially not to the point that it is cliché. So why does the phrase make my skin crawl?
Is it jealousy? I think every time we see someone else with lives, relationships, and stuff we want, we have to fight the urge to be jealous. I was recently reading about the tendency for people to naturally assume success happening to them it was because of merit, whereas if it happens to another they attribute circumstances to their good fortune. Conversely, if something bad happens we think we’re the victims of some awful circumstance but if someone else experiences it, they clearly brought it upon themselves through their own actions. Oh, what twisted minds we have. While I do believe jealousy is absolutely a factor in the #blessed cringe syndrome, I don’t think that’s the only cause.
If jealousy was the reason I hate #blessed statuses, why do I also dislike my own use of it? Surely I can’t be jealous of myself. Do I dislike it because I am gloating? Originally, this is how I explained it to myself. I feel bad pointing out how much greater my life is than someone else’s. Similarly, I don’t like gloating in others. This explanation seemed to handle both cases – the disgust it brings when used by myself as well as when used by others.
But the other day it hit me smack in the face. It’s not (just) jealousy or gloating – it’s context. The gross majority of people I know have a house. Clothes. Food. Really ALL of our statuses should be #blessed. This reveals something, though. Well, two somethings. The first is that we often use #blessed to make ourselves feel good about our lavish excess. See, if we’re blessed with lavish excess, then we can’t feel bad about having it. It was bestowed upon us. Probably because we’re doing something great, so we deserve it. But, even if we didn’t deserve it, it wasn’t our choice. Therefore, #blessed to remove any guilt we may feel about receiving it. Also #blessed to feel better about someone else not having it.
The second something is in the way I just described #blessed at the beginning of that last paragraph. A house. Clothes. Food. Therefore, all our statuses should be #blessed. Hogwash. Or as Job (Iyov) would say: “You’re talking like a foolish woman! Are we to receive the good at God’s hands but reject the bad?” What would Job’s social media statuses be throughout his trials? See, I very rarely see #blessed being used on pictures of chemotherapy sessions, or on an announcement about losing a job, or experiencing loss of any kind. It doesn’t make sense because those things aren’t blessings. But blessings don’t always make sense. If we think God has given us lavish excess to share our #blessed life, then we should share the immense lacking with as much of a #blessed attitude. After all, he has given both circumstanes with an equal amount of love, though we may not understand it.