Look at me in the above photo playing around on one of the world’s most famous beaches!
That picture was taken on my first trip to Hawaii in early 2019. This coming December, I’ll be making my sixth trip to the Aloha State.
I am SO BLESSED!
Okay… let’s stop right there!
I’ve used the word “blessed” countless times in my life– in conversation, in writing, on social media. I’ve considered myself blessed to be a mother, blessed that my children were born without physical or mental challenges, and blessed because I’ve been able to have certain jobs, go certain places, and have an abundance of friends. My children and grandchildren and friends are, indeed, blessings; but can we please stop posting our “fabulous” selves and material belongings on social media accompanied by “#blessed?”
I saw a photo on Facebook a few years ago when I was peeking at a somewhat estranged family member’s profile and noticed the frame surrounding her profile picture: #blessed. The photo showed her lounging in the pool in a tropical setting.
My mind went to what I often refer to as that hypothetical little old lady living in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, a woman who’s praised God her entire life, worked hard, raised a family on very few dollars, and even had her home destroyed during a hurricane. While I say she’s hypothetical, she really lives… in New Orleans and other places. She’s the face of millions of people who–for whatever reason–can’t catch a break, have lost much, sometimes question God over all this, and yet… still may consider themselves blessed.
I’m currently co-leading a Bible study on Adrienne Camp’s wonderful book “As For Me,” a study of the psalms. We’ve been parked this week in the first psalm, which begins, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked…” The author mentions that we hear that word–blessed–alot in our culture and in our churches, and she asks the reader to write her own definition of the word and then to look up a dictionary meaning. I wrote, “favored by God” as my definition. The dictionary I consulted gave the meaning as “made holy.”
I questioned what I had written, considering how I am always mentioning that hypothetical little lady down south.
The author states that blessed is “a quality that flows from something deep within us that is not dependent on our circumstances for well-being but rather on the very nature of God and being aligned and connected to Him.”
Read that again.
Being blessed has NOTHING to do with the house in which we live, the trips we take, the cars we drive…it is dependent on the nature of God and our alignment and connection to Him. Regardless of whether one works hard and decides to buy an expensive car or came into a windfall that supports a luxurious lifestyle… they are fortunate.. but blessed?!
We give thanks because God has given us the ability and knowledge to work and to enjoy the fruits of our labor. It’s NOT #blessed. That needle-in-the haystack lucky person who happened to land on the winning lottery number in the Mega Millions drawing is just that… lucky, not #blessed.
I did a social media search on #blessed and saw a photo of a guy who had just shot and killed a very large buck. Yep, he used #blessed for this photo of him kneeling by the deceased creature.
I used to consider myself blessed because I’ve enjoyed so much goodness from God in terms of my health, my children and grandchildren and their health and well-being, the opportunities I’ve had, my home… but I have been re-thinking this for a while. We toss that hashtag around far too much.
We come before God with our bare selves and hearts that HE knows better than we do. We praise and thank and worship. We are blessed because our hearts are connected and aligned with His.
Lucky. Grateful. Fortunate.
May the true state of #blessed flow within us as we root down in Him, and may we always be grateful for what we have.
Amy Walton considers herself one fortunate gal for many reasons, but mainly, because she is a redeemed creation of God. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.