By Stacey Philpot
I face some real challenges in my life. Health is a carrot ever dangled before me. Day after day, I press toward the mark. Did you ever sing that old-school song, “Because he lives, I can face tomorrow. Because he lives, all fear is gone. Because I know he holds the future, and life is worth the living just because he lives”? This song is pretty much my anthem. While living close to Jesus is optional for some, it’s the air I breathe, the way I make it from moment to moment.
This month, many of us will reflect on our blessings. Some will take pictures of the things they are thankful for and post them on social media, while others will post a daily log of gratitudes. We’re all destined to see an increase in the instances of #blessed in our newsfeeds.
I’m now going to tell you a secret which may inadvertently reveal my deplorable nature: #blessed makes me want to pull my face off.
I never see #blessed tagging someone’s post about their treatment at the cancer center or the fact that their spouse has left them. No one ever goes on social media to tell the world they’ve just lost their dream job and they are so #blessed because of it. But you see, these people are blessed. Every bit as blessed as the people who are forever talking about being #blessed. You know, the ones who just bought a new house, went on a vacation, got married, had a baby, bought a new car, and so on.
Don’t get me wrong–I love to hear about people being #blessed in all these ways. They are all worthy of celebration, and I am honored that friends on social media allow me to celebrate alongside them. But there is a scripture from Matthew 5 that comes to mind:
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:3-12 NIV)
That’s a lot of people who are #blessed, whom this world might not call #blessed. Friends, can I be honest about the fact that I think our Americanized view of blessed might be skewed? I think somewhere along the way, we’ve lost the beauty and the majesty of the cross. Instead of being in awe of our calling as the sons and daughters of Christ and our redemption by the work of the cross—instead of calling that #blessed—we’ve come to a place where being blessed means having stuff and everything going our way.
When was the last time we showed up on social media and said, “Someone is defaming me all over the place. I am so #blessed. Can you imagine how great my reward will be in heaven?”
When was the last time we said in all sincerity, “Jesus loves me, so I am #blessed”?
This month, as we count our blessings, I don’t want us to miss the kind that go deeper. I don’t want us to pass over the fact that we are redeemed, set free, loved for all of eternity. I hope to see us list our trials as blessings because we know they’ll produce endurance and allow our roots to grow deeper still. I pray we’ll take time to sit in gratitude of who God is.
So what do you say? Will you be #blessed this Thanksgiving?
Stacey Philpot is wife to Ryan and mother to Hayden, Julie, and Avery. She is a writer, goofball, and avid reader. Stacey has ministered for over 15 years to youth and women in her community in order to equip them to go deeper in Christ. She blogs at aliferepaired.com and chronicallywhole.com.
Photograph by, Picography.