Lent Post #19: “How Do You Feel…” Facebook As The Cork board for An Attitude of “Ungratitude” as Opposed to The Ingathering of Blessings

Facebook and the plethora of social media sites available today are a true blessing for countless reasons; they connect family and friends separated by hundreds and even thousands of miles, they allow for the announcement of social events, and for the ringing in of holidays, personal and collective worldwide. They allow for professional networking, the dispelling of information, the connection of educational institutions globally, and even the in a perfect world, the solving of massive global issues. But on the other hand, what these social media sites have also opened the door to is the constant onslaught of complaining, and what has been called by some as “ungratitude vomit” by the Millennial generation. In a generation so accustomed with instant gratification – “Getting what I want, and right now” – a constant stream of complaints and dissatisfaction with one thing or another is not unnatural.

I understand that this post may be unpopular, and I am willing to take ownership of this, but try to take it this way. The very things being complained about are very trivial in the grand scheme of things:
-The weather not being warm enough is really not as big of a deal since we have shelter, blankets, clothing to keep us warm, and people to keep us company.
-Complaining about having a cold really sucks right this very minute, but it will go away, and while you may feel crappy right now, you aren’t dying. Consider the blessings you have in light of this – you will get better in 4-10 days, and your life will continue as though you never got a cold/the flu/the stomach bug. There are some whose lives will be forever impacted by permanent illness that is nothing like a cold.

Why are we not posting our blessings on social media? Why is it more attractive to post the horrible matters and aspects of our lives? We are all entitled to a bad day, or a bad series of days – we are all human, and all have emotions, all have “stuff.” Complaining happens, and as fallen sinful humans, we still do quite a bit of this, over stuff that really isn’t worth it. Over cars, over rent, over temporary things that have solutions just around the corner, but we get too wrapped up in complaining to see the potential for a solution. But as Christians, our countenance should be such that we hold ourselves to a higher standard than constantly complaining about how we didn’t get our way, we didn’t get what we wanted, someone wronged us (and what is worse, calling them on it publicly on a social media site). Our lives are more than a source of complaints, curses, wronging others and being wronged by others, but also a collection of blessings, and things worth celebrating in the presence of others.

I wonder what would happen if humanity took just one day a week to praise the blessings – even the difficult blessings, the things that we would ordinarily complain about. The things that we see as thorns in our side are even blessings in disguise if we allow them to be, because in these moments, growth happen. This growth is a choice, a voluntary decision to get up and allow the change to happen, instead of stewing in negativity (or, taking pride in the negativity and flaunting it on social media for all to see – wearing it as a badge of pride, per se). Many struggles are blessings, but complaints cannot be. Complaints dull their shine, and mute the message should anyone desire to listen to it. In choosing to celebrate and acknowledge the blessings, rather than complaints, social media becomes a place of community, rather than a source of constant and irritating negativity, where arguments and hatred reign supreme, modeling the world “out there’s” hatred for anything and everything.

Try this for a week: make your status every day a recognition of a simple (or complicated) blessing. It doesn’t have to be something incredible or happy that happened, but it could be something difficult that is also a blessing. In adding something to the community of the world, rather than taking, this world becomes a little bit better of a place.

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