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Cam Marston on Bless Boasting

On this week’s Keepin’ It Real, Cam Marston responds to a social media post theme that he’s seen recently that is, well, gettin’ to him.

The caption read “blessed.” The social media posts were of a woman surrounded by her friends wearing designer clothes, another of her on a private plane drinking champagne with friends, and another sitting in a suite with friends at a world-famous event - perfect hair, perfect teeth.

“Blessed,” it read.

Blessed? Really? I think what she meant was “More blessed than you,” or maybe she misspelled blessed and it should read “Boast.” When Christians want people to see how well they’re doing, they post a “humble brag.” I think the new alternative to the “humble brag” is the “blessed boast” and social media is where it happens.

Social media is where self-esteem goes to die. It’s where comparison happens constantly, and comparison has always been the thief of joy, and if you want to feed from a comparison trough, social media is the place for it. It takes some wisdom and maturity to keep comparison from destroying self-esteem. Most young kids don’t have it. Heck, there are many days I’m not sure I do, either, and before you argue, social media has its good points, too. Anyone looking on Facebook on their birthday knows what I mean.

But the blessed boasts get me. They’re never pictures of someone blessed to simply not be dead or blessed to be able to build wonderful things or blessed to be able to comfort those who are suffering or blessed to be able to make a donation that will help out the less fortunate. On social media, they’re always blessed to be in a first-class seat or blessed to be wearing a Rolex or blessed to own a nice new car. Here’s the recipe: Take a photo of yourself with things or doing things only the top one percent of society can access then hide behind God and your oh-so humble spirituality by captioning it with “blessed.” I’m pretty doggone sure God spits or throws a lightning bolt in disgust when he sees blessed boasts.

The way I understand it, the spiritual gifts we’ve been given, our “blessings”, are our unique talents and skills from our creator, if you believe such things, and I do. Once we discover these talents and skills, we are to use them to serve our creator and others. Our blessings are talents given to us to use for the betterment of one another. People who know this, and do this, are, in my experience, universally happier than the rest of us. They’ve found their calling, and through their calling they are a blessing to us all. Blessings are not and have never been things.

I don’t mind the photos of my friends with fantastic items or doing fantastic things, but let’s be honest and caption the photos accordingly. How about “Oh my goodness! What a day! How did I get here? How lucky am I?” Or “I don’t have as many friends as the picture suggests, but it’s a great day, and I’m having a ball.” Are you blessed? Maybe, but your new Porsche has nothing to do with it.

I’m Cam Marston, and I’m just trying to Keep it Real.

Cam Marston is the Keepin' It Real host for Alabama Public Radio.