A lot of times we use the word blessed lightly. Whenever an event happens to us that makes us happy, or we work hard and reward ourselves with something rare money can buy, our tendency is to post or tweet it out and drop the hashtag #blessed
- I just bought a car. #Blessed (I wish this was true)
- Great date night with my BF! #Blessed
- My new shirt from E-Bay just arrived in the mail on time. #Blessed
Too #blessed to be stressed! (I’ve even used this one during busy work periods)
I struggle with Aspergers. I have many reasons not to use the hashtag #blessed. It is a daily struggle to support myself let alone me and my wife. Our grocery lists each week aren’t very long because of monetary lack. I have a hard time focusing on tasks which requires intense focus so I’m freelancing and out of work a lot lately. I have things that set me off on angry swearing tirades when I’m alone. I go for six months to a year of song-writer’s block. I need two days to recover after a social gathering. My wife is always tired when I sometimes need her to support me the most. Some of my immediate family struggles with their own mental health and I’m always nervous around them. Both our noisy neighbors constantly change because they rent the houses beside us and as a result our sleeping patterns are screwed up. We get the idea.
I’m not against the idea of using the #blessed hashtag. I just think our culture needs to use the word “blessed” in a different context. If we look at the world around us, there are more people that aren’t blessed compared to the ones who have the most comments or likes on their social media feeds after posting a picture of themselves with rum-punch on a Jamaican beach. Everyone suffers. Everyone has problems. What if we used the hashtag #blessed to show the existence of a spiritual strength? What if we used the word blessed to inspire others not to give up or give in? What if being blessed shows us that problems in the world can be overcome regardless of how big or small those problems are? What if blessing in struggle can show countries torn by war that there’s good in this world worth fighting for? If someone replies with the comment that they have hope despite what’s going on, that deserves the hashtag #blessed and a butt-load of retweets or Instagram reposts.
The word blessed reminds me of the beatitudes of Christ in Matthew 5 when he says:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Don’t get me wrong. If you’re literally expressing happiness while your reputation, wealth, and health are in bad shape or hanging by a thread, I will refer you to a psychiatrist. I’ll definitely ensure one close to me gets help if their suffering is a result of their own stupidity as well. If I had a choice, I would choose to have the negative autistic quirks I endure destroyed by God. I would take that “blessing” over walking through life with meltdowns and sensory overload until I take my last breath on Earth. We’ve all heard these questions from somewhere; what do we do with our problems we struggle with? How can we learn from what happens to us when the world doesn’t work in our favour? How do we accept what is broken and live with what can’t be fixed?
Since I struggle with Aspergers, I’m for sure no exception to the participation of this obstacle course called suffering just because I’m a Christian. I need a reminder every time I have a meltdown that I’m blessed. I need a reminder I’m blessed even though I listen to someone who claims I’m indifferent for not looking at them in the eye. I need to know I’m blessed when a certain smell makes me want to puke. Someone needed to tell me in an old call centre job that I’m blessed even when I want to strangle the supervisor that makes me switch duties while I’m doing a repetitive task that makes me feel so content. I need to know that it’s a blessing to take a mental break or day off when stressed hard workers claim that excuses are for losers. My suffering might be different, but I need to know that the promises from suffering in the beatitudes (most which have come from Aspergers) will be fulfilled once I met the Lord face-to-face.
Thankfully, I’ve learned that even in the hardest and darkest times where the struggle with Aspergers is so real, I’m blessed because it doesn’t last forever, thanks to God’s intervention and people who love me enough to help me through hell on Earth. I believe blessing itself is the result of a fulfilled promise from Jesus Christ. Through His son, God has made many promises for His people. Regardless of suffering or things going according to our own plans, we are blessed if we believe, learn from, and abide in relationship with the true vine that is Christ himself (beginning of John 15). There are many examples of #blessed promises where we can use the hashtag in context and humility.
- I am free from condemnation (Romans 8) #blessed
- I can approach God with boldness and confidence (Ephesians 3:12) #blessed
- Regardless of my past, I can be forgiven and redeemed of all my mistakes allowing me to start over (Colossians 1:13 – 14) #blessed
Perhaps having Aspergers is a reminder of my need to depend on God to feel significant, accepted, and secure. Maybe having this neurological difference is a reminder that God made me a gifted artist and that the pictures I paint, whether it’s through this blog or my music, have to show the world who He is to fulfill His promises. And if He doesn’t allow me to excel or His promises aren’t working in my favour, I’m still alive and His grace is sufficient for me. To me, just to live and have an opportunity to show autism as a gift is a blessing itself.
My name is Aaron Parsons. I struggle with Aspergers. Am I #blessed or what?