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Confessions of a Closet Christian 44: Why Do We Focus On First World Problems?

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I just ate a macaroon that I thought had vanilla filling, but it was lemon. #firstworldproblems
Hand wash only.  #firstworldproblems
My customized MacBook Pro hasn’t shipped yet.  #firstworldproblems

This hashtag is hilarious.  It’s witty.  It’s clever.  It’s true.  These are silly things.  Miniscule surface things that in the grand scheme don’t matter.  But they matter to us.  They’re problems.  Big or small.  And they accumulate quickly.  Search this hashtag for endless Frappuccino whipped cream woes.

Maybe we’re spoiled to be able to call these problems.  Maybe we’re ridiculous to bother mentioning them.  Maybe we’re skewed in focusing on them.  Maybe pointing out the problem does more than the tweet would suggest.

Because as funny as it is, it seems counterproductive to focus on what we don’t have instead of what we do.  Maybe that’s an old moral, but it’s hung around for awhile because it’s probably a good one.  There are bigger problems out there.  There are people in huge need.  So as funny as it is to make fun of ourselves for lacking that one little thing… it’s probably doing all these other worlds a disservice – as we fail to recognize what they may or may not have.

It also just facilitates self-focus.  Not only thinking of the self first, but thinking of what the self lacks.  First.  First and foremost – it’s me, it’s my coffee, its my whipped cream, my macaroon, my hand wash only sweater.  And if I don’t have these things, this is a huge problem.  This is the straw that breaks the camel’s back and ruins my day.  This is why everything “just sucks.”

It seems like the mistake is made when we focus more on the problem and less on the solution.  When we get so wound up in what we don’t have, we forget about what we do have and what we can give.  We forget there are people out there in greater need than we are of a caramel macchiato (which we could probably lay off of and spend some time on the treadmill #firstworldproblem).  We forget while focusing on ourselves and on our problems that Christ provides the ultimate solution.  He gives us everything we need, washing away every blemish of sin and promising to love us unconditionally.  That takes care of every problem.

Maybe we need a new hashtag.

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