Can we get real here for a minute or two?
Can we talk about selfies?
A word which wasn’t added to the dictionary until about three years ago, but which has grown to be an indicator of this twenty-first century generation.
And even though it didn’t become an “official” word until three years ago, I certainly have enough pictures of myself [taken by myself] on my computer, going back for ten years.
I’ll never forget the moment that first person taught me to turn and point the camera at myself – and from the moment I got my first digital camera, I became my most photographed subject. Don’t laugh, but I remember those MySpace days (mm-hmm, it was all the rage of 2006) – when you were only allowed to have 12 pictures in an album. We would have albums dedicated to “Pictures of Me” – and when we got tired of the 12 that were in there, we would switch them out with twelve more exciting pictures … of ourselves.
You think that’s ridiculous? Not so much more ridiculous than looking at someone’s Instagram feed or Mobile Upload album on Facebook and recognizing their face as the most common image.
Why, I’ve wondered, is this all the rage? Why do I crave to have the world hit the “like” button underneath my face? Most likely because I love what I see in the mirror, and I want affirmation that other people love it, too.
A couple of years ago I became disgusted with this self-centeredness that I felt bubbling up inside of me every time I posted a selfie, and decided that I would no longer post pictures of just me taken by myself. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, that rule has been broken a few times (around 10 in the last three years), because I still struggle with the desire for people to take notice of my face.
This morning, in fact, as I was getting ready for the day, I was feeling like I needed affirmation and started to reach for the selfie mode on my phone. And clear as anything, the thought came into my mind –
“Your face is not as important as your life.”
The phrase blew me away.
And I realized in an instant what happens when I start feeling the “need” to post a picture of myself on social media – I’ve lost my center in Christ. I’ve started to make my looks more important than my heart. I’ve reached for the one thing that will fuel my pride and self-love more than anything else in the world – the one thing Christ is asking me to place on the altar.
My heart lurches at the revealing of such brokenness within.
You see, my heart is crying out desperately for someone to say, “I like you, I love you” – when Christ has already said, “I love you” – and died to prove it. Why do I think that the temporary approval of humans, tapping pictures on their phones, some of whom barely even know me in real life, is more important than the approval of the One who made me, designed me, and rescued me from the slimy pit of hell?
Why would I spend more time snapping photo after photo of my face, trying to get the best lighting, the best angle, the right smile than I would on my knees in prayer?
One curries the ego while the other is the only weapon on earth that can truly slay the ego.
Why would I spend more time checking to see who’s recently liked my pictures than I would putting the phone away and looking into another’s eyes to truly listen to them?
One only feeds my selfishness – the other feeds both my soul and someone else’s with the love of Christ.
I love pictures. I love the memories they bring with them, and I love taking them and looking back on them. But I want the pictures that I take to be of a life beautifully lived with other people – not the timeline of a girl who only cared about her face looking perfect for her morning selfie. I want the pictures to capture the soul of one sold out for Christ – living on purpose and inspiring others to do the same.
My life here on earth is incredibly brief, and I know that the camera can be a weapon to destroy me or it can be a weapon to destroy the enemy if I refuse to bow to its temptations. And for someone who really loves the praise of man, it’s not that easy to say no to the temptations sometimes.
That’s why I need this reminder for myself:
Before you post a picture on social media, ask yourself:
Where is your heart at right now? Where is your contentment? Are you feeling anxious or restless? Have you spent more time with Christ than your phone this morning?
Will you feel depressed if this post gets 3 likes? Or no likes? Are you trying to angrily suppress feelings of conviction and post anyway – and then checking back five minutes later to see if you’re getting validated for disobedience?
If you answer those questions truthfully and realize that you are feeling restless and insecure and discontent – put the phone away and turn to the truth of God’s Word. It will give you truer affirmation than any to be found online.
This battle is real, friends. I need accountability for it. I need pride and self-love to die a swift and hearty death. I need Christ to consume me more than my life currently does. I need to remember that there is always grace for the stumbler and always mercy for the one who needs a second chance – which would be me, every single day I wake up still in a sinner’s body.
And if you’re feeling angry at me right now, thinking I’m writing to you because you posted a selfie this morning, don’t worry – I’m not. I’m writing to myself, because I’m the one who wanted more than anything to post a selfie this morning.
And once again, my Savior brought gentle reminders of the true importance of life to mind. I pray that I would consistently burn those reminders into my heart until they become as natural as breathing.
I pray that my life lived for Christ alone would become more important than a temporary photo of my face. Perhaps there is hope for me yet.
Can we get real here for a minute or two?