I have recently been schooled in the inanity of Justin Beiber's (or is it Bieber's? I'm glad I don't know the answer to this question.) ubiquitous collection of self-photography.
When pressed by the people around them to tell the story of their lives from their own perspective, important people used to write autobiographies. Now we have the selfie as a means of sharing one's own perspective. It's an equal-opportunity form of self-promotion, often undertaken more by the unimportant than the important.
Now of course, let me get it out of the way: it is not inherently "wrong" to take a selfie.
I've taken a few. You probably have too.
But I want to challenge us all to think about the things that we do. We have to be careful with any-- ANY-- activity that is self-focused, and self-promoting. We have to be willing to transparently investigate our own hearts--
- WHY are we doing this thing?
- What is the purpose of our self-focus in this particular moment?
- What is the point of taking so many photos of ourselves?
Sometimes we want to have a close-up of ourself with another person. Sometimes we want a particular perspective. Sometimes you want to chronicle a moment and there's no one else around to take the picture. Sometimes we want to know how our newly-done hairstyle looks, haha.
There can certainly be innocuous reasons for a selfie.
However, in a few of the times I've taken "selfies," I can see other things happening in my heart. I feel the pull to care about externals and perception more than I do at other times of life. This picture makes me look like I have a double chin. Why do my eyes look weird in that one? Uh-oh-- my dirty laundry is in the background; try again!
There are some potential pitfalls or "danger zones" when it comes selfies:
- We may glorify UNreality. - Am I choosing a picture that cuts out every 'negative' thing, thus glorifying something that most likely (in truth) does not exist? Am I, knowingly or not, buying into a culture that idolizes the airbrushed celebrity or starving model, and disdains things like everyday moments in a normal, imperfect family? Do I put more effort and intentionality into presenting an image, rather than BEING a Christ-follower in everyday life?
- We may glorify ourselves. - Who am I pointing to? Who is being made much of? Am I acting as if my own emotions, facial expressions, and experiences are the most significant thing in life? Am I sinfully focused on myself and my perspective, instead of seeing myself as God's creation-- part of His story, His world, His tapestry?
- We may glorify sensuality. - Am I revealing things that should not be revealed? Am I, through the positioning of a camera, the arching of my back, the pouting of my lips, or (some other factor) contributing to a pornographic culture? Would I want my dad, grandparents, pastor, and future grandchildren to look carefully at the picture I am taking?
- We may glorify the sardonic. - In my expression/demeanor, am I glorifying a self-loathing, cynical, ungrateful heart that highlights my despair and downplays the goodness of God in my life?
- We may delude ourselves. - Am I confusing myself about what actually exists, or about what is most important in life?
- We may deceive others. - Am I confusing others about what actually exists in my life? Am I discouraging others by how 'perfect' everything appears?
In all of these, I used the word "may."
Our intent might certainly NOT be to do these things, but Christ-followers have to live as sober-minded people, thinking carefully about the way that we live and the choices we make. Our actions say something about what we believe... we we value... what we want to glorify and hold up as "good" in our lives.
Is taking a "selfie" inherently wrong?
But it could be wrong. Each of us must sit before the Lord as He searches our hearts. He is so good to lead us into all truth, and to show us where we need to grow.
Let's make much of Him & His goodness, even in "selfies."
YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY:
- Thinking about your LEGACY
- Weight, Women & the Human Soul
- REMEMBER who you are in Christ
- How SIN can produce "watershed moments" of clarity about ourselves
Image courtesy of: imagerymajestic/freedigitalphotos.net