In today’s world, capturing your day-to-day on social media is the norm.
Snapping a picture of your morning java, sharing your child’s latest fashion trend, revealing a funny moment, or opening up a small piece of your private world to the public has become common and even endearing to many.
It’s fun to see the people you admire be real people, with messy hair, messy kids, and messy lives.
And for those posting, it’s enjoyable to share your life with others who can’t be physically present; friends & family who are far off or followers who respect what you think and believe.
Capturing your world and sharing it with others can be fun, but it can also be destructive. That selfie you just took? It has the potential to destroy your soul.
With each camera flip, you can gradually become more enamored with yourself and less concerned with the world around you. The world you wanted to share with others can become a small center stage for yourself– a stage illuminated by the spotlights of insecurity and pride.
Selfies can make you feel good. I get that. They may even cause you to experience momentary acceptance or feel valued by others (or yourself). But let me humbly suggest a few reasons why you should consider not taking them.
1. Selfies feed the parts of you that need to die.
There is a reason you flip the camera around. Most likely it’s to feed the parts of you that aren’t worth keeping around.
These are the parts of you that are filled with insecurity and pride. These parts crave the applause of others, so you filter what you want people to see to get the response you hope for. I know this because I do this. Hyprocite, maybe. Trying to be real, most definitely.
Selfies can feed the self-centeredness you wrestle with. They feed the lie that your worth is found in your appearance or the foolishness of believing you are brave for consistently drawing attention to yourself.
Those parts of you need to die because they make you more insecure–not less. When was the last time you took the perfect picture (duck face and all) and didn’t check how many likes or hearts you got?
Most likely, pun intended, you checked over and over again waiting for people to like, comment and celebrate you. And if it didn’t happen, you probably felt worse. If you got some likes and comments, you fed off them like they were the last batch of Girl Scout cookies in existence.
And when was the last time you ate a Thin Mint cookie and felt lasting satisfaction? Never. The answer is never. You ate the entire box in one sitting, thinking about the little green-sashed angels with all the remaining ones.
Selfies are like Thin Mints. They give you momentary satisfaction, but they don’t last. And they feed the fat parts of you that probably need to die, or at least shrink. In all seriousness, here’s the truth…
Selfies don’t give you more of Jesus. They fool you into thinking you need more of yourself, more time for you, and more focus on you. And you cannot give life. Only Jesus has that power.
2. Selfies force you to lie to yourself.
The duck face, those pouty lips, the shirtless pic the guy at the beach asks his buddy to take…
It’s our attempt to hear from the world,
We are great. We are beautiful. We are desirable. We have worth.
But here’s the truth underlying those motives:
We are narcissistic. We are insecure. We are broken. And we know it.
The issue with your selfie has nothing to do with your body or your worth. And in case you need to hear it, you are beautiful. You were made in the image of God and you have immeasurable worth that can’t be defined by your waistline, skin tone, or the number of followers on your social media accounts.
Your worth is found in the reality that the God who spoke the universe into existence would give up His life for the possibility of being close to you. That even when you are at your worst, Jesus considers you His treasure.
And I guarantee there are people who love you even if you don’t know them yet. The issue is that selfies force you to lie to yourself about the reality of your world or cause you to not deal with them. Specifically, the deep and emotional parts of yourself.
- Feeling insecure with how your spouse sees you physically? You post a selfie, hoping to receive affirmation from someone else. However, no matter how many likes you get from the world, it can’t compare to real words spoken from someone you love.
- Feeling unappreciated at work or home? Post a selfie showing the awesome job you are doing. However, it won’t replace the affirmation you long for from your boss or the heartfelt thank you, you only wish your kids or spouse would say.
Selfies are great momentary distractions from the reality of your world. But selfies don’t help because they distract you from doing what’s necessary to deal with your life. Instead…
- Have the difficult conversation with your spouse about the insecurity you are feeling.
- Set a meeting with your boss and be honest with how you need to hear you are doing a good job.
- Deal. With. Your. Life.
Don’t settle for a selfie that filters a life you wish you had because you can have it. If you deal with it.
3. Selfies can make you look conceited.
I know what you are gonna say. Haters gonna hate. Or you can’t control what people think or say about you. And to an extent, I completely agree with you.
Though you shouldn’t worry about the perception of those who don’t know you, I would listen to the opinion of those who do.
If your friends went to your Instagram page and started scrolling, how many pictures would be of just you? Just a few? 1/3? Half? The majority?
I can’t answer that question for you, but I can for myself. At one point in my life, I was that shirtless guy wanting attention from others. I have been that insecure employee wanting to hear encouraging words from the boss. Instead, I ran to others on social media because it’s easier to snap a picture rather than have a vulnerable conversation.
What I found is selfies really don’t help my insecurity. It just made me look conceited. It didn’t help improve my image, it only hurt it.
To those closest to us, our social media accounts speak a story to them. It tells them what matters to us. What we want them to know when we aren’t with them. This story is one that those who don’t know you will never be able to read or even care to. That’s why their opinion doesn’t matter much.
But for those you call family and friends, let your story depict more than just yourself because your life is bigger than you.
4. Selfies take up valuable storage space.
I mean this literally and figuratively. Selfies take up valuable space on your phone and in your life. Check out these stats.
- Millennials are expected to take over 25,000 selfies in their lifetime.
- In 2015 more people died taking selfies than shark attacks.
- 24 billion selfies were uploaded to Google last year.
- Millennials dedicate one hour per week to selfies.
You may look back on your life and wish you swam with sharks. Apparently, it’s less dangerous than taking a selfie.
In reality, I know these stats can be misleading. The people who died taking selfies were most likely not being very responsible. But here’s a sobering truth….
If you were to pass away today and your loved ones started scrolling through your phone, would they find pictures of people and things you loved or hundreds of filtered images of yourself? What a sad obituary would this would be:
“Today we put to rest our beloved ___________. If there is one thing that was evident about their life, we see that they loved themselves.”
Your time, your space in this world, can never be replaced. You’ll never get it back. It will be stored, filled up by something. You don’t get to upgrade to a newer model until you reach eternity.
If you spend an hour a week on selfies, that’s 48 hours a year. That’s 2 full days of your life, devoted to capturing yourself. May I humbly suggest you store up something more valuable. Like spending time with the people you love.
5. Selfies can make capturing life more important than experiencing it.
But first… let me take a selfie.
This viral phrase, originating from the band The Chainsmokers, depicts our struggle to capture our lives while still trying to experience it.
I must admit, this is a real tension for myself. The struggle is real. I love to share my experiences with others on social media. In some weird way, I’ve been told it encourages people. I don’t fully understand this, but I believe it when they say it.
Or to say it another way… When we post to the world, we can miss sharing it with a person.
The selfie culture has fooled us into believing you aren’t experiencing if you aren’t capturing it. And this, my friend, is a lie. Some of the sweetest memories I have are locked in my memory, not stored on my phone.
They are stored, unfiltered and beautifully void of worldly comment. The people I hold most precious know these memories and treasure their place in the story.
I want the same for you, my friend. Memories upon glorious memories. So capture the world. Capture your story. But remember, it’s bigger than you.