January 11, 2018
Notice Others in a Selfie World
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV)
Friend to Friend
My daughter Noelle and I were sightseeing in New York City. One highlight was rocketing up 102 stories in a mere 47 seconds inside the elevator of the Freedom Tower. Once at the top, we looked for a good spot to take in the glorious view. I couldn’t help but notice two teenage girls taking up a large space in the very front.
The problem was they were not even looking at the city below. They were posing for selfies – lots of them! They laid on the floor and posed. They struck different standing poses and snapped. I walked around and returned to that same spot about ten minutes later. They were still there! Posing in pursuit of the perfect selfie with New York City in the background.
I doubt they noticed the other people who would have liked to snap a picture where they had set up camp. I wondered why they didn’t turn around and enjoy the panoramic view with their God given eyes instead of the phone screen. With screens taking center stage, women can be obsessed with capturing the perfect photo to show the world.
Yet Philippians 2:3-4 tells us to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.” Selfish ambition is a work of the flesh, not of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:26 (NIV) instructs, “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each another.”
Does that mean it’s wrong to pose for a selfie? No – it can be a perfectly appropriate way to capture a moment. But there is cause for concern if you find that…
-You are overly concerned with portraying yourself a certain way to impress others
-You take numerous photos of the same pose to get it just right
-You compare your selfie to others and take mental notes on how you can improve yours
-You feel conceited when you see how favorable you look compared to others
-You are more interested in taking a selfie than meeting someone new or talking with an acquaintance
The Bible tells us to value others above ourselves. When we place the lens of our focus on the needs of others (instead of our own interests), we are having the same mindset as Jesus Christ. Popular culture fights against this notion. “Selfie” wasn’t even a word in the dictionary until 2013 but it’s commonplace today. The constant tracking of self can lead to a growing indifference towards others. The bigger we become inside the frame, the smaller everyone else becomes.
When you walk into a room, do you take the attitude of “Here I am!” or do you step in the doorway and think, “Ah, there you are!” Turning our “selfie” focus into an “others” focus takes practice and intention. God calls us to be “There you are!” people, women who are genuinely interested in others. But we live in a selfie world that caters to our natural instinct to preserve and exalt ourselves.
It’s time to switch things up. Instead of spending too much time preparing the perfect selfie, let’s quickly snap a picture of ourselves and then spend the bulk of our time focused on others. That view is much more meaningful.
Remember the teenage girls from the Freedom Tower? They walked out with some great selfies, but they never really took the time to take in the view. They missed out. Don’t miss the amazing people and things happening around you because you’re focused on your phone. Make it your daily practice to notice others in a selfie world.
Dear Jesus, I am weary of keeping up with my phone and trying to portray myself in a positive light. Please help me to put my phone in the proper place. I want to notice others more readily and most importantly; I want to notice You. Show me Your hand in my life at work today.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
What do your loved ones say about your phone use? Do they ever feel like they are not as important as what is happening on your phone?
Make a point of putting your phone down and pivoting towards your friend or family member instead of staring at your phone today.
More from the Girlfriends
If you need some help taming your technology, Arlene’s book Calm, Cool, and Connected: 5 Digital Habits for a More Balanced Life is the perfect resource to introduce new, healthy habits to improve your relationships.
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Originally published Friday, 11 January 2019.