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Step Back and Rethink the Selfie

By: Bethany Beal

I remember this day like it was yesterday. I was thirteen years old, loving life and desperately trying to build up the courage to “post” my selfie. I had just finished a full week at church camp and was hanging out in the sports court waiting for my parents to pick me up.

I knew my parents were going to pull into the parking lot at any moment, so I had to act quick.

With a knot in my stomach, and my eyes on the guy, I made my move. I walked up to Brandon, pulled out my personal wallet sized portrait, and handed it to him.

He, being the super sweet thirteen year old boy that he was, took my “selfie” and complimented how pretty I looked.. He responded exactly the way that I’d hoped. He “liked” and “commented” and left me feeling oh-so-good.

My Heart Motivation

I’m going to be totally honest with you, my main motivation in giving Brandon my “selfie” was to make me feel good. I wanted affirmation. I wanted attention. I wanted his approval. My “selfie” was my way to go about getting what I wanted.

I can’t help but assume that at least some of you can relate to my story. You may not be passing out wallet sized self-portraits, but, in a much more modern way you are doing the exact same thing.

Step Back and Rethink the Selfie

I want to take some time in today’s post to have a call-it-like-I-see-it-moment. As a girl older than probably most of you reading this blog, I want to sound an alarm. I want to do the “older sisterly thing” and give you an outside perspective on the selfie-entrenched world in which we live.

A while back I came across the selfie of a Christian teen girl that caused me serious concern. The selfie was focused on the girl’s body and not so much her face. She was wearing a rather revealing outfit and the selfie seemed to be focused on displaying her curves.

I wouldn’t have thought much about the selfie, considering these sorts of pictures are totally the norm these days, but her description left me puzzled. Underneath her selfie were several Bible verses and a quote about focusing on the Lord and rejoicing in His goodness.

This Left Me Totally Confused

I wondered, “How in the world does a body-focused selfie help me, or anyone else seeing the picture, focus on the Lord? Is this girl totally clueless, or, is she using the verse to try and somehow justify her picture?”

I wish this picture were an isolated case, but it’s not.

These types of selfies have become so common that I feel like I have to talk about this. Girls, why are we posting pictures on social media that scream “look at me, look at my cute outfit, look at my hot body, look at how pretty I am” and then tacking Bible verses underneath them?

Are we (Christian girls as a whole) really that self-focused, desperate and ignorant? Is our confidence and security so low that we feel the need to grasp for it through attention on Social Media? Do we really think that our “look at me” selfies will point others to the Lord?

I think it’s high time we re-evaluate our photo filtering system and our hearts.

Instead of spending 15-45 minutes testing out the photo filters trying to get that perfect look, take a few minutes and put your picture through this filter.

This is what I like to call the “Heart Motivation Filter.” This filter of questions will help you determine which pictures to post and which pictures to ditch. If your picture makes it through the end of the filtering system with flying colors, I would say post it.

If the questions make it clear that you are in desperate need of affirmation and attention (and you are using the picture to attain that) then I would say ditch it.

Heart Motivation Filter:

  1. Why do I want people to see this picture?
  2. Will I be disappointed if I don’t get a certain number of likes and/or comments?
  3. How many times am I planning to check the status of likes on the picture?
  4. Will I be sad if a certain person doesn’t like or comment on this picture?
  5. Will my mood be affected by how well or poorly this picture does?

If you are being totally honest with yourself and your picture makes it through with pure and right motives, I would say post it!

But, if the filter reveals that your heart isn’t in the right place and you are really seeking out attention, I would say ditch it. In the cases where it’s ditched, you need to evaluate your heart and figure out why you aren’t satisfied in Christ and why you aren’t totally confident in His thoughts of you alone. Psalm 139:13-14 is a great passage to think through in those cases.

The “Heart Motivation Filter” Challenge

I want to challenge you to use that filter the next time you are getting ready to post a picture. Take the picture through each question and be totally honest in your answers.

If you are up for the challenge I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below letting me know how you think this filter can help you in your picture posting choices.

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