conference conference


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.

Photo Credit

Step Back and Rethink the Selfie Girl Defined

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girl defined conference
Radical Purity

12 Responses to Step Back and Rethink the Selfie

  1. Christianna says:

    @girldefined I was reading your blog post “Why Christian Girls post seductive selfies” and i was wondering…what is actually wrong with those poses you said? Why is it wrong to stare hard into the camera or pucker your lips or raise an eyebrow?? Sure maybe you don’t like it, but as like a moral thing what’s wrong? I get it if your like dressed super immodest or something, but if its just your face with a weird expression and make-up, what’s the problem??

    • Hey Christianna! The way I see it, modesty isn’t just about your clothes. It’s also about the way you speak and behave. If a modestly-dressed girl is flirting or behaving in a seductive way, it’s still gonna send the wrong message to boys and possibly cause them to stumble. So what is actually wrong with poses like puckering your lips is the intent behind the expression, it’s meant to look ‘sexy’ and attract boys’ attention.

    • Emma says:

      I believe that the question is, what is your heart doing? Why do you want to post a picture like that? What is the motive behind it all?

      I don’t think that there’s a problem with posting pics like that, but really think about why you’re doing it. Is it helping others see Christ? Most girls will say that they’re just having fun, but really, they’re crying out for others to look at them.

      Our whole focus in life, as Christian girls, should be to glorify God, not ourselves.

  2. Hailey says:

    I am very anti-selfie and have been for a long time. My Christian friends do exactly what you mentioned–post pictures of themselves on social media with Bible verses. I try not be judgmental because I certainly have a plank in my eye, but often it seems that the Bible verse is not meant to be the focus of the picture. When I got an Instagram I decided to not post selfies and not “like” other people’s selfies 🙂

  3. Elizabeth Williams says:

    I have to do this with Facebook! And not just pictures, but any posts. Usually if I’m thinking about posting something, I think about it a day or two. And a lot of times I realize I shouldn’t waste my time posting whatever it is! I have to ask myself what the motivation is, if it will hurt my testimony in any way, and if it will reflect Christ in my life. I think people usually use Bible verses with their selfies to make it look “noble” lol

  4. Dolly says:

    Unfortunately, it’s not just about what you peers think about your selfies; future employers and team coaches take great concern as well.

    I had this friend, we’ll call her Sarah. Sarah was the best swimmer on her team. She was fast. she was focused, she was devoted. She was an expert at what she did.

    When Sarah turned 18, she posted a inappropriate selfie on Facebook to show off her new tattoo. You know what happened? She was due to go to a real big match, but got kicked off the team because of the photo.

    Can you imagine having to leave something you love just because you posted a picture. It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?

    So ladies, please don’t post seductive, sexy selfies, because when you do, you’re just hurting yourself.

  5. ThePoeticMusician says:

    Great post, as always. Another thing is that seductive selfies will definitely get you attention, but of the wrong kind. It will get attention based on how a girl looks, rather than how Christ shines through her.

    And let’s face it–most girls post these pictures to attract the attention of guys, or maybe a specific guy. Do you really want a guy that wants you for the way you look? If so, he doesn’t really love you–that’s lust. AND you could be causing your brother in Christ to stumble!

    Girls, think before you post. What you post is a little like what you read–it’s very revealing of your true character and where your treasure is placed. Post God-honoring pictures rather than self-honoring selfies. 🙂

  6. Jasmine Luna says:

    I remember when the Lord convicted me about posting selfies online. I began to see selfies in light of what they are. I mean, the word itself reveals that it’s all about “self” instead of God. There’s a portion in 2 Timothy 3:1-2

    “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
    For men shall be lovers of their own selves…”

    The problem with “versies” (Selfie + a Bible verse) is that it makes that person seem holy and godly, but the photo tells otherwise. It’s confusing. In verse 5 of the same chapter above, it talks about “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof”. When I read that verse all I could say was OUCH! Lord have mercy!

    Thanks for this article, it really helped to reaffirm what God’s been teaching me lately. God bless you sister Bethany!

  7. Natalia Abad says:

    Hey Bethany, i really loved this topic because I felt so related (like many others). A lot of times we tend to spent more time in these superficial things (posting selfies, caring too much about the likes/comments, etc.) instead of building a true relationship with our Lord. I can say, i’ve been there many many times and this is totally addictive. I’m up to the challenge because it brings us out to the root of the problem: our heart and its motivations.

    Thanks for your dedication in doing everything about this blog, God Bless you a lot!

  8. Emma says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I think as christian girls, we all struggle to point others to Christ instead of thinking about ourselves. I know that I have to keep reminding myself why I’m here on earth. It is to love the Lord with all my heart, fear Him, and glorify Him.

  9. Sarah says:

    Wow… I just have to say as much as I hate to admit it.. I so needed this!! Thanks for sharing!!

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