It’s something I look forward to each week. Something I enjoy and have participated in for over a year now. As an amateur photographer, I get a kick out of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. The focus of the challenge usually prompts me not only to take or find a picture I’ve captured to personify the challenge but usually write an accompanying post as well.
But this week – oh, this week. I can honestly say for the very first time I am extremely disappointed in the choice word for the challenge.
Selfie. That’s this week’s photo challenge.
A selfie? When I get a steady diet of selfies from my young friends on Facebook? Sorry if I’ve offended you, my young friends, but really, why so many photos of yourself?
A selfie? On a bad hair day when my jaw is swollen from oral surgery and I’m huddled under my blanket in my comfy, raggedy old sweats?
A selfie? Good grief, WordPress, I think of myself way too often without you reminding me to take photos of me, myself, and I.
And that’s my real issue with this photo challenge. There’s too much emphasis on self in this world. The world tells me to love myself. Focus on myself. Make myself the best. Improve myself by using this beauty cream, this hair product, or this cosmetic surgery. Teeth aren’t white enough? Try this! Don’t get enough attention? Drive this car! Don’t like the color of your hair? Change it! Too fat? Too thin? Don’t wear the right kind of clothes? Or jewelry? Or cologne? Just buy this, eat this, drink this, indulge in this…and the list goes on. Why? Because ultimately, we humans do only love ourselves. Nobody has to entice us to do that. We do it all by ourselves.
I have to agree with a quote made by evangelist Billy Graham: “Self-centered indulgence, pride and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle.”
Self-centered indulgence. Kind of reminds me of selfies. Pride. More selfies. You see where I’m going with this. So a selfie? Really, WordPress? I wallow in enough self-centered indulgence and pride, thank you very much, without you enabling me. The photo I’ve included with this post is the best you’re going to get out of me for this challenge. Because I don’t want to be in front of the lens, I want to be behind it. I don’t want to be the focus, the center of attention, because truly, when you come right down to it, it’s not about me.
This world does not revolve around me. I am just a blip on the radar screen. To quote one of my favorite songs, Who Am I by Casting Crowns: “I am a flower quickly fading. Here today and gone tomorrow. A wave tossed in the ocean. A vapor in the wind.”
And the truth of the matter is, so are you.
I’m not that important and puffing my self/ego up doesn’t change that. But I do know who I am. I am His. You see, in my world, it’s about Him. My Savior Jesus. Because without Him, that hole in my heart is empty and I would try to fill it by gratifying myself. And unfortunately, I struggle with that every day. To put myself and my wants aside. To ignore my human urges to satisfy me and only me. To think of others more highly than I do myself. It ain’t easy, and promoting myself in a selfie photo isn’t going to help one bit.
Because what I believe is written in God’s Word to remind myself that a selfie is not what I strive to be. Instead of photos of myself, I want images of His Word to be my legacy. The New Testament has a lot to say about denying self. Words such as:
- “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” ~ Ephesians 4:22-24 (New International Version)
- “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” ~ 1 Peter 3:3-4 (New International Version)
- “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. “ ~ Philippians 2:3 (New Living Translation)
And for me the bottom line is this – Jesus didn’t tell me to love myself. What He told His disciples in John 13:34-35 goes for me too if I call myself a believer in Him. Jesus said, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (New Living Translation)
No, a selfie will not show the world the love for Jesus that is in me. A selfie only shows self-indulgence, a focus on self. And until I learn to curb that insatiable thirst to glorify myself, how can I truly love others? Greek philosopher Aristotle said it well when he said, “I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.”
Aristotle, you weren’t kidding.