Today I had the rare opportunity to visit a dear friend and her husband while visiting my hometown. Their middle daughter and I were the best of friends decades before “BFF” was in anyone’s vocabulary. And she still is. It’s easily said that this is a “Best Family Forever” in my book. They’ve been a part of my life since Chapter One.
Her husband was surprised that we had not followed through with his pre-lunch requirement for the two of us to take a selfie. My quick reply indicated that a selfie would be too close. Nope. Not doing this right after my ** birthday. Before our hugs good-bye, we decided HE could take the picture of us. And what did I do? I cropped the photo instantly to delete what I didn’t want to see. REALLY. On the drive home, I started thinking about a lot of things….. Some superficial, some spiritual, and some soul- searching.
Why are selfies threatening? Let’s address the 3 categories.
For us women, let’s address the superficial – but nevertheless external – issues first:
When we SEE our image staring back at us, what do we “zero in” on?
1. What we don’t like. Admit it. Today I immediately drew my attention to what I didn’t like, cropped it, and had an instant do-over. REALLY.
2. Because we look at outward appearances, we can’t “zero in” on what’s going on in others’ lives. Today’s images can be deceiving. What we SEE about others can be very superficial indeed. What’s really behind the selfies posted on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat? There is potentially a huge gap between what is seen and what is not. And it can certainly put us in an unhealthy (emotional) place if what we perceive isn’t necessarily reality. REALLY.
Not knowing everything can be a good thing because we really don’t need to let everyone in the social media world SEE everything. Boundaries, please!
This leads me to my next category that I’ve designated as a spiritual selfie.
Because we have thwarted perceptions of what’s going on in others’ lives or vice versa, we need to have relationships – deep and transparent – in which a small, trusted few truly see beyond the external selfies that the rest of the world sees.
I’m reminded of King David’s response when he was confronted by Nathan, his advisor. We all need a “Nathan” in our lives to point out what we don’t SEE in ourselves. In other words, we need someone to lovingly pierce our projected selfie with the internal selfie that needs spiritual attention. We need a “Nathan” who gets to the heart of our soul issues – critical issues – that are much more important than outward appearances (I Samuel 16:7).
Do you have a trusted few to do this for you?
1. I am most thankful that God has given me a spouse who points out what I need to SEE in myself whether or not I SEE it for myself. REALLY.
2. I am also thankful for “seasonal” friends – those individuals who are in my life at seasonal points of my time and my life’s journey – who point out my “blind spots” as well. I am drawn to them because they love me enough to help me realize, reflect, and refocus if needed. REALLY.
My last designated category is that of a soul – searching selfie.
I think too much. This is my asset and my liability. And when I think too much, it usually ends up in a blog….
I realized over a decade ago that doing some soul searching is actually a courageous thing. At that particular season of my life, I was weary from events that created discouragement. Discouragement gave way to doubt, and doubt gave way to a default mode of thinking. Red flag, red flag, red flag. This was a turning point for me – my internal selfie desperately needed a do-over. I could only have a do-over if I had enough courage to search deep within to deal with issues that I had not had the courage to previously confront. I am forever grateful for this experience because God gave me an internal do-over that gave me a new beginning of sorts, even though the outward appearances remained the same (again…I Samuel 16:7). But it wasn’t nearly as instant as that of the iPhone variety. That’s okay, though, because God decided I was worth the time and effort. And I decided I was too. I’m so thankful that God NEVER gives up on us.
Soul – searching can be a wonderful thing if you make the choice to do the following:
1. Dig deep within as long as you keep searching for the One who created you with the ability to doubt in the first place. Dig deep for your courage. REALLY.
2. Decide to give the One who created you with the ability to doubt to provide the salve that your soul may need during times of soul – searching. Decide God is big enough. REALLY.
I’m thankful for the special people in my life who see the REAL me and continue to love, encourage, and speak truth to me, in spite of what the rest of the world may see. The real selfie, indeed.
In case you’re wondering, the cropped photo of earlier today made it on my Facebook page. You’ll see it if you’re my “friend.” REALLY.