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Today’s Truth

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

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. 

Let’s Pray

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,

Amen.

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.

8 Responses to “Notice Others in a Selfie World”

  1. Abby says:

    This was very convicting. While I generally don’t do selfies, around the holidays I had pictures taken of me. I was trying to convince myself that I was as happy as everyone else I see on social media. Also, I do spend too much time on my phone. I may not always have my family.

  2. Ronnie says:

    I really love reading GIG! It’s always enlightening, encouraging and uplifting. Arlene makes a valid point of focusing on others instead of yourself. Most of the time that’s my goal but I’ve found myself wondering why I’m doing a certain thing. Like why do I sing? Is it to just because I can or to uplift others. For years I sang because my mom told me I sounded good and it must have been true because people began to invite me to sing at their church. I did it for years and then suddenly I began to think why am I doing this. I found no gratitude in it. I was married to a man with a drug addiction and I found it very hard to minister after he would say things to me that would hit me under my belt. After a while I stopped singing. I lost the passion. For years I was stagnant even after joining an awesome ministry. I went through the motions. I had the nerve to join the praise team and suddenly developed this atrocious fear that gripped me for years. All the while hearing the wonderful word of God from my pastor who quite honestly poured out of his soul. Then one day after my kids were all grown up and my husband kicked his habit, I woke up and realized God has a work for me to do. The dream of ministering in song and pulling others out of their stagnation is now a reality. That fear I had, came from my own thoughts of selfishness. My goal is to think positively and to focus on encouraging others so that they can be drawn to Christ.
    Peace & Blessings
    Ronnie

  3. Kathleen says:

    I don’t pretend to understand this selfie generation. It appears to me many are fixated on self . What this is due to I really don’t know. What I do know is that it’s not unusual for man to want attention, to know that they do matter. What doesn’t set right with me though is the ” what they must have missed out on” by concentrating on self instead maybe other people and things around them. But isn’t that exactly what the writer also did, I wonder if the writer missed out on the beauty of maybe others due to focussing on what didn’t seem right to her

  4. Asha says:

    I definitely struggled with the whole “here I am” thing last year and God brought that verse to me. God and I worked through it and I came out better! Thanks for the reminder!

  5. You realizing this is a great first step. Don’t worry about social media. Instead place your focus on your family who loves you very much. Thanks so much for your comment

  6. Paula says:

    Love the time and work you took to share this and for all the girlfriends in God devotions.

  7. Susan says:

    Hey your message on cell phones and being aware and considerate was awesome. Thank you for sharing. Wish all moms could read this. So sad to see the last generation with their children. God bless America! Blessings to you girlfriends in God. You are so special!

  8. Jen says:

    Thank you for this very relevant good word! I recently deleted all social media apps from my cell phone and limit myself to a few moments on coffee breaks at work to get on social media and catch up with friends and family. Just deleting these apps from my phone, I notice I use my Bible app more, read devotionals and heartwarming stories, look through my pictures of my kids and family more…

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