May 26, 2015

How to Thrive in a Selfie Stick World

Dave and I traveled to a flea market this week.

We had lots of fun poking around different shops and laughing at some of the strange wares we saw displayed. Hanging under the flaps of one tent, a sign proudly boasted, "Selfie Sticks Sold Here."

For those not familiar with these sticks, they're an invention that allows you to take "selfie" pictures featuring you with more people. I think it's so strange how selfies have completely taken over the internet. Before I owned a digital camera, I used to almost exclusively take pictures of things and people other than me! I looked for the beauty in the things around me.

But the advent of the social media and selfie stick age has brought with it a cultural acceptance (and promotion of!) narcissism. Vanity. Obsession with ourselves. And that can quickly slip into a dangerous desire for the approval of others. (How well I know that.)

If I was to put together a guide for thriving in a selfie stick world, this is where I would start. Maybe you need these reminders as much as I do!:

1. It's not about you.
For Christian believers like me, life is ultimately about God. His plans. His purposes. His desires. How much are your posts on social media pointing to Jesus instead of yourself?

2. Listen well.
Especially as a writer, I spend so much time speaking into things -- from social media to work to family. As much as I love to write and talk, it is so much more important to actively listen to broaden my understanding and meet people where they are at.

3. Look outside yourself.
It can be all too easy for me to get caught up in my own worries, excitement, disappointments, life circumstances, etc. that I fail to look outside of myself. When was the last time you noticed something beautiful in nature? How could you help meet a need in the world? 

4. Don't seek validation from others.
How many times have I checked my Facebook page just to see if someone liked or commented on something I posted? It's got to be an embarrassing number. Instead, I want to spend my time building up and encouraging others, shining the light of Christ into their lives.

5. Comparison steals joy.
This one's related to #4. Envy can sneak in when you're looking at pictures of a friend's cute baby, bigger house, model-like body, etc. One great way I've found to combat this is with gratitude. Keeping a gratitude journal is a great practice, but at least make sure to praise God every day for a few of the blessings in your life!

So, yeah, just some thoughts I was having tonight. What would you add to this list?

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