I think I have mentioned this a couple of times, but I really hate taking a Selfie. I am not exaggerating when I say that in the same amount of time and energy out-put it takes me to produce a suitable Selfie, I can write and post a 700 word blog. As I have been requesting Selfies (for the cover of upcoming book) from readers over the past few weeks, I am starting to suspect that some of you might rather write a blog as well. Some of you are stalling because you hate taking Selfies. You are not alone, my friend. I share your aversion to attempting to land a Selfie that doesn’t horrify me.
I have had several people ask if they can just send me a picture they already have that someone else took. Nope. Not the same. What we are putting on this cover are a bunch of people who are proclaiming that they are willing to turn the camera back on themselves. And, for some of us, that can be painful. It takes a long time to get a good one, because we are programmed to look for the flaws. Through this process I have become thoroughly convinced that taking a Soul-Selfie is the appropriate description of what I want my readers to imagine as they read what I put on paper. It’s not easy to take a Selfie of your face, but it’s even harder to take one of your soul.
I have spent too many years (approximately 45, give or take) taking snap shots of everyone else’s souls. Some of those pictures, I am ashamed to say, were taken with a judging eye and a condemning spirit. How could they possibly behave that way? Why doesn’t she grow up already? What kind of person would do that to someone? And those are just the thoughts I am willing to say out loud. And then there’s this sneaky snap shot of just trying to “help” others improve. These shots were taken with good motives. I really did want to encourage others in their quest and desire to be better. Better parents, friends, God-followers, and upright examples to those they came in contact with throughout the day. It’s not that those pictures are not worth developing, but if I am not mindful, I can forget that the importance of putting the focus back on myself. I can get so wrapped up in “helping” others that my own soul accumulates habits and beliefs that are not good for it.
Taking the time to learn how to take a Soul-Selfie matters. It’s the most important picture I can take. The hardest part of doing that, is being willing to look closely at the ones that are ugly. The ones where I have a double (or triple) chin and my nose looks crooked and are taken in bad lighting. Because honestly, it’s very tempting to use a filter that polishes out my blemishes, gives it a professional finish and maybe even throws a garland of flowers on my head to distract the viewer from my actual face. But I can only improve if I use the Soul -Selfies that are the real me. And after I face the real, raw, flawed version of me, I can begin the editing process. I edit my soul by asking for God’s help. Asking Him to remove every defect of character that is not useful to him or others. Asking Him to tweak and purge and morph all that is in me so that I can better do His will. So I can live out the plan and purposes He has for me.
And a final thought-an after thought that God reminded me of as I spent time with Him this morning-is to always, always remember why it matters. Why does the condition of my soul matter? And the answer is not “so I can impress others”. It is not about drawing others people to us or attracting them by our “refined spiritual culture”. It is about the intertwining of our core to the One who breathed our soul in to Being.
By regularly turning the camera around to put the focus back on our own souls, we begin the editing process that will begin to make the Phrase “let it begin with me” true in us. And only then can God use us to impact those we love and those we are tempted to hate. Only then can we put our efforts into changing the only thing we have any power at all to change: ourselves.
Let the Selfies begin.