On my way back from London last weekend I took an early morning tube to Paddington and sat alongside a family with two teenage daughters. During the next fifteen minutes one of them must have taken 20 or 30 selfies of herself and it really got me thinking about how introspective we have become as people.
Now I’d like to start by clarifying that this isn’t me judging that girl. I have taken many a selfie over the years!! But what comes after you’ve taken your selfie? Do you just upload it straight onto your favourite social media platform and think no more of it? I think we all know the real answer to that!
- First, we put a filter on it
- Then we adjust the brightness
- Then we fade it, allowing any uneven skin tones or blemishes to disappear
- Next we add warmth to add a rosy glow (or if you prefer a porcelain look then less warmth)
- Next adjust the saturation level, hoping to add just the right amount of pink to our lips
The list goes on and once we’ve started it’s hard to stop and so we finish off with a little “tilt shift”, “vignette” and a possible “sharpen” (but not too much, be careful of those wrinkles!).
Phew! It’s a lot to go through for one snapshot but religiously we (particularly us girls) go through this lengthy process time after time. The result? A preferred picture of ourselves; how we would like to be seen by others and how we’d like to be seen by ourselves. Maybe even the perfect version of ourselves (or so we think). Here’s my own digital medical procedure for today!
So here is my million dollar question! Am I enough? Just me. Amy Dyas. Bad lighting, no filter, no make up, no digital liposuction. Sometimes I find it hard to believe it. Even the picture you see of me today was taken a few times just to avoid the sleepy eye I had! But I think I know that deep down the answer is “yes” and if its “yes” for me then its “yes” for you too!
And the reason it’s “yes” is because the person who stares back at you each morning, bleary eyed and maybe a little puffy, is the person God planned you to be. The bible tells us He has counted every hair on our head. Psalm 39 says he “knitted us together” in our mother’s womb. Yet everyday we tell ourselves it’s not. Everyday we believe a lie that somehow we need to change ourselves to be socially acceptable. But by believing this lie and by investing in it we are putting ourselves above God because we are saying we know better than Him.
Aside from the issue of our lack of self confidence, the problem that I was really struck by as I sat on the Bakerloo Line was how our selfie obsession forces us to constantly look at ourselves rather than at others. Apart from the obvious self centred and self indulgent time wasting this creates, there is also another very big problem too. We now seek self validation and ultimately inner peace from a picture of ourselves, which by the end of our photoshopping, actually looks very little like our true selves i.e we base that validation on a lie.
For me the person that will bring us validation and inner peace is God. A Father so loving that He knows each and every hair upon our head. A God who sees every achievement and cheers us on with the angels in heaven. A God who sees every moment of hard work and takes the time to restore our souls. A God who witnesses every moment of pain and sheds great tears alongside us. This is who we should look to for validation and confirmation. We are told in the Old Testament that God’s name is “Yahweh” which means “I am who I am”. If God is so confident in who He is, then surely we should have the utmost confidence in who He says we are?
Below are two self portraits I have drawn of myself. Now I cant lie, I feel vulnerable sharing this first one with you, but if it helps make my point then here goes! The first picture I drew at a very dark time of my life and the pain that I felt when I drew it continued for a very long time and even now it can pull at my heart strings every day. The other picture I drew 18 months ago and I am happy to say thats how I picture myself now. I drew it after a 9 month period when God invested His healing power in me and I stood up and accepted what He had to offer me. The result has been tremendous and this picture is still my screensaver 18 months later. I reminds me of who I am in Him every single day, “I am who you say I am”.
By looking to the face of God you will find the inner peace you are looking for. But by looking to the face of God something else will happen as well. You will start to really see the other people around you, what their life looks like, what help they need, what support you can offer and what relationship you can have with them. When you find God you don’t just see His face, you see His heart, both for you and for the person standing next to you and what a warm and loving world we would live in if thats what we were seeing every day.
You are enough. He is enough.
Please listen to this song below, its just stunning and probably makes my point a lot better and a lot quicker!