Selfie: A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”
A friend of ours, Renee Stearns, included a great insight in their Christmas letter this year. She wrote this about selfies: “Taken from a vantage point only as long as arms-length, it’s sometimes too close to make sense of what’s going on in the picture. The perspective is somehow off.”
So much of what is on social media is small and distorted – what we want others to see and believe, or the worst that someone else has discovered and exposed.
When it’s a profile picture, or a fb post, or one mistake, or a Tweet, it’s just 144 characters, or the shot of one moment. Behind each is another story, a larger picture of lives being transformed by God’s grace.
Journalling is one practice that can help us correct the distortion of selfless. I journal in the form of a daily dialogue with God – reviewing the previous day (which often involves confession and praise) and praying through the coming day’s activities.
The last week of each year, John and I take time to read back through our journals for the year and look for themes, lessons, failures and signs of growth.
I know, I know. Some of you are yelling at the computer screen “Leave me alone!! Stop guilting me! I’m not a %$#@* journaller!”
If the idea of keeping a traditional journal makes you want to run screaming into the night, may I suggest 3 alternatives?
1. Gratitude journal. Just keep a running list of the gifts of each day. It’s short. It’s painless and physically writing them down a practice that has made a huge difference in my attitude. I keep this in addition to my regular journal. The way to give thanks in all things is to notice each small thing.
2. One Line a Day journal. Summarize or record one highlight a day for five years and look back at the entries from year’s before. All you have to do is write a sentence a day. Maggie and her husband Austin also found one that has a question each day and one line for each of them to respond on.
3. Once a year journal. In it write the highlights of the previous year, and your hopes and dreams for the new year. I know one couple that does this together on their wedding anniversary each year. Together they read the previous year’s entry and each person writes their reflections for the current year.
“Our years come to an end like a sigh . . . ” says Psalm 90, “so teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom”.
Just a handful of the barest facts can be enough to rescue an entire day from oblivion—not just what happened in it, but who we were when it happened. Who the others were. What it felt like back then to be us. Fredrick Boechner
What alternatives can you think of that help you with perspective? What helps you be more self/God/and others aware?