It’s a selfie-oriented world. People want to look their best, and can digitally alter their faces and bodies using airbrushes, apps and filters. The glamorized version of themselves on the internet bears only a slight resemblance to their real-world appearance.
This disconnect now has a clinical name: Snapchat dysmorphia.
Why be worried that you’ll have to present the world with your regular face, which can’t get as many likes as all those beautiful people, or your friend’s posts of her trip to Costa Rica, or your brother’s “how to survive as a bachelor” videos?
Photo filtering apps or the editing features on Snapchat make you as beautiful and attractive as the competition! Until the next time you look in the mirror. Disappointed. Embarrassed.
Well, then bring your altered—and more beautiful—selfie self to a plastic surgeon and ask, “Can you make me look more like this?” According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the number of patients seeking this selfie-altering surgery increased by 13 percent between 2016 and 2017.
And then, there’s Katie Couric’s brave posts revealing her makeup-free self, from early mornings or even when sick in bed. It’s the real Katie.
This is no judgment on plastic surgery and the difference it can make. Rather, the hopes behind any altering of our real selves deserve thoughtful pause. Whether we’re bending the truth a bit in a conversation to make ourselves look good, or glamorizing ourselves online.
Why? Where is the pressure to do this coming from? What makes it so important for my lawn to look as good as (um, better than) my neighbors’? For my car to shine and my LinkedIn profile to impress?
We want to be assured that we have value, but we do it be seeking value a) from others with their own filtered opinions, and b) by presenting a version of ourselves that isn’t real.
So, even if I’m elated at a post getting hit with tons of likes, are those people really liking the real me? If not, then what good is that?
Jesus likes the real you. Jesus prefers the real you, much, much more than the FakeBook you. Jesus has given deep meaning, special purpose and exponential value to the real you.
Filter or edit the real you, and you filter or edit these divine gifts that make a true difference.
Get to know Jesus. Wrestle in prayer daily to gain clarity about your true identity and value. Press your soul to believe truth from the Bible about you. Be courageous by being more real more often—with yourself, with God and with others.
For more, spend some time in the “Further Meditation” section below.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, you really know the real me, even better than I do. Better than I want to, because I can be afraid of myself. But not if I’m in love with you. Lead me, Lord Jesus, to believe your truth and your love. To live as you have made me to be. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Spend some time in this story of a person being valued by Jesus. Give yourself 15-20 minutes here; it’ll be worth it. Now, read Luke 14:1-11. Meditate on these questions:
- Read verses 1-6. The Pharisees prided themselves as being exceptionally obedient to religious rules, even more obedient than Jesus. Proud selfies. The Bible contrasts their attitude with a man suffering from “dropsy,” a condition causing extreme swelling of the body. Not very attractive. How is Jesus helping both the superior Pharisees and the suffering man?
- Read verses 7-10. Jesus turns his attention to the guests, eager for prominent seating at the table. We often think we’ve achieved value by comparing ourselves to others. What is Jesus’ warning here? How does it convict you?
- Read verse 11. The best comparison you can make is comparing yourself to yourself, specifically your past/present self to your future self. From now on, how does Jesus give you permission and promise to be more humble? How did Jesus achieve exactly what he’s asking of you?