We all want to commemorate the marks of personal achievement, like a goal we met or award we received. And we want to quickly pull out our phones and snap a selfie to show where we’ve come. We may be able to garner recognition and praise, but at what cost? Who will you leave behind in the race for fame?
As the old African proverb goes, If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Every day, we have the chance to go a bit farther than the day before, if only we shift the lens of focus and invite ourselves into the lives of others and allow them into ours.
It can be a challenge, but how do we shift our mentality from “me” to “we”? It’s an easy exchange of just one letter, but it makes all the difference.
We all know the steps to take the perfect selfie, but what if we saw those steps as something more? Maybe to “flip the lens” and look for ways we can be more focused on others.
1. Find the right frame
It’s all how we look at it. The right frame is going to make our smiles brighter, faces thinner and capture what we want viewers to see. Everything in order, the stunning natural background and the glow of our face makes for an appealing photo.
Instead of shrinking our frame to fit just what we want to see, what if we expanded it instead? What else could we see if we looked outward at the world around us? Who else could we invite into the frame and give focus to? A teammate who often looks lonely? An elderly neighbor who hasn’t had a good visit from anyone in a while?
2. Find the perfect light
Lighting makes all the difference. It can be soft to sweetly frame, or intense to spotlight, but a little lighting can make a photo look enviable and attractive. We can position ourselves to where the light best shines and make the most of the shot.
What if we turned to someone else and let their light shine? What if we found a friend that doesn’t regularly get recognized but do an incredible job serving others behind the scenes? It could be a chance to highlight a kind heart and let people know about the good that’s going on.
3. It's all about the angle
Angles tell the story; where you place your body, where you turn to take in that above-mentioned light, and how we want the photo to feel. It can be set up to feel as natural or as staged as we want it, but the truth is, a lot of work goes into getting the lens to find just the right angle.
Angles can imply we’re not sharing the entire scene or telling the entire story. What are we trying to perfect? Don’t try to have an agenda, but if you need one, let it be someone else’s story. Find out about the guy who gave up his seat on the bus and share your thoughts. Share your heart, be real and look for an angle that recognizes what’s important.
Keep your mouth relaxed and let loose like you’ve never enjoyed a moment more. It’s a carefree life and we’re proud of where we are; why not look like it? Everyone likes to see happiness and joy, and if we can reflect that feeling in front of the camera, there’s inspiration.
Share the reasons you’re smiling: are you thankful you woke up and God gave you breath? Are you glad for a roof over your head and food on your plate? What about your great friends and family? Instead of focusing on the external, mention what’s making your heart so happy it shows up in your smile.
5. Choose the best photo
Obviously, we can’t capture the best shot on the first try, which is why it’s important to snap multiple shots. We can rule out the one where our eyes look closed or we seem a little too close to the camera and find the one that got everything exactly right.
Why not do something unexpected and post the pic that isn’t perfect? The one that shows a few flaws, and follow it up with a caption that admits you don’t have it all figured out. A little humility and vulnerability go a long way. If someone else can feel freedom knowing they aren’t alone, it’s a bridge to truly connect in an authentic, life-giving way.
It’s an upside-down way of thinking when we flip the frame from self to someone else, but it’s the best thing we can do. This doesn’t come naturally, so we may need some guidance.
Let’s look to the example Jesus set for servanthood and what He thought of the matter. In John 13:1-17, we read the story of Jesus seeing twelve others around Him and enacting a humbling service to each disciple--and one of them would even betray Him! But He bent low and washed feet, a job that was reserved for the lowest of servants. He did this to set an example of how He expected His disciples to act: living a life of sacrifice to serve friends, enemies and everyone in between.
Here are three ways we can live for “we” and serve those around us:
In a world that clamors to be heard, be the gentle voice that comes after really hearing. If your teammate had a rough practice and wants to talk about it, don’t turn the conversation to how you didn’t like the drills either and how you would have done things differently. Give someone the gift of your time and pay attention to their heart.
We’ll never stop knowing, and it’s exciting to think of how we can grow, in our sports and in our lives. Look around. Who has something to teach you? Is there a teammate who knows a new way to run the route you’ve been trying to get down? How about stopping by your coach’s office and asking to pick her brain on the nuances of her strategy? Better yet, look for someone you respect and ask them to be a mentor to you.
Our every action should stem from love. From the love of Christ who gave Himself for us, from the love of the Father who gave us Christ and will give us all things. We love because He first loved us, and if we have this verb nestled in our heart, it’s hard to leave from for much selfishness. When we offer unconditional love, we act and serve out of a genuine desire to walk together through not only the sports season, but throughout life.
In a selfie-centered world, let’s start a servant-centered movement, fixing our eyes on Jesus to stay in step with His humble leading.
Learn more about living for others through FCA’s new YouVersion Bible reading plan: Surrender: Giving God 100%.
Consider: Where are you tempted to let the “selfie” mindset rule your life? How can you replace “selfie” with “servant” living?
Action: Pick a friend or teammate and choose to serve them through listening, learning or love today.