Freedom from the Selfie — How to Shift Our Eyes (and Cameras) to Jesus

Recently, I have noticed it in our travels. It is hard to miss really. Anywhere you go, no matter the place. Whether it be a location encompassed in beauty or a destination filled with wonder, you will find it—the masses of people capturing a selfie.

Photo after photo. Pose after pose.

This selfie epidemic spreads across age, gender, and culture. It does not discriminate. A person finds the perfect place, checks for the perfect lighting, adjusts the perfect outfit envisioned for this particular photo, and then snaps away.

The only problem is the focus of the camera lens. Gone are the days when cameras captured the wonder of creation, and here are the days where cameras are directed at capturing self.

I believe this is an issue worthy of discussion.

I have sat on a serene beach, gazed at the mound of a sand dune in a national park, camped in the dense forest, and in each natural wonder, I am left wondering. Why are we missing it? Why are we so focused on ourselves that even in times where we should be consumed by nothing but awestruck wonder, we miss the wonder altogether and instead replace it with the cheap thrill of another self-glorifying photo?


We are trading the very joy of creation, the wonder of the Almighty, the mysteries of this formed world, to focus on self. Why? Why not sit and watch the waves? Why not focus on the sand between our toes? Why not pause to wonder at all the wonder around us?

Don’t misunderstand what I am sharing. I am not saying that we should forgo all photos of family, children, or even that selfie you capture so you can recall the joy and wonder you felt in that special place or moment. I love those photos and cherish them. I have several. But, if I ever begin to focus my lens for the sole intention of self— self-praise, self acclamation, self-promotion— then woe to me.


If I get so lost in self that places of beauty and wonder become nothing more than a spot to capture more of me, then I have lost. I have lost the beauty in this great world that goes far beyond my created body and stretches into the valleys, oceans, and mountains of this incredible planet.

Lately, I am thinking long and hard about where my lens is focused when taking a photo, because I believe it is revealing of the condition of my heart. I desire to be filled with more wonder and less self.

Let’s break the cycle of this selfie generation and start thinking about our photos and the why behind the image. Let’s give ourselves a pass to go make-up free. Wear an outfit that is less than perfect. Allow the wrinkles to settle on our faces without needing filters or fillers. We, thankfully, do not have to live like a celebrity! It is not our livelihood to look fabulous and pose for the world. We can live life in a much smaller and yet grander sense. We can run on the beach with sandy hair and stretched out bathing suits. We can wear faded yoga pants and sweat on the hiking trails. There is great freedom in that, so why aren’t we embracing said freedom and letting the celebrities bear the weight of image while we enjoy the freedom to live life apart from the camera lens?


We have the privilege of spending less time on self-obsession and more time enjoying God’s great wonders, loving our families, and worshiping the Creator instead of the created.

Check that camera lens and be blessed in the process. Nothing is more life-giving than taking the focus off of oneself and placing it back onto the Lord.

Turn those eyes (and cameras) to Jesus!



This post originally appeared at, published with permission.

Joy Petersen
Joy Petersen
Joy is a mom to three wild and wonderful children. She lives in the Denver area and enjoys chocolate, jogging, and teaching her kids about Jesus.

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