3 In Thanksgiving/ Uncategorized

In Praise of the Selfie

There’s been a rumbling on social media in the past months. A group of people rising against selfies and instagram and iphone cameras. #nomoreselfies is a thing. Barbie has an instagram in mockery of the stereotypical pictures. There is a plea to put away the cameras and “enjoy the moment.” And at the very least if you must instagram, do not edit it. #nofilter please.

The reason behind this backlash against the trendy social media outlets and amateur photography seems to be a quest to be fully present. “Put your cameras away and be here,” popular blogger Matt Walsh ranted in an article several months ago. “JUST BE HERE. BE HERE NOW. THERE’S ONLY ONE NOW, DON’T YOU PEOPLE UNDERSTAND?” Perhaps also it is a craving for authenticity, to stop posting things that are contrived simply for the attention. Because no one actually would drink coffee on a mountain. That is just “a bit ridiculous,” the creator of socality barbie scoffs. And if you have dared to post a picture of your open Bible and a cup of coffee you should be ridiculed for the desire for “likes” – and Christian Girl Instagram does a great job at that ridiculing.

I don’t even have to mention what the naysayers opinion on selfies is.

But what if I am actually more fully present when taking pictures?

What if my instagram is actually authentic?

What if I take a picture of my open Bible and my cup of coffee because it is something that makes me happy and I want to remember it?

What if photography begets gratitude?IMG_4076IMG_3387IMG_4635IMG_4838

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With the release of Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts several years ago I was given a profound insight into the significance of gratitude. With pen in hand Voskamp describes the life of hunting for beauty, of slowing, of savoring, of giving thanks for the thousand gifts that are continually being poured out. She captures these moments in her gratitude journal. And in that habit of present hunting she has stumbled upon the abundant life.

“Thanksgiving is necessary to live the well, whole, fullest life. I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment. And when I’m always looking for the next glimpse of glory, I slow and enter. Giving thanks is ultimately an invitation to slow time down with the weight of full attention.”

I, too, keep a gratitude journal. It is on my iPhone in the photo library. Because every time I stop to take a picture I am choosing to stop long enough to notice my life. With every picture captured I take for myself another reason to be thankful. If I see something that I want photographed it is because I am recognizing beauty. Photography begets gratitude. Or perhaps it is gratitude begetting photography. But either way, I know there is a direct correlation between how many pictures I’m stopping to take and the thanksgiving within my heart.

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Today I was on a walk near my house and passed two bucks moseying their way through the neighborhood. A car had stopped and the driver had their camera pointed at them, eager to capture a picture of the deer. I may have tried this the first time or two I saw deer in the area, but it is such a regular occurrence in this small mountain town that it is only the tourists that take pictures. The locals barely even notice. As I walked away from the bucks and the tourists leaning out their car window I realized that I don’t ever want to stop being a tourist. I want to spend my entire life with a camera in hand, looking in wonder for the next photo op, bending over flowers, or leaning out of windows to catch a picture of a deer. I want to take time to be thankful.IMG_4468

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So stop following on me on instagram if you think its excessive, or contrived, or inauthentic. Don’t tell me to put my camera away and enjoy the present. I’m on a beauty hunt. I’m counting the gifts I’ve been given. I am remembering the lavish grace of God in my life.

{If it so happens you’re not a instagram hater, I’d love to share the gifts I find with you there. Every week I post my favorite picture from each day of the week here – it is a simple way to slow down and remember to live fully right where I am.}

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