I recently read that Alice Roosevelt had said of her dad, Theodore, “Father always had to be the center of attention. When he went to a wedding, he wanted to be the bride. When he went to a funeral, he was sorry he couldn’t be the corpse.”
Last week I wrote about our obsession with Selfies, only to later discover that the average person takes more than 450 selfies per year. I’m not one of those people. Why would I want to spend hours posing to perfect a snapshot no one would recognize? Too, do you know how hard it is to hold your phone at the exact angle above your head in order to disguise facial/neck imperfections while somehow managing to press the photo button?
Really, really hard.
There are few things as narcissistic as the Selfie. Defined as “love of self,” the term “narcissistic” comes from a Greek myth about a studly young hunter, Narcissus. On a walk one day, he saw his own image in a pool; not realizing it was a reflection, he fell in love with what he saw and stared at his likeness until he died. Now, we might read that and think it absurd, but research shows that more people die each year taking Selfies than from lightning strikes.
Apparently, some people are dying to be valued. (I know, not funny.)
The “It’s all about me” philosophy goes back to the Garden of Eden. (Then again, doesn’t everything?) The majority of us probably have encountered self-absorbed people. Conversations are focused on them and their needs/wants. They have no interest in asking questions about you because you have nothing to offer. They are louder, more boisterous, more demanding and certainly not humble. They depend on people noticing them and glorifying them.
Today, a friend shared a story that speaks to these kinds of people. An airline had to cancel a flight and asked all the passengers to go to the customer service counter to be rescheduled. Naturally, people weren’t too happy about this inconvenience, but one man was particularly irritated. Stepping ahead of all of the other customers, he announced that he “had” to get on the next flight. The agent told him to go to the end of the line and wait like every other passenger. His response? “Don’t you know who I am?”
Without missing a beat, the airline employee picked up her microphone, pressed a button and addressed everyone in her area. “There is a gentleman standing in the customer service line who doesn’t know who he is. Please take a close look at him. If you recognize him, please tell him who he is.” After shouting a stream of expletives, the man was told by the smiling agent, “And that, Sir, definitely sends you to the back of the line.”
Folks, you and I were made for glory…just not our glory. We were made to glorify God and him alone. Not His creation, no matter how spectacular it might be. Not in others who, as Scripture says, “all fall short of the glory of God.” And certainly not ourselves…no matter how awesome we think we are. Paul makes that clear in his letter to the Philippians (2:3-4): Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to their own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Selfies, take note.