Something I’ve noticed on facebook is that an awful lot of people have a great many pictures of themselves, especially the younger folks. People are getting quite good at pointing the camera on themselves and getting a decent photo. Of course some cameras make it easy for self-centered picture-taking with their swing out and swing around viewing screens so that you can see what the camera sees when you’ve positioned the camera to aim at yourself. Gone are the days where the photographer is in few, if any, of his or her own photos.
But, alas, I must turn this focus on others focusing on themselves by focusing on myself and how I focus on myself! It seems to be a tendency of fallen human nature, whether we have a camera and facebook account or not, to focus on ourselves.
A recent article by Tullian Tchividjian in Leadership Journal titled “Blessed Self-Forgetfulness” got me to thinking about our sinful tendency toward self-centeredness. (p. 96, Summer 2012) People may debate whether they believe in the triune nature of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but there can be little doubt we all believe in and center our lives around the human trinity of me, myself, and I.
Even our desire to improve ourselves and become a better person can backfire on us, adding to our tendency to be self-centered. Tchividjian writes, “Ironically, I’ve discovered that the more I focus on my need to get better, the worse I actually get. I become self-absorbed.”
The problem of feeling inadequate around others, timid, or bashful is not the result of thinking too little of ourselves but of thinking too much about ourselves. I’ve often told folks venturing into the scary territory of giving a speech to focus on the people they’re speaking to and how they need to hear what’s being communicated instead of focusing on how they as the speaker are doing or what the people are thinking of them. Also, our tendency to have our feelings hurt or to be overly sensitive at receiving criticism is a direct result of being self-focused.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ has the perfect antidote for self-centeredness and for moving us into “blessed self-forgetfulness” as Tichividjian puts it. The writer of Hebrews in the Bible states, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.” (Hebrews 12:2) When Christ is the center of my little universe and I orbit my life around Him I’m going to do a lot better at keeping myself in proper perspective!