Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Vanity, vanity


I have little natural vanity. Oh, I have other faults and plenty of them--far more than I am willing to admit here--but vanity is not chief among them. I don't care for mirror time, I never weigh myself, and I only exercise (when I exercise) presumably to be healthy and because, well, one is supposed to.

However, one night last summer I had what could best be described as a crisis of vanity. I will spare you the details; suffice it to say it involved a dressing room, fluorescent lighting, and a potential swimsuit purchase, which, by the way, never materialized for all the reasons you might imagine.

Horrified and surprised by my crisis of vanity, I began to obsess over all my flaws and to hate myself for them. Quickly, too quickly, I understood how easily I could become a slave to my vanity. Can you feel my pain? I don’t know a woman alive who doesn’t have body image issues. We none of us like the way we look, whether we’re obsessed over it or surprised by it.

Though that particular obsession abated once home thanks to the medicinal effects of dark chocolate (an indulgence which in retrospect may serve to fuel such crises), I still, often, find myself obsessing over other areas: my failures and my gnawing insecurity mainly, both of which tend to define how I view myself and my significance (or the perceived lack thereof).

I think we all have a tendency to obsess over something. We may not label it as such but we all have that one thing we think we need, that one motivation that drives us, that one place we seek meaning and identity. Whether it be your appearance or your weight, your house or your children, your job or your security, whatever it is you can be sure it will never satisfy completely, eventually ruling as a cruel and demanding taskmaster, trapping you in a cycle of disappointment and defeat. If I’m obsessed over my stuff, there is always new and better stuff to covet. If I’m obsessed over my weight, there is always that piece of pie (or dark chocolate) to feel guilty over.

There is only one obsession that never disappoints: the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. All that we long for, all that we require, all that we seek, we’ll find it in Him. He alone satisfies, He alone fills to overflowing, He alone is worthy of our passion. He is to be our one magnificent obsession. Anything else we seek apart from Him will not only disappoint, it will become an idol, an empty and powerless false god.

I am challenged by Hebrews 12:1-2. I want thd kind of single minded desire that will move me to throw off all lesser obsessions and the sins that entangle as I fix my eyes on Jesus, running, striving, seeking Him in reckless abandon, confident that He is the one thing, the only thing, I want. May He be my one pure and holy passion! He is all I need, and more!

5 comments:

  1. I needed to read that today. Thank you for sharing it.

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  2. Great thoughts.

    I just had a dressing room experience that was discouraging as well. And it wasn't even swimsuits. Oh, for the days when I tried to gain weight!!

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  3. Yup, I think most of us could relate to this. Thanks for pointing us back to Jesus!

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