The glossy copies lay there on a back table, free for the taking, a donation from the hairdresser’s next door to where I work. Stacks of trendy beauty and clothing magazines; I’ve been a sucker for magazines ever since my early teens. A way of escape, a window to a life and exposure to a culture I’ll most likely never be a part of. ‘Seventeen’, ‘Glamour’, and lastly, ‘Vogue’ where I spent hours studying and trying to emulate the models and their clothing. ‘Seventeen’ magazine featured clear-skinned girls with perfect teeth and hair, enjoying parties in the family ‘rumpus room’ with cute guys. Their world seemed to me as if it were life on another planet… our family ‘rumpus room’ (basement) housed the dog, rat families (the mice lived upstairs), flooded every time it rained, smelled musty, and even had a resident salamander. So much for me ever having what ‘they’ had. And here, a good 40+ years later, I’m still susceptible to envy and yearning, quickly taken in by and finding myself being filled with dissatisfaction with my clothing, looks (especially the looks), where I vacation (not St.Bart’s), my jewelry (read: mostly from TARGET or other discount stores), and most of all, my income (well, not really). Thank God I’m a Christian!
So what does that have to do with it all? I’ll explain. As I paged through ‘Allure’ and ‘Elle’ and discovered the latest on Kate Moss, Karl Lagerfeld, and Keira Knightley (I had no idea who she is, but evidently she thinks nothing of exposing her breasts in film), I found that the cure-all to any envy or jealously of what the Fast Lane Folks possess is God’s word. Yup, it’s that simple. So ancient, yet so modern. Applicable to today, fresh as when first conceived. Hey, it’s what’s ‘in’, it’s what’s happening… “Do not love the world nor the things of this world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:15-17.
I had to make a run for it. I had to sober up. I had to grab onto those verses and make a break for the real world. I threw my coat on, stepped outside and headed for my car. I passed by the neighbor’s house noticing the cigarette butts he tosses on the ground. I spied the dirty smashed drink cup in the street, and as I unlocked my car, I gazed upon bird poop splattered on the roof and windshield. Ahhh… this was it, this was good, this was my reality. I like it when God opens my eyes to His truth, and exposes vanity for what it is. I was back to normal, the normal of my life.
Of course I don’t know for sure, but from looking at the photos of The Beautiful People, they seem to be striving after the wind. With all their wealth and fame, they still seem empty to me. In the quiet of the night, do they ever stand and stare at their things and wonder, “what’s it all for?”. In the wee hours of the morning and all is calm, do they ask themselves if their life has counted for anything? Is there anything that we could hold in our hands that is actually worth pursuing? “…for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18.
I flipped through the pages of ‘Allure’ and ‘Elle’ and tore out the perfume scented paper adverts. Made a neat pile of them and placed them next to my tray of perfume on my bedroom dresser; they will be my little treats to wear when I leave the house. The magazines were tossed. I know from past experience, that even though life may look boring and it might seem as if nothing is changing, God really is doing a work in me and through me. I’m right where He wants me to be, with what He wants me to have. I know I’m most content when I’m happy with what I have. I’m thankful I have the eyes of God to discern what is of this world and what is of God’s world.
Clinging to the things of this world: bondage. Clinging to things of God’s world: freedom. Lord, help me to make the eternal choice.
Photo above: by Moi. Advertising was successful!