Often I feel this ball and chain strapped to my ankle as I cling to vanity. Like, needing to leave the house with make-up on...to get the mail. Cataloging in my head a savvy rotation of outfits so people think I have more outfits than I actually do. Or flipping out when I run out of contact solution and needing to wear glasses to buy the contact solution while seriously entertaining the thought that saliva will be an effective substitute.
The funny thing is, clinging to vanity reveals insecurity. Yet the reality is that I am incredibly arrogant to think all eyes are on me at all times and everyone will notice me and my kickin' shoes that day. Or all of my apparent flaws.
Ah, the joy of being the personification of an oxyMORON.
So I am rather ashamed to say that I was totally not going to go to this conference at my church this weekend because I did not have anything cute to wear. Shallow, right? But can you relate?
So I was late buying a ticket. Never scheduled childcare for the kiddos since I was volunteering and needed to be early. Worried about the cost of a ticket at a whopping $34 during the holidays. Disregarded the fact that it was my church hosting Fresh Grounded Faith with Jennifer Rothschild, a well known author, bible study author, and speaker. Our church aligned with 10 other churches in the area for this event. But at the last minute I decided to go because the Hound of heaven would not let me stay home. Even BFF said I should go. Hubster said go. So I decided to go.
And the night before I deem it QUITE necessary to go shopping. As much as Neiman Marcus could be my permanent residence since their bathrooms are nicer than my own, I must settle for discount shopping. TJ Maxx kind of shopping. Not that TJM is a disappointment. No, no. And with holiday hours, I can get my shopping on even longer.
As I got in my consumer glow, I found myself in the dressing room when I got a text from a friend who I had beckoned to come over to the dark side with me to gleefully shop for the weekend festivities. She texted me back letting me know she was exhausted and on her way home from church but hit TJ's sister store, Marshalls, already. (she and I will go down together like Thelma & Louise). Anyway, I was in there until they announced they were closing. I am convinced they were noting my license plate number and taking secret photos with security cameras because I visited the dressing room like 5 times and went over my limited quantity each time. The lady who worked the dressing room would sigh loudly upon my approach. Obviously, my perky greeting each time did nothing to pacify her or persuade her I am merely just addicted to retail therapy.
So I find some cute stuff and go home. It's the next day when I realize that sweet, kindred spirit friend of mine was coming home from church because there was a meeting for ALL VOLUNTEERS FOR THE CONFERENCE. I WAS MIA! And what was I doing? Shopping!! Oh my word, I felt so bad. I had to call all the appropriate people because I sooooooo dropped the ball. Had to make sure kids could be in childcare, get a ticket at the last second, blah, blah, blah. And here is the kicker. I am not one of those people who can make excuses all that well. I just have to own it. Whenever I got a speeding ticket, I would try to muster up some tears for the nice officer but I just ended up looking constipated. I'd hand over my license with a sheepish look and say, "Yeeeeaaaah. I was speeding. I am so sorry."
So I had to face the fact that I was seriously lacking in diligence. All for an idol of vanity. And really, did anyone care? Nope. And God's sense of humor with a dash of divine justice was thrown in because it was pouring rain that night like I had never seen! I had to carry the girls, me, an umbrella the size of a small nation, my bag, and a diaper bag into the building. With each step I knew my hair was getting wet, the jeans were in puddles, and all my effort was for naught!
But amen and amen. I am so happy when I get put in my place. God is so mindful of those dark places no one knows about in the recesses of my mind. He knows the superficial things I get caught up in. Is it wrong to like to shop? NOOOOO! But I can become wrapped up in what I wear on my person rather than the person God is teaching me to be. Especially within the context of a women's conference where a contrite heart and a teachable spirit is needed for God to do His work in me. Whether I think I need it or not.
So I am thankful I learned this little lesson. (And secretly, I felt like I looked kinda cute learning it.)