Vanity

She wakes up, already in a hurried pace. “Did my heart rate slow at all last night?” she wonders. Even her dreams are a blur. The coffee is set, already brewing. She begins her routine: wrinkle cream, tweezing, makeup just right, and a fifteen-minute-to-do hair style that says “natural.” There’s no one to kiss goodbye to– yet– but she’s building her dreams and Mr. Right will soon follow.

Ecclesiastes 4:7-8 “Again, I saw vanity under the sun: one person who has no other… yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, ‘For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?’ This also is vanity and an unhappy business.”

The coffee doesn’t taste right in her stainless steel mug, but its morning fuel nonetheless. She throws her briefcase into her Mercedes and pops in a motivational disc.

“You have the power to accomplish your dreams. All of that power is in you. You already posses what it takes to make them a reality, you just need to believe it.”

“I believe it,” she says to herself. Yet, why does the accomplishing of one goal always lead to the unquenchable desire to achieve more? And why, after striving so hard to hit the target is the feeling of satisfaction so brief and fleeting? She wished there was a way to bottle up the feeling of success and pop the lid off whenever she needed a boost.

Ecclesiastes 5:10 “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income.”

“I have every reason to be happy,” she says to herself. “I am beautiful, rich, healthy, and well liked.” She doesn’t see this as pride, but rather a mantra to repeat to herself. All good things can come to pass if you think and confess positively.

She stops at a city light. A group of kids are waiting for a walk signal. She sees one purple Mohawk, two cigarettes, three metal band t-shirts, and too many piercings to count. She watches them talk, and can tell that for them life is one big joke. They don’t respect each other; they don’t respect themselves. One kid with headphones on rocks his head to an invisible band, mouthing the same curse word over and over. They don’t even care that people are watching.

One catches her eye and smiles. She looks away. The light turns green and she turns left towards her office thinking “If those kids don’t smarten up they’re going to waste their lives. I’m sure they are certainly wasting their high school years.”

Ecclesiastes 9:2,6 “The same event happens to the righteous and the wicked… and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun.”

Not like her. She made the best of her schooling and continued right up through six long hard years of University. She was the top of her class. Smarts alone won’t get you through life; she had learned how to treat people kindly, fairly. She exuded a positive attitude and rarely entered a room without a smile. She had fought her way to the top of this corporation and still held a good reputation. Though the days were long, and if she was honest the nights were lonely, she took comfort in these thoughts.

She walked through the heavy glass doors, acknowledging her colleagues. “I’m doing far better than most women my age” she thought.  “And I know I can go even further.”

Ecclesiastes 4:4 “Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbour. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.”

The phone at her desk begins ringing incessantly as soon as eight o’clock hits. Her heart sinks. She smiles, and picks up the phone. Here we go again.

Ecclesiastes 2:11 “Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”

“Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
–CT Studd

Philippians 3:7-9 “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and counted them rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

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