What about the feelings it gives us though when we do these things? Is it not the reason we do these things to ourselves to fit in and be happier people? We go to great lengths to achieve perfection. Some people are self conscious about the kind of car they drive so they buy a flashy one even if it might not be adequate with their budget. Others change their physical appearance by getting things augmented or diminished. Did you know they have implants for muscles now? I thought those where only achieved through discipline and hard work...I guess that's not apart of our fads. We change our hair color and style as often as possible. Everything is for looks even where we live and how many square feet you own. Never mind how often you clean it because you have cleaners that you hire to do that. My point is we continue to strive for this perfection that's only skin deep. That is why we can't stop at just a nose job or just a flashy car....its unsatisfying. Our culture cannot fathom any deeper than that. In fact even those who feel they are getting to the heart of things are only trying to lay down a comfy coffin when they die. They try to give themselves a quick one time deal injection of crap and calling it "I'm spiritual". They cling to the words of Deepak Chopra or other "spiritual advisors". Some go to church but its too much work to be hot and too damaging to the image to be cold so they stay lukewarm. The strive for perfection goes so far and yet it's so blind to know that the only lasting happiness and joy come from God. Seeking His perfect face is the only joy in this place but they go on blindly in their lives. Digging your feet in the sand on the shores of your death doesn't stop the tide from coming to whisk you away. Finding your joy in that minimal exfoliation isn't worth it. In the end you may have smooth feet but you'll always have a dirty soul.
It's so humbling when I look back when I was growing up how God even then shielded me from a much worse life that I could have had. I never had the desire to do any crazy things. I was all in all a morally good kid, I'd say. I was a brat none the less though. I lied and talked back to my parents all the time. In fact it really wasn't till I was saved when I was closer to 22 that I changed through God's earnest hands. It's funny though before I was saved my whole vision or understanding of God was completely warped. I imagine a lot of people have a false look on God. I mean, how easy you could with so many showing Him in the wrong light. A lot of people like your everyday t.v. evangelist doesn't show God as much but just a caterer to your every need and desire. I must admit that growing up my thought of God was like a sick puppy that followed you around everywhere saying "I'm knocking on the door of your heart aren't you going to let me in?". In my thought process, God was always there and you could let Him in at any time but it wasn't mandatory and even if you let Him in you could always put him out again with the cat so to speak. He was easily accessible for my image for anytime I wanted to turn to Him when the question of my religion was brought up.
I got baptized when I was 12. I was at a church camp here in Ohio. I enjoyed camp but it wasn't what I thought it'd be. I imagined church camp to be a place where people where nice to you and there wasn't a lot of grouping or popularity contests but just like anywhere else there were some. As I got older that was one thing that I became increasingly uncomfortable with. I thought when you went to church it was suppose to be a sanctuary from the outside world. Not until later on did I realize there were churches like that that did exist. So I got baptized. It was me and 2 other girls that got baptized. There may have been more that summer but I know that particular night it was just us 3. We made our proclamation of faith and each went into the water. My father baptized me which was special to me. Back track to that morning of my baptism though. I was in class listening to one of my favorite teachers. I couldn't tell you what else he spoke on that summer but I remember fully what he taught that day. He put the fear of hell into me. He told us that baptism was key for our own salvation. "If you don't get baptized today and your parents drive you home and you get into an accident and die you'll go to hell." Talk about making a kid sweat! I think I almost peed myself hearing that. So naturally I didn't want to go to hell so I ,through tears ,called my dad to come baptize me right away.
Did I do it out of love for God? With desire to bring Him glory through my whole life? Nope I did it because I was afraid of going to hell. There was no deeper issue that had suddenly become clear in my heart. It was survival. If I want to survive the flames of hell all I have to do is be dunked in some water, what's the choice in that? Anyone would do that if it were the simple choice in the matter. They'd check it off on their to do list. Okay, now I'm going to get baptized so I can get the whole go to hell thing taken care of. I strongly defended my thoughts on baptism and why I chose to do it as it was my choice out of hell, years later.. I got in a couple heated debates about this survival decision. If you think about it where does Jesus come into play in this choice? What, we create our own salvation by merely choosing God through baptism? No, I don't believe that now. I believe baptism is essential and there is a purpose for it but it's not the definitive right of passage that I grew up believing. It's important but not as I saw it as being the only importance. I know there are many others out there that might believe the way I use to but I pray that God moves their hearts to see the emptiness that thought process leaves you.
I too desired perfection in my life growing up as I mentioned above. I use to wear the tightest jeans imaginable. They were terribly uncomfortable but my mind would always drift back to the old saying, "pain is beauty". I use to work in a hoity toity salon. We had a eminent scale client base. I was directed to produce a certain image to the clients. We were ordered to wear some bracelets but not too many, to wear a few rings, always have your nails polished, hair impeccably done and your make up spot on. Image was everything in a prestigious salon. That was the worst place for me to work at, well really the wrong field entirely. I was very self conscious which most women are but I really took off with the hair and etc. I can laugh now and say that my hair was every color besides green. I was always striving to be as tiny waisted as the models on tv though I failed miserably at it. I felt pressure from every angle but even when I complied and attempted to better myself it never made me happy. Like so much of the world I was blinded to see that the only happiness I would ever feel was residing in God's hands.
"If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied."