excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements
the quality of being worthless or futile
The second definition would have surprised me, except I had been studying the Bible this past week in the book of Ecclesiastes. King Solomon, the wise king, teaches on vanity. I realized I had much to learn. Me, who judged myself as not a vain person had so much to learn.
Who knew in all those feelings of worthlessness there is vanity. Could it be that when one sees themselves as sooo worthless, the vanity lay in the depth of the value (or lack there of) that they place on how worthless they are? Vanity in this aspect is a continuum. One end is excessive worthlessness/a lack of pride the other is excessive worth/pride in oneself?
How Could I Be So Vain?
Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 KJV “And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.”
Ecclesiastes 2:15-19 KJV “Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity. For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool. Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.”
As it would seem, vanity wears many faces. I am guilty of suffering from such a disease as this. I take pride in my accomplishments – being a single-mother, raising my children, providing for them. I must say, it is not my doing, but Christ that has blessed us. However, I have found that there have been times, where I, even I, have suffered from such a disease as vanity.
Yay! I completed my Bachelor’s degree. Not enough – I must go forth and pursue a Master’s Degree! Why? I have my reasons. I want to show my children all they can accomplish… I have to prove it to myself – prove it to everyone who said I would never amount to anything… I suppose this is vanity? Does it feel good to have a paper due every other week and to be busy, busy, busy? Sometimes? Am I fulfilled, stacking up the degrees?
Congratulations! You purchased a home! I thought I had made a huge mistake. Then, it grew on me. I told myself that I did it for the kiddos. I wanted to offer them stability, show them what they could achieve if they set their mind to it… Then, I became a bit over zealous regarding the home and the cleanliness. It was like Basic Training multiplied. I gave the lecture, “We all have to do our part to keep this house spotless. One day this will be yours, and I want it to be in excellent condition.” Spotless? With kids? Yeah right! I gave it a good go. It’s always ready to receive visitors. What more can I ask for? But isn’t this vanity? Surely, I was driving my poor children up a wall!
At the end of the day, everything in this world will pass or fade away. My degree and the degree to which I am working towards, one day will be just a piece of paper on the wall. (My Bachelor’s isn’t even on the wall!) One day, I may sell this house, for a smaller home, once the kiddos are grown and gone, who knows? Even this flesh I am in, as I am beginning to experience, is going to grow older. This body is beginning to have aches and pains – joints become stiff if they are in a position for too long… We think we have our youth forever… I suppose as Solomon said, that was/is vanity as well…
I still don’t fully understand everything pertaining to vanity, but one thing is for sure, my eyes have been opened. I am seeing myself differently. Trying not to get too caught up in vanity, vanity, vanity! It can’t be good for the soul!