today I was reminded why cheap imitations sometimes work.
It’s probably no secret given my propensity to wear my heart on my sleeve and my writing style over the past week, but I’ve been feeling pretty low.
Today was no exception. Feeling pretty unhappy with myself, and discouraged about my many failings, I trudged through the mall on my way to a specific store to look for a specific item. I had more time than I needed, and so some of my meandering was somewhat aimless, allowing my daughter to dictate our pace, exploring things.
Such aimlessness allowed a salesman from one of these make-up booths to pull me aside.
“Why not? what the heck, I’ve nowhere to be”
He jumped out in front of me and asked if he could ask me a question.
He asked if I had heard of this make-up product.
“yes.. in fact, I bought some from this very booth”
not to be dissuaded, he quickly gestured me over and said, “great, let me show you something”
He asked me to hold my hand out, and with a gentle and tender touch, applied various shades of the make-up to my hand while describing how it worked–>going through the whole sales pitch. He was not sparing with the flattery. He complimented my beauty repeatedly, and made full use of eye contact.
It was hard not to be drawn in… it feels good. Flattery feels good. Human contact feels good. It feels good to be touched… to be touched with gentleness.
But this man was not commenting on my beauty… he was not commenting on who I was/am. He was trying to buy me with his flattery-to buy my business, or, failing that, my sexual interest.
It was amazing how quickly his eye contact dissolved and he averted his eyes after he discovered that I was already taken (romantically). His warmth turned rapidly to ice when he discovered that I didn’t even possess enough money to take him up on his “specially for me” deal.
It’s been a long time since i’ve even let this kind of cheap imitation penetrate in anyway.
It amazed me in reflection at how, just when i was the most vulnerable to it, there was an opportunity to fall victim to a cheap imitation of love, intimacy… of feeling valued.
But… what is it that he valued anyways? certainly not me! At most he thought I was attractive. A completely surface notion, that does not speak of my internal value… and is not something for which i wish to be valued.
why would i fall for this when God has told me that my value is SO MUCH more than this!? After he has taken so much time and we have worked so hard together on telling me how much more valuable than all of that I am?
There are so many counterfeits that want to do the same thing… tell us that our value comes from something that it doesnt… things that legitimately feel good, feel validating, but dangerously convince us to assign to ourselves our value based on them. For instance, believing that we are valuable only for our athletic ability. This is destined to failure, because there will always be someone better… if not today, then tomorrow, and our bodies will inevitably wear down and fail us in this regard.
Some of us are convinced to believe we are valuable only for our intelligence, or our secure grasp on our currently held paradigm. (also destined for failure)
or maybe we are convinced to believe we are valuable only as we are valued by the opposite sex. There are scads of literature on the problems inherent with this belief.
It so breaks the heart of our beloved Savior when we fall for these cheap imitations of His love for us.
There was a moment when this salesman was holding my hand wherein I realized that he was deliberately holding my hand… not just as a part of his sales process… and I immediately felt as if I had been cheapened. I withdrew my hand. It felt so wrong. It might feel like an over-reaction to some of you… But I don’t belong to him. I don’t want to belong to him. I don’t want him to have that intimate contact as a cheap imitation of intimacy for the sake of buying my business… or worse!
I pray that I will increasingly have this same sense when I start to let the lies in this world take my hand and tell me that they can offer me what only my beloved, Jesus, can offer me!
He knows us inside and out. He knows what beauty is within us, what brings delight and joy, and so much more. He’s heard our cries, our fears, our joys… he knows what makes us tick. He’s been there through absolutely everything. How empty it is to turn to something temporal and cheap to give us our beauty and value!
May you, today, experience clarity to know what cheap imitations God wants to uproot in your life, and experience the immutable joy of Him replacing these things with His true words of your incomparable, intrinsic value!