As I was running this morning I had to question my intentions. Why am I doing this? Am I doing this to lose weight so I am healthier? Am I doing this so I can be in good enough shape to run a half-marathon in December? Am I doing this because I am living out a life to which God is calling me? Or am I doing this so that I can simply be more attractive, or because of vanity?
I would be a liar if I began to say that vanity had nothing to do with it.
Certainly, there are good reasons why I am running; it does aid me in a healthier lifestyle, and my body is a gift from God, and I am called to be a good steward. The half marathon is more or less a neutral rationale, because there is also an aspect of vanity there.
While vanity was not the reason I started running, or planned to run a half marathon, the fact that vanity has crept into my desires to run bothers me greatly. This vain trap is intrusive, as it works its way into the things that are good and tarnishes them, making them less than what they once were.
I love the complements I have received about losing weight. However, my love for those comments tarnishes the fact that it is a good thing I lost weight.
This isn’t the only thing that vanity has intruded upon. When I preach, when I play with my son, when I blog, when I sit and read, and the list goes on and on and on. It works its way into so many things, and it feels as if everything I care about is vulnerable to the ugly tentacles of vanity.
It may be impossible to eradicate the danger of vain thoughts, what I can do is recognize them, and prevent them from influencing my actions. I do also need to continuously review the reasons I do things, and if they have anything to do with me and my pride, I should reconsider. I need to give these up to God, and not hold onto them. This is a difficult task and certainly not one that I have mastered, but have to flexible and ready to keep working on it.
I pray that pride and vanity do not take over, but it is something that I know I have to understand better, and make sure that my focus is upon the God that loves me, and calls me into the kingdom, and that I do this for God and not myself.