In the age which puts great emphasis on personal appearance, many people spare no expense to pursue the physical beauty. They buy cosmetics in the same style of stars crazily and wear the latest fashions and hair in the fashion of stars. Although gratifying the cravings of their flesh, they still feel empty and miserable in their heart. How did the author change this view, break away from the pain and achieve happiness again?
I believe that quite a few women have the same feeling with me: When facing our wardrobes full of the latest fashions, we always think we still lack a jacket in fashion. When facing our shoe cabinets full of high heels, we always think we still need a pair of Cinderella’s crystal shoes. We always can’t forbear buying the most popular hand bags for ourselves when shopping.
In the age of valuing appearance highly, unconsciously I started to pay much attention to my conscious good. I always wore name brands of fashionable dresses, and makeup in the same style of stars, and also made a hairstyle after the fashion of Korean stars. Whenever seeing a mirror door on the street, I always rushed at it and had a look in it to fix my face. Even when on the bus, I never forgot to take out a little mirror and see whether my mascara was smudged, and whether my hair was a mess. Every day besides working, eating and sleeping, I spent plenty of time in studying the secrets of various makeups, hair designs and dress match. In order to attract attentions and turn more heads so as to satisfy my vanity, I frequently changed my hairstyle, having my hair permed and dyed, such as having rinka haircut, getting a shaggy perm, sleek perm and so on; cloring my hair blonde, burgundy, or brown and so on. Thus, several years passed by. My hair fell out seriously when I combed it. I always made up my mind: I will never do my hair any more. But whenever seeing online the latest hair color, the pinkish-purple color, I couldn’t help going to the barbershop and comforted myself against my will: “This is my last time to dye my hair. I will never do it any more. …”
On Singles Day, upon seeing the Korean coat which I had longed for was on sale, I immediately snapped it up without hesitation. But I did not have the matching trousers. Then I took a month’s salary to buy the trousers in the same style, matching hat, bag, scarf, hair ornaments and lipstick in tone-on-tone colors. In order to look better with this suit on me, I started to lose weight by having nothing but cucumbers every day so that I was almost faint with hunger. Until I was thin as a lath, I eventually walked on the street with the suit on as I wished. However my purse and stomach were empty. My heart was filled with gigantic emptiness and disappointment instead of delight.
When I came home, I was extremely tired. While I took off the suit and intended to squeeze them into the wardrobe, I just found that my wardrobe had already been filled with all kinds of clothes, hand bags and shoes. Looking at my gray face in the mirror caused by malnutrition because of excessive dieting, I smiled sadly: I tortured and tormented myself like this. Do I really look good? I was confused and could only eat the meat-filled buns made by Mom to fill the emptiness in my heart. Giving up losing weight for a period of time, my weight gradually recovered to normality. Then the “luxury goods” which dissipated all my salary completely became a veritable exhibit in my wardrobe. Thus, I was tricked by so-called “fashion” again.
Before long, my cousin, who was roughly the same size as me, now looks like a star with a pointed chin and slender waist. I admired her a lot. After asking her, I just knew that she had had a plastic surgery and trimmed the fat. Strong vanity drove me to make a firm decision: I must have a try to do the plastic surgery even though it may cost my last cent. People around me all became beautiful by the surgery. They all resembled the internet celebrities in looks and had the European-style double eyelids. If I did not get plastic surgery, and still kept the original face, then I would be ashamed to walk out. But I had a lingering fear when seeing online many pictures of disabled persons caused by failed facelift. I began to fight up against my desire as soon as I opened my eyes every day: I want to get as beautiful as my cousin, but at the same time, I am afraid that I will become ugly if the surgery fails. Later, I intended to find a more professional hospital to do the surgery where maybe the success rate was higher. But my money was not nearly enough. I had to quit this idea. Thus, sometimes I had an impulse to get plastic surgery, and sometimes I was hesitant about doing that. The two thoughts fought in my mind, making me have a serious headache and feel extremely tired.
Like a city full of desire and temptations, the age of upholding good look impregnably controlled me, making me unable to escape from here. There are countless shops on the street and in the market, such as manicure shops, hairdressing salons, body shops, weight-loss centers, cosmetic discount stores, boutiques … They attracted me and aroused my inner greed at every moment. I was totally dominated by them. I enjoyed the excitement when I got the fashionable dresses and cosmetics, but at the same time, I was also afraid of the feeling of emptiness and pain after satisfying my desire and then calming down every time, as if my heart were emptied. However I was powerless to resist the temptations. A rallying cry inside told me fifty times: How good it would be if I didn’t have these luxurious desires! But how can I control my heart? Where on earth do these desires come from? Am I destined to be tortured by these desires? What on earth should I do to get rid of the vain and greedy desire? Who can save me?
Just when I was so depraved as to lose my direction, a friend of my mother spread God’s kingdom to us and said that God’s word could solve all the troubles. I opened God’s word carrying my confusion and read carefully. God says: “One after another, all these trends carry an evil influence that continually degenerates man, that lowers their morals and their quality of character more and more, to the extent that we can even say the majority of people now have no integrity, no humanity, neither do they have any conscience, much less any reason. So what are these trends? You cannot see these trends with the naked eye. When the wind of a trend blows through, perhaps only a small number of people will become the trendsetters. They start off doing this kind of thing, accepting this kind of idea or this kind of perspective. The majority of people, however, in the midst of their unawareness, will still be continually infected, assimilated and attracted by this kind of trend, until they all unknowingly and involuntarily accept it, and are all submerged in and controlled by it. For man who is not of sound body and mind, who never knows what is truth, who cannot tell the difference between positive and negative things, these kinds of trends one after another make them all willingly accept these trends, the life view, the life philosophies and values that come from Satan. They accept what Satan tells them on how to approach life and the way to live that Satan ‘bestows’ on them. They have not the strength, neither do they have the ability, much less the awareness to resist.”
Sister’s fellowship about the word of God made me have a knowledge of the fact that Satan tempts man into committing a sin by the evil tide. It turns out that the more and more popular “contending in beauty” is exactly the evil trend raised by Satan among human beings. It makes people exert one final effort to pursue the superficial appearance. In order to change the appearance to be seen highly and envied by others, people do not hesitate to ravage their health. Driven by the evil view of “Only by owning beautiful appearance can we be happy,” so as to be seen highly by others, I also didn’t hesitate to spend all the savings and recklessly ravaged my own body and features. As a result, my appearance was corroded by the cosmetics made from chemicals. For the purpose of wearing the clothes which did not fit me, I ruined my original good health. What was worse, my innermost being was corrupted by the evil trend. Nowadays, I just knew how deeply I had been harmed by Satan. If God’s salvation had not come upon me, I would have been still struggling in sin.
Then the sister continued to read another paragraph of God’s word: “Some are born to be treasured, others to be cast aside like weeds. Some are born with fine features, others with crooked ones. Some are lovely to look upon, others are ugly. Some are born at midnight, others beneath the blaze of the noonday sun. … The births of people of all stripes are determined by the fates the Creator has in store for them; their births determine their fates in the present life as well as the roles they will play and the missions they will fulfill. All this is subject to the Creator’s sovereignty, predestined by Him; no one can escape their predestined lot, no one can change the circumstances of their birth, and no one can choose their own fate.”
It turns out that my appearance, hair, skin color and stature are all arranged elaborately by God. But I was not satisfied with God’s arrangement and instead, I followed the evil trend to change and ravage my appearance and body which have been ordained by God. Naturally the result was misery. Now by God’s word I just penetrated the fact that Satan corrupts and devours people. I made up my mind to submit to God’s sovereignty and end my previous corrupted life. Firstly I cut my colorful hair and secondly washed away my make-up which was like a mask. Then I looked at my true appearance in the mirror carefully and saw a big smile which I had not seen for ages and the happiness with which my eyes sparkled. Then I changed into the simple and decent clothes. Brothers and sisters all said: “You used to intentionally lose weight and dress yourself up to become beautiful, but it didn’t work. It is pretty good to follow the course of nature. You look better a lot now.” I realized: What I need is not beautiful suit or others’ esteem and envy, but the Creator’s word. Only by reading God’s word can I penetrate the source of the world’s evil and correct my wrong definition of beauty. And God’s word guides me to get far away from the evil trend of society. I gradually got rid of the control of extravagant desires in my heart, and lived out normal humanity according to God’s word.
At a weekend, I saw some cosmetics in the same style of stars were on sale when shopping in the supermarket. The salesperson did her utmost to recommend me these cosmetics. And she told me they were suitable for my skin and guaranteed that my skin would get clearer and the freckles would disappear … If in the past, I was pretty certain to be deluded by those blandishments to buy these elegant-packing cosmetics. But today God’s word guides me to learn how to discern good and evil, and beauty and ugliness. Depending on God’s word, I can see through trickeries which Satan plays to harm people by various evil trends. I will never be fooled any more. Recalling my exhausted and miserable past when I lived under Satan’s deceit and followed the evil trends, I had suffered a lot. If I still continued to waste my time and effort in chasing the fashionable trend, my heart would always be occupied by material comforts, and I would lose the time and effort to pursue the truth and draw close to God, and also lose the satisfaction and happiness from God. Then I chose decidedly an ordinary facial cleanser which was priced at 10 yuan. When I paid the money, the salesperson gave me a thunderstruck look. Then I walked out of the gate of the supermarket calmly.
Today, I don’t spend plenty of time in makeup and hairdressing any more. Instead, I take my precious time to read God’s word, to equip myself with the truth, and to gather with my brothers and sisters to share our experiences and sing praises to God. Living like this, I feel contented and happy every day. Whenever the greedy desires show up in my heart, I will pray to God, and God will enlighten me. By reading God’s word, I can discern my wrong intentions, practice betraying myself and abandon my previous vain lifestyle. As I understand more and more truth, my heart gradually gets far away from the city of desire controlled by Satan. Although I still move through the dazzling world of myriad temptations, the latter-day Sodom, my heart will never be captured by it. I think my life now is truly happy, out of desire, out of danger.