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August 9, 2015

Eye Shadow and a Lesson from God

I am both what one would call, a ‘girly girl’ and a ‘product junky’.  When you put those two "traits" together,  it is not surprising that I am a big fan of Sephora. I love to peruse their site looking for a new eye shadow palette or a fun nail polish color to add to my collection. Recently when I turned in some credit card points I selected a Sephora gift card. I was excitedly looking forward to some guilt-free shopping.  Little did I know that this shopping would come with a unique free gift; a hard lesson from God.

Last week when I opened my guilt-free order from Sephora, I was surprised to find two of the exact same Stila eye shadow palettes inside. I knew I didn't order two, and a quick glance at the order summary confirmed that I ordered and paid for only one. "Woohoo  free $16 palette for me!!!"

I'm kidding, I knew I had to call and let them know about their mistake. The truth of the matter was if I kept the palette, it would be stealing.

As I prepared to call the customer service line the next day,  I found myself thinking, "I bet this will really surprise the customer service rep.  I'm sure this doesn't happen very often, most people would just keep the eyeshadow and not say a word. They will probably say thank you and tell me not to worry about it as it was their mistake. Maybe they will even give me a gift card or coupon for a future purchase."  This was the beginning of my very wrong thinking.

The phone call did not go at all as I had expected.  I was put on hold multiple times, and at one point when I expressed concern about how I was going to return the item, I was told; "If you don't return it, we will have to charge your credit card."  No mention of any gift card coming my way or a coupon for my next purchase.  As I ended the call, the voices in my head went something like this, " I can't believe this. All the things I have purchased from them over the years and this is how they treat me. They should have let me keep the palette and avoid the hassle of packing it up and going to the post office to ship it back-it was their mistake, after all.”  More wrong thinking.

Before I knew it I was leaving a snarky comment on the Sephora Facebook page about my experience (which may or may not have included a vague threat about “needing to rethink where I purchase beauty products in the future”).  Truth be told, Sephora would have to commit a much worse transgression to lose me as a customer, but it seems truth goes out the window when you continue down the path of wrong thinking.

Before I was able to read the response from Sephora, and as I was contemplating what my next Facebook or email initiative would be to voice my grievances, God intervened.

He held a mirror up, as only He can, and it was not pretty. How did I get to the point of thinking so highly of myself and patting myself on the back for not stealing? God helped me quickly realize I was not the wronged party here. I needed to return the item quickly and move on-end of story.  This needed to be done because it is the right thing to do.  And it was not to be accompanied by feelings of self-righteousness.  How could I be so blind?  I know better than anyone how totally unworthy of praise I am.

Pride is insidious.  It sneaks into our thoughts and actions, and before we know what is happening, we are headed for a fall.  As Proverbs 16:18 tells us, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

The Bible gives us many warnings about pride.  We all know that pride was the downfall of Lucifer, who was a beautiful angel before he tried to exalt himself over God.  Now he uses pride as his greatest weapon against us.

Below are a few of my favorite verses on this subject:

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” -Proverbs 11:2

“Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” -Proverbs 13:10

“Your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God.” -Deuteronomy 8:14

“The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.” -Proverbs 16:5

God had one other point He wanted to make as He brought Matthew  6:1-4 to my mind.  (See below.)  Although returning an eyeshadow palette isn't mentioned specifically in these verses, the point hit me as if the words were written just for me. Through these verses, I understood that any reward God wants to give me for my works is forfeited when I look for praise from people.  I don't know what gift would have been waiting for me in heaven for this little act of honesty, but this I know for sure: I will not receive it.

Matthew 6:1-4 “’Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.  Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.’”