“blessed be the name of Jehovah.” His blessing of God’s name was unconditional, irrespective of context, and without reason.
Christian Experience: Face My Defects Calmly
By Xia Tian
Xia Tian has been vainglorious and cared much about face since she was a child. She regards such thoughts and views as her life philosophies and mottos: “As a tree lives for its bark, a man lives for his face,” and “A man leaves his name behind wherever he stays, just as a goose utters its cry wherever it flies,” etc. Whatever she does, she wants to be the best and gain others’ admiration. Once others see her weakness and deficiencies, she feels great pain, that she loses face. And thus she competes with herself until she reaches her perfection. However, we all know that we are created beings and corrupted by Satan, how can we achieve omnipotence? Our having these thoughts and pursuit is all caused by the affliction of Satan, which is not a normal state. Luckily, this time Xia Tian was finally not constrained by face and vanity anymore but faced her defects calmly. How on earth did she achieve this? Let’s see her story together.
Xia Tian, who has worked in a designer clothes store for many years, performed well in kinds of business. The storekeeper often praised her and let other employees learn from her. Every time she heard the praise from the storekeeper and supervisor, she was very happy.
Xia Tian had worked at each kind of post in the store except the cashier. In the beginning of July, she was arranged to be a cashier; she was excited because she could finally try this new post. But after a week, the storekeeper suddenly called the staff to a meeting and told them that whoever worked as a cashier must broadcast the message every 15 minutes, and it cannot be done by supervisors any longer. Having heard this, her good mood was swept away from her mind because she spoke mandarin with a poor pronunciation. She’s just okay to chat with customers alone, but she had never read the message into the microphone. She thought: When I speak in mandarin into the microphone, my workmates, customers will hear me, and even so do storekeeper, supervisor and upper leader who inspects the store every week. If they compare the mandarin of other workmates with mine, won’t this even more show my weakness? Would my workmates laugh at me? Would customers say that it is unpleasant to listen the person’s mandarin? Would the leaders say why they ask such a person whose pronunciation is so poor to broadcast the message? In that case, wouldn’t the former good image others had of me be destroyed? That would be so embarrassing! No, I can’t allow others to see my deficiencies and laugh at me.
Then, every day Xia Tian was worried about the issue of publicly broadcasting the message. For this, she did everything she could, for example, making excuses by all means to evade, asking her workmates for help, etc. By doing this, she let her off the hook. However, one day, the supervisor and foreman insisted on her broadcasting the message. She had no way but forced herself to do it. She lowered her voice to the minimum, but she was still so nervous that she had no idea how she had finished the message. The supervisor and the foreman said that her pronunciation was all right and just needed to be exercised more. Being too strict with herself, she thought that her reading was so terrible and the supervisor and foreman just said this to comfort her.
After this thing, Xia Tian realized that she couldn’t avoid broadcasting the message, so she practiced secretly in her spare time. However, even if she repeated reading the message so that she could recite it, she still couldn’t read it calmly into the microphone. She was full of the thoughts: If I don’t read it well, what would others think of me? Would they laugh at me and say that I pronounce so poorly since I am old enough? Thinking that her former good image would all ruin, she had the increasing pressure feeling as if being pressed by a big stone, and she even didn’t want to go to work.
When Xia Tian was lost in agony, she saw God’s words saying: “People themselves are objects of creation. Can objects of creation achieve omnipotence? Can they achieve perfection? Can they achieve flawlessness? Can they achieve proficiency in everything, come to understand everything, and accomplish everything? They cannot, right? However, within humans, there is a weakness. As soon as they learn a skill or profession, people feel that they are capable: ‘I’m someone with status, a person of worth; a professional.’ No matter how capable or incapable they might be, before this even comes to light, they want to package themselves up and disguise themselves as important figures, and become perfect and flawless, without any defects. They just want to arm themselves so that in the eyes of others they will become great, powerful, fully capable, and without anything they cannot do; they wish to appear incapable of nothing. If they needed to seek help from others, they believe they would appear incapable and weak, inferior to others, and be looked down upon; as such, they keep wanting to pretend. … In conducting yourself, if you choose this sort of path—always having your head stuck in the clouds rather than your feet on the ground, always wanting to fly, always wanting to be incredible—then you are bound to have problems. Choosing this sort of path in life is not right.”
Pondering over these God’s words, Xia Tian understood that she was the kind of person revealed in God’s words. She had always pursued leaving a perfect image in others’ hearts and gaining others’ praise, unwilling to face her own deficiencies. When everyone in the store praised her, she felt that she was outstanding, happy in her mind. When faced with broadcasting the message, because of her poor mandarin, she resisted in her heart and tried to evade it in every possible way, afraid that everyone in the store would know her defects and belittle her once she read the message, and that her perfect image would be damaged. Therefore, to maintain her good image, she racked her brains to make kinds of excuses up to evade broadcasting, even told lies and deceived others. She was terribly disturbed by the thing, distracted and miserable. She even didn’t want to go to work.
Only then did Xia Tian know that what made her suffering was not her poor mandarin but her corrupt disposition. She was ruled by satanic toxins “As a tree lives for its bark, a man lives for his face,” pursuing perfection and others’ praise, maintaining her vanity and face, packaging herself up and pretending extremely. She knew that her nature was too arrogant and superficial. In fact, a man is impossible to be perfect, so it’s normal for us to have some defects in different degree. It’s not a shameful thing. She should face up to her defects, receive this fact, conduct herself in a practical and down-to-earth manner, not disguise herself but let everyone see her true colors. What she should do is to learn from others who speak mandarin well. Her mandarin is poor, but can be made improvements slowly by putting much more effort into practice. So she prayed to God, and wished for God to lead her to break through the chain of face so that she could give herself completely into God’s hands, face reality calmly, and be what she is.
Next day in the work, through praying to God ceaselessly, Xia Tian broadcasted the message on her own initiative for the first time. Having finished reading, she felt easy. Unexpectedly, at this time, a workmate said to her, “Your reading sounds unpleasant. …” She felt her face was hot and her heart was spontaneously in tumult that she really wanted to crawl into a little hole. It was too embarrassing. But she then thought of God’s words that she read yesterday. She knew that she is a corrupt person, an object of creation. Since she has defects, it’s normal to be criticized by others. It was a fact that her reading was poor, but it would be better if she exercised more. At this time, although she felt a dull pain in her heart, she had the courage to break through face.
Soon, it was time to broadcast the message again, and she took it and read. But after a while, the workmate came again. The workmate not only said that she didn’t read well, but read the message into the microphone again. Xia Tian felt that the workmate was laughing at her intentionally. She felt dishonored, awful in heart. Her mind was full of the scenes of everyone’s discussing and belittling her. When she thought of these, she felt great pain in her heart. So when she met the leader, she said to the leader at once, “I don’t want to broadcast the message. The workmate said that my reading is unpleasant to hear and will influence the sale.” But the leader refused her.
After the leader left, Xia Tian recalled the thing that happened right now. She asked herself: Why am I awful? Why did I say that to the leader? Through reflecting, she knew that she was still dominated by face. At this time, she prayed to God and sought for God’s leading. Then she thought of this passage of God’s words: “Once you discover your own corrupt disposition, won’t you know what to do? For example, in some issue you revealed selfishness—you were really selfish, thinking of your own image—how can this be resolved? First you have to put your own image aside, and think: ‘I want to say that to protect my own image, but I immediately realized that saying that to protect my image would be selfish and despicable. Saying that is for my own intent; it’s despicable and it shows a corrupt disposition. I can’t speak based on that, but I should speak based on this. I should reveal myself, show my true face, and genuinely speak out the thoughts in my heart. I’d rather throw my own image aside, not protect it, and not gratify my vanity.’ … So when you are victorious, aren’t you standing witness for God?”
God’s words made Xia Tian suddenly see the light. She understood that there was permission from God when she encountered the workmate’s derision twice. This allowed her to see that man is harmed by Satan too much and is anguished to be bound by face in life. The reason why she didn’t overcome the issue was because she cared too much about her face, image and her status in others’ hearts and could not be freed from the bondage of face. At the same time, she saw that she had no resolution to practice the truth and was fooled by Satan again. So she made a resolution to fight against her corrupt disposition, to face up to her defects, and to be what she is. She only wished that she could not be constrained by face any longer, could practice God’s words and live in the light. At this time, she was not as awful. She felt that God was at her side and bestowed upon her strength and resolution, and that God was leading and guiding her through His words. So she had more confidence to cooperate with God to break through the chain of face.
At this time, she took the message and read it calmly. She thought: Everyone could treat me as he wishes, but I must be what I’m without disguise. Even though she still didn’t read well, yet she was happy because she surpassed the constraint of her vanity and face without caring anything about them. She felt real release and freedom.
The next day, unexpectedly, an intern who was a college student about eighteen years old offered to help her correct her pronunciation. She didn’t feel embarrassed any longer but thanked God in her heart. She realized that God was arranging for this workmate to help her make up for her defects. On that day, before they left the store, her workmates said that her pronunciation was better and better. She gave glory to God in her heart, because she knew that it’s God’s leading and guidance that made her accept and face up to her defects, be what she is, and surpass the constraint of her vanity and face. She deeply realized that it’s really tiring to live a life like this: being constrained by face, wanting to give others a false appearance, and not wanting others to see her defects. Only by living before God and being what she is can she be easy and released. Thank God! Amen!
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