15 Days of Focus: Bonfire of the Vanities

Bonfire of the vanities…it’s more than a movie in the 90’s. It’s a term used to describe the burning of objects that are deemed to be occasions of sin (according to Wikipedia). Wikipedia further states…

The focus of this destruction was nominally on objects that might tempt one to sin, including vanity items such as mirrors, cosmetics, fine dresses, playing cards, and even musical instruments. Other targets included books that were deemed to be immoral, such as works by Boccaccio, and manuscripts of secular songs, as well as artworks, including paintings and sculpture.

This was the very term that came to my mind as I stood near the doors of our woodstove and watched a mound of paper as it shriveled and glowed in the flames.

Yesterday, I shared that I was taking some time off of Facebook to try to break free of the negative aspects associated with it. Last night I started thinking about the “why”…why do some things and people from my past still offend me. Why do stinging words from 20 years ago still pack a punch? It really makes so sense because I am a totally different person now. Darned those things called “feelings”. Baaah! So this morning, I decided to take up my pen and pad and set to work. Listing….and listing…and listing…all of the people, the actions, the words, the offenses that I thought I had released. After a few pages, I began to notice a pattern to some of them. Many of these things I had been offended about and hurt about had the same root. It was the sin of others responding to MY sin. If I had been walking with the Lord the way I should have been and had not been compromising myself- those people would not have had the ammunition to offend me. If I had been paying attention, I would have noticed that some of these insults and actions that came from others had a little truth to them. Many of these insults/offenses were a mirror being held up for me to see my own ugly. Instead of being offended at the reflection in the mirror…I became offended at the person holding the mirror. Wow. It was an interesting discovery.


Facebook is full of it. Narcissism and self-worship.  According to Webster vanity is ” an inflated pride in oneself or one’s appearance.”. Ironically, it also means “empty and valueless”. I find it interesting that the definition of vanity includes both pride and emptiness.

After I completed the list this morning, I prayed over each person and each situation and asked God to help me to forgive and let them go. [Something our pastor recommended we do back in April and I even wrote a post on it!  Let go of the offence…start to de-fence. What a hard head I am!]  FOR REAL this time. To not just say that I am forgiving each…but to actually DO it. I placed the pages in the woodstove and torched them. It was a bonfire of the vanities. Hanging on to these offenses was causing me to sin, so I had to let them go.

 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 4:31-32

The reflection in the mirror is completely different today than it was 20 years ago. This chapter is closed and the book has been burned. I am still not sure about the future of Facebook in my life, but Day 2 of Focus brought me one step closer to Freedom.


2 thoughts on “15 Days of Focus: Bonfire of the Vanities

  1. Thank you for this blog and for the pain you have carried for many years. God bless you in this new victory! Love you, Joanne. : ))

    Virginia Coffman–I claim Philippians 1:1-3 for you. ‘Tis the Truth!

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