What standard are you living by? What do you measure yourself against? When you look into the mirror, what do you see? How do you feel? What do you allow to influence your life? Question I am confronted by today.
A little while ago I heard the Lord ask me to go without makeup. This was only a few months after my third baby was born and I was particularly insecure, and even miserable, when it came to my appearance. Hormones had taken a toll on my skin, especially on my face. I had yet to loose the pregnancy weight, and was in that awkward stage where maternity clothes no longer fit comfortably or flatteringly, and I was not yet able to fit into pre-pregnancy clothes. My makeup was the only thing I could control – I could use to make myself feel worthy of being seen outside my house. Sound dramatic? Perhaps. But it was very real to where I was at.
When God asked me to forgo makeup I almost didn’t do it. I am so grateful that in the end I did, in the end I was hungrier for His presence and the ability to hear His voice, than I was for acceptable appearances.
I don’t mean to imply that He would have left me or stopped speaking to me. But if we choose to ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit He respects our choices and leaves us alone until we seek Him out again. And by seek Him out again, I mean, until we are willing to respond to what He asks of us.
In forgoing makeup, I endured church services, parties, family functions, family photos and more without the security of hiding underneath the protection of the illusion that makeup created for me. I was bare. It was painful.
Looking back, I can see that enduring this and feeling that pain cleared my vision enough for me to see truth – to see where I was placing my trust and what I was valuing most. Like the sting of eye drops removing contamination from my eyes, I slowly gained clarity.
Where so much of my energy, emotions and efforts were wrapped up in taking pains to create beauty by the standards I felt pressed on me by the world around me, I was forgetting the beauty already placed upon me. The beauty that only my Creator offers. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
I don’t believe that makeup is wrong or that I need to go around in a muumuu to gain this kind of beauty, and in fact, I do wear makeup again. But that time of fasting from makeup revealed what is important to labor over. How I spend my strength and measure my worth is of utmost importance, because it reveals what I value most; the opinions of those in my life or the acceptance of my God.
In a seasonal low makeup allowed me to conceal my inward condition; a broken spirit, hurting and suffering the weight of rejection and judgment. God wanted that covering to come off, for me to stop hiding what most needed to be addressed: the me that I truly am, the me that needed His healing touch, to be freed from bondages and lies. He is the only one who could do the healing work within me, but I had to be the one to take off the mask.
If you, like me, find yourself in a place of hiding, my prayer is that you find the courage to take off the mask and allow healing to happen. My prayer for you and for me is that we measure our worth by who we are without the makeup.
“Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” ~Joel 2:13
Isaiah 3:16-18 & 24, Genesis 24:16 & 19-22, Revelation 3:17,