Beautifully (Part 2)

If you read my recent post, Beautifully, you may know that I decided to go the month of February without wearing makeup. It was an interesting and difficult experience that I would like to share with you.

I have to confess, the first two weeks or so – and especially the first few days – I nearly forgot that I wasn’t using any makeup and I would pull it out and set it on the counter only then to remember that no matter how much I wanted to, I couldn’t use it. In part this was because of the fact that I had become so used to going into the bathroom first thing in the morning and slathering on foundation, blinking into mascara and putting on chap-stick at the very least. There was also a part of me that truly did not want to put myself through this, and just wanted to give up and forget I had ever decided this in the first place.

But mostly, it was difficult to look in the mirror at my hyper-pigmented, scarred and blemished skin and small eyes that begged for mascara and eyeliner, and not be able to cover it up and hide the things I really didn’t like seeing in the mirror. So many times I argued with myself in the morning, coming close to slipping up and falling back into the routine I had become so used to.

But I didn’t.

I’m not writing this because I want pity – or recognition for muddling through it for that matter.

But, In blunt honesty, the entire month was hard.

Really hard.

I avoided mirrors so I wouldn’t have to look at myself. I had to keep reminding myself why I was doing what I was, but even that was unconvincing.

My most powerful lesson came after I had begun to wear makeup again.

I play piano, have for eleven years, which means I often get volunteered to play for events – especially at church. Anyway, the women’s ministry we have at my church had asked me to play for them at an event on Saturday, which meant I got to listen to the speaker they had lined up. She said something important in her lesson that I didn’t realize the power of until I was driving home after the event. It sounded a little something like this:

It doesn’t matter what you look like. It doesn’t matter if you are “too thin” or “too fat”, whether you have wrinkles or scars. You are made, fearfully and wonderfully in the image of God, and YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL and WORTHY despite the things you don’t like when you look in the mirror.

I’m paraphrasing a little, but this was the context of what she said, and I was blown away. It seems like women are told something like this all the time – by our parents, our friends, our significant other – you name it. How many of us actually believe it? Ha.

Yet, to doubt our own beauty and worth is to doubt that God’s creation is perfect and that he made each of us, knit us and molded us so intricately.

To not love ourselves and how we look is, frankly, an insult to God’s handiwork.So why is it so easy to pick and choose what we like and dislike about ourselves, and beat ourselves up over those things we have deemed unworthy and not beautiful?

I wish that I had a good answer for this, but I truthfully don’t. It’s hard to love the things we find so easy to hate. There are many days that I get so worked up in comparing myself to others and picking apart my flaws that I bring myself to tears. .

I see so many others feeling the same, and it breaks my heart.

So, if you are reading this, I challenge you. 

Don’t allow makeup to enslave you like I did, like so many other women have.

Freely, unashamedly look into mirrors and tell yourself how beautiful you are – even if you don’t feel that way – until you believe it. God made every piece of you, He has numbered the hairs on your head and He loves every last inch of you. In you, He created a lovely and fearless soul and He will gently remind you day by day how much you are worth if you let Him.

I have challenged myself to do the same.

Because I can promise you that you are fearfully, wonderfully, beautifully, intricately made in the image of a perfect, glorious and loving God.

Beautifully (Part 1)

Today might just have been the worst I have had for awhile and even though part of me would love to throw myself a pity party, I won’t bore you with the details.

I’m the type of person to ‘go home and cry about it’ whenever something bad happens. This is not a good quality, I know… But this particular “crappy” day acted as the smack in the face that I honestly needed. So instead of my usual moping on the couch with comfort food and Modern Family, I decided to seek out the reason behind the fact that today was simply the breaking point to a few weeks of not feeling myself.

Here’s the deal: I’m really skilled at faking it, but most days my self confidence is definitely lacking, and for whatever reason this had been even more of an issue for the last month or so. My life is filled with so many awesome women, yet I can’t help be a little intimidated, constantly wondering why I am not as beautiful as them.

I realize that this is a question straight from the pit of Hell. I get that. But some days, I ask it anyway. So in a feeble attempt to make myself feel better, I have become reliant on makeup. I’ve never been one to wear a lot of it, but I have been one to hide behind the makeup I do wear.

I guess a little bit of backstory would be good here… My mom used to be a consultant for Mary Kay, so I have had access to makeup for as long as I can remember. I got my hands on my first tube of mascara in sixth grade – next came foundation, and you know the rest of this story.

Maybe it is because I am very introverted, or perhaps it is because I take everything that is said to me a little too seriously, but it freaked me out when someone would point out that my skin wasn’t blemish free, hence I caked on the makeup to try to hide it. When it was addressed that I have “small eyes”, eyeliner became my best friend. In fact, I haven’t gone out in public without any makeup for years.

First of all, I realize that there are women who can confidently go without makeup and are perfectly fine with it. I am not one of them. That being said, I have come to the conclusion that I want to be!

So for the next month I am going to step wayyyyyyy out of my comfort zone and not wear a drop of makeup.

It is going to be a challenge, but my prayer is that it can teach me that my beauty comes from within, not from covering up and hiding the things that I think aren’t beautiful. Because deep down, I’d rather be known for having a beautiful heart than for having a pretty face.

Here goes!

Do not let your adorning be external—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. (1 Peter 3:3-4)