The Make-Up Confession

7 08 2010

I’ll be frank. I don’t wear make-up for two reasons:

First, I don’t like other people telling me what will make me important, beautiful and loved; and, second, I think we (society, even the world) wear make-up so that our flesh (and others’ flesh) can be pleased, so that our flesh can feel like we have control over something in our lives. We feel that if we control our looks we can control our love.

But I truly don’t understand this. People are made to feel bad if they don’t mask their true selves. God didn’t make me with make up so what is it saying that I make myself into the way “I want to be so others can desire me”? What is it saying about where my heart is?

It doesn’t make sense to me. I thought God loved us as we are. And we aren’t made with make up on. Nor are we made with minds that value the root of what make-up represents: dissatisfaction and disappointment with how God made us.

Make-up is learned. It’s a verb full of colors. It’s a strange attempt to recover something that we cannot, unconditional love and acceptance, by putting colors on our faces to cover up our blemishes.

Honestly, when it gets down to it, God sees our blemishes.

To me, make-up is the half-hearted sacrifice to God. It looks good; we think we’re doing something pleasing, but we’re covering up our sin and greed and mistakes by buying into the falsity that our natural beauty isn’t good enough; we must make ourselves look better.

How God made us wasn’t enough. We have to improve it. No one can see our blemishes, only God can, even if we don’t want Him to either.

Tomi. Whoa. You’re doing too much. I only wear make-up because it’s something nice. It enhances my features. I’m not hiding from anything.

Maybe not, but maybe so.

Sometimes we hide without knowing we’re hiding or sometimes we’re taught that hiding is normal and those who don’t hide, who sit with their faces: their pimples, skin blotches, creases and wrinkles exposed are the posers, are the losers, are ugly because they won’t hide too.

But what is ugly? Exposing all flaws so that nothing is out of sight, nothing is hidden; nothing is giving an untruthful impression? Or does it trick people into a perception of perfect, and cause people to love, lust over, be attracted to what really isn’t?

It’s risky, not wearing make-up, but it can be a spiritual act of confession.

The natural face confesses flaws up front and doesn’t desire to be masked. It doesn’t put a band-aid on a scar but allows the scar to show.

Jesus had scars that He gladly showed to prove one thing: He was real. (John 20:24-30)

Maybe not wearing make-up can do something similar. It can prove our humanity, imperfection and remind us and others that we don’t have it together even if make-up or clothes say so.

Maybe make-up confesses our frailty and our peace with the fact that we are really human, just as Jesus was.

Marks, blemishes, and scars, imperfections say so.

Maybe that’s not a bad thing but a faith thing.

We acknowledge our limitations and rejoice that Jesus is perfect even when we aren’t.

And that His perfection came with skin blemishes too. Divine scars.



3 responses

16 08 2010

A friend of mine, after reading this post wrote me a wonderful e-mail with a lot to think about. Here’s a little bit of what she said: “This is an issue that resonates with me quite a bit as someone trying to bid Insecurity in every form a fond farewell…and to bolt the door behind it. 🙂 I think at this stage of life I’m just really trying to find balance – not beating myself up (another way insecurity scoots in without notice) if I need to put on a little makeup or wear a nice outfit (I honestly don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with those things) – but trusting that though I only see through my mirror dimly, I am known and loved fully by the God who is conforming and who will conform me more and more into the image of His Son Jesus over my whole life course.”

It’s true. We only see through a mirror dimly, so even I, with my commentary am only getting part of the picture too, and maybe not even the better part. Even I, who pushes for a make-up-less world have an unfinished perspective, a blind eye towards true beauty and comprehension that simply falls short. All I have to go off of is my tiny human experience. That’s the best that this blog can do; I can only pray that this tiny, smudge-filled perspective can bring some type of clarity to my fellow dim-mirrored brothers and sisters in this thing called life so that we can potentially see something a bit better. And even in this dim-mirrored world we live in, different perspectives can bring clarity, so I am definitely grateful for my sister for sharing her thoughts with me. The thoughts of others definitely help me dig deeper into my own thoughts and what I’m really saying.

I definitely hear where my friend is coming from. I certainly don’t want to come across as one who condemns make-up on everyone. I prefer the natural look because it avoids the question that no woman wants to hear, especially if one day she forgets to and chooses not to wear her usual make-up: “Are you not wearing make-up?”

This inquiry can stir up even greater insecurity – if people get so used to you wearing make-up, then there’s a chance that that’s the you they’ve gotten used to too. So they will notice you when you’re you but not the you they know. You have to commit to the work of keeping up the made-up you. But maybe for some it does bring joy and isn’t work; and that’s a tough pill to swallow for me…to expand my understanding of joy and peace to include things I personally reject. But it’s necessary, for all of us…expanding perspective that is.

What I hate may be something another person needs. Who am I to call it different in their lives; it can mean one thing for me but I dare not disrespect it in the life of another.

So thanks friend. My perspective is becoming more open and hopefully I’m seeing a bit clearer in this dim mirror and can’t make out if someone is wearing make-up or not. Or caring for that matter. What I can make out in that mirror is a person who deserves to be loved no matter what their personal choices are, or even especially if they do things different than I do. That’s called Christian love, right? I hope to learn more about it through this topic and many others because God can be found in even what we may deem “secular”. I’m so glad God is bigger than our labels.


16 08 2010

Thanks so much for the encouragement!

7 08 2010

here’s my respect to a woman who is confident in her own skin and her Creator 🙂

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