No Make Up Lent 2018

I am not Catholic but I decided to observe Lent this year.  I was inspired by a short video that I saw on Twitter of a priest discussing the topic.  On a whim the day before Lent began I decided to not use make up for 40 days.  I took it as a new experience and challenge.

I am a light make up user.  I don’t use concealer, powder or foundation.  But I do enjoy black liquid eyeliner, black mascara and a nice bold lip color.  Getting ready in the morning is my favorite part of the day.  I have fun choosing what I’m going to wear and applying my make up.  I think of it as my time to spend on myself before I go out and try to satisfy the world.

The first few days of Lent I was very uncomfortable.  It was shocking to see my reflection when I passed a mirror. I felt like a few people that were use to seeing me with make up looked at me strange.  I felt like I needed to explain my appearance but I didn’t because I would have seemed very self centered because they probably didn’t think anything of my appearance at all.

I didn’t feel like I was doing my best when I wasn’t wearing make up because I feel that I look better with it.  I wanted to give up on my challenge early on and throughout Lent.  I didn’t feel like I was becoming spiritually enlightened or closer to God.  I just looked plain in the face and I didn’t see any value in that.

I wish I could say that I spent the time that I usually spent applying make up reading the Bible or in prayer.  I didn’t.  And I didn’t show up places fifteen minutes sooner than normal either.

I was really happy once Easter arrived and I could wear make up again.  It was like being reunited with an old friend.  Observing Lent didn’t have an Earth shattering spiritual affect on me but I do feel like I learned some discipline and I learned to put aside vanity for the sake of honoring God.  I removed a part of my life that is important to me and glorifies myself and put it to the side for a while.  I’m glad that I observed Lent this year and I am actually looking forward to doing it again next year.

The experience reminds me of one of my favorite Bible verses:

Galatians 2:20 New International Version (NIV)

20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,who loved me and gave himself for me.

 

Top-Disadvantages-of-Using-Cosmetics-and-Beauty-Products

 

#bodypositivity – Shannon in Kansas City

 

 

#bodyposi is a popular social media hash tag which encourages women to be comfortable with and love their bodies.  The hash tag is often accompanied by a photograph of a nearly naked young woman.  I am completely in favor of women feeling good about themselves regardless of their body shape, height or ethnic background.  There are many types of beauty in the world and that should be appreciated.  However, I think the body positivity movement is misguided.

The confusing thing about #bodyposi is that these women want to put as much flesh on display as they can get away with.  The women in these photographs are typically heavier set and do not have the type of bodies that are commonly featured in fashion magazines.  I’m sure any one of them would look great if they styled themselves and wore flattering clothing.  I’m not exactly sure what these women want.

A lot of thin women look awkward in bikinis as well.  Everyone isn’t going to look great in a bikini or under wear.  That’s why fashion models are well paid for their efforts.  They also work out and follow a health conscious diet.  There is a price to be paid for everything including a fit body.

I’m sure there are some women that are uplifted by the body positivity movement and there is value in that.  But we are probably just changing the beauty standard instead of helping women find real contentment and peace within themselves.  Mattel recently designed Barbie’s that have alternative body shapes.  “Sports Illustrated” is featuring a heavier (size 10) model in their swim suit issue.  Stores are using fuller bodied mannequins.

Standards of beauty have changed throughout history.  Changing the standards may help a few people feel more accepted but then someone else will feel left out.  I think that we shouldn’t give the media, the fashion industry or the entertainment industry such power over our minds that they have the ability to make anyone feel less worthy than someone else.  The power that we have given popular images is idol worship.

I was given a copy of the New Testament to read when I was nineteen.  It made a huge impression on me and I would hate to think what I would be like without God’s word in my life.  If I was not grounded in Christ I would probably be as vulnerable to media images as all the “body positive” women are.

The Bible taught me that I have a savior.  That savior was born to be a living sacrifice to save my soul.  I don’t know how anyone can hate themselves with this type of conviction.  If God loves me that much who am I to doubt myself or my worth as a woman.  The following scriptures can help anyone that is struggling with self image:

1 Samuel 16:7

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Have no regard for his appearance or stature, because I haven’t selected him.  God doesn’t look at things like humans do.  Humans see only what is visible to the eyes, but the lord sees into the heart.”

Try to see people, including yourself the way God sees them.  Focus on the human heart.

James 4:14

You don’t really know about tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for only a short while before it vanishes.

Life is fleeting and so is youth.  Don’t drive yourself crazy over something that is guaranteed to end.

Colossians 3:11

In this image there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all things and in all people.

We’re all the same in God’s eyes.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.

You are a vessel for the Holy Spirit when you accept Christ.

Exodus 20:3

You must have no other gods before me.

Worship our savior, not your body.

I think that people would have a better self image if they learned about the love God has for us and the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for mankind.  People would also be well served to not be so self focused.  Love yourself and treat yourself well but it seems to me that some young women and men are absolutely obsessed with their image.  None of us are perfect and we are not meant to be.  No one is perfect but Christ.

God gives us different gifts.  Some of us are artists, great in math or great singers.  Some of us are blessed with the gift of looking great in a bikini.  We all can’t have the same gifts.  Instead of coveting someone else’s blessing be grateful for your own.

 

Your body will fail you one day.  If you live to be old your youth will become a memory.  Don’t let frivolous things become an idol in your life.  Beauty and image is subjective and is often an illusion.  Focus on serving God.  I’m certain that you will become a happier, satisfied, joyful and content person.