“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:13-14
I remember the first time my parents allowed me to wear makeup. I was in the sixth grade and my mom took me to Claire’s to pick out an eye shadow of my choice. Naturally, I went with the shimmery pink, blue, and white combo that, in my mind, would make my school uniform pop! And since it was my grand premiere of wearing makeup, I loaded that stuff on like it was icing (and I’m pretty sure I went with the white, so you can only imagine).
When I got to school that day, literally in the first minutes I was there, a girl said to me, “You’ve got something on your eyes.” I was so embarrassed when I realized all in one moment that I must look ridiculous, so I acted like I was shocked it was there and wiped it all off. Great start.
After that, I still wore my eye shadow, but I used it a little more sparingly, thankfully. Eventually, I was even allowed to wear concealer, blush, and finally, mascara. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to focus on our appearance. I think it’s great and personally have a lot of fun getting dolled up, working out, or buying new clothes!
However, it does become a danger when our focus on appearance becomes unbalanced or unreasonable. Unfortunately, those signs began to show in my life post-eye shadow premiere.
At some point along the way, a seed was planted. You’re not beautiful without wearing makeup. It was a lie, but I convinced myself that it was the truth. To me, there was a cultural standard for beauty and I didn’t meet it unless I wore makeup.
So I made sure that whenever I left the house, I had on my makeup. I played volleyball all throughout high school, so if we had practice or a game, I made sure I touched up my makeup beforehand. I wanted people to think that I looked like that all the time. Since most of the other girls were doing it too, I felt completely normal. But think about it - applying more makeup before sweating in a game? I mean, really? “How does that make sense?” is what I would ask my old self now.
I even carried the habit to Greystone my junior-senior year. On a normal day of activities, I would sneak into the bathroom to put on some mascara quickly before anyone could see me. Another sign that it was getting out of hand, was the fact that I was trying to hide it from others. Not only did I subconsciously think there was a cultural standard to beauty, but I wanted everyone to think that I had it naturally.
At some point that summer, I was able to call myself out on my oddly deceitful habit. I mean, try to “sneak” around your cabin at camp this summer? Not so easy with all of those girls in it, is it? Eventually I was able to say to myself, something’s not right. Something is out of balance; and I knew exactly what it was.
I knew that I cared too much about my outward appearance, but I felt helpless about how to change it. So I began to pray this prayer: “God, help me to see myself as You see me.”
It didn’t all happen in one split second, but over time I saw transformations in the way I viewed myself and others. The more time I spend with God, either reading my Bible or praying, the more I see how much He loves me for just being me. The Bible is filled with truths. No matter what state I am in life, the more I fill myself with those truths, the less lies I believe.
Somewhere in my freshman year of college, I finally was able to let go of the lie that I needed to wear makeup to be beautiful. I came across these verses in Psalm 139 that tell us we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” as we are. And let me know if you come across any, but God doesn’t make mistakes! The chapter goes on to say in verse 16 that, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before they came to be.” God made us with detailed intention and great purpose in mind. He knew exactly what He was doing. Accepting and believing this truth was so freeing for me-and just in time to be a counselor at Greystone that following summer!
I want to challenge you as well as myself with this: spend more time on your relationship with God than on your appearance and see what happens. When you spend time with God, His truths are revealed; and when you know the truth, it’s hard not to be transformed by it. It’s also hard to hide it.
What are you reminding yourself more of daily - how many pimples are on your face or how you were fearfully and wonderfully made?