At the end of December I stopped wearing makeup. For over a month I let my natural beauty shine. You can read all about why I decided to take this “fast” from makeup here: Naked Faced.
I must say the first few weeks were actually pretty rough. There was an overwhelming feeling of nakedness and exposure to the world around me. Honestly, I felt hideous and old… Old, old, old. My instinct in the morning is to get up and “put my best face forward,” flawlessly perfected with powders and lipstick. But I fought my instinct and went ahead with my days barefaced and exposed.
A few things happened that surprised me. First of all, no one asked me if I was ill! Yes, this came as a complete shock to me as well, considering as all I saw in the mirror was an ugly old hag. Secondly, I found I had a lot more time in the mornings which I put to good use laying around relaxing, (This was the best part). Third, my constant acne from my lithium lessened dramatically, still hanging around like a bad penny though.
Yet the most important thing that happened to me can’t be seen from the outside. God used this time to really speak to me and lead me. He’s led me on a very personal journey to examine other areas in my life that have been holding me back. I examined and worked through many areas in which I was hiding behind my makeup. Without my crutch holding me back, I was able to bring them out into the light of day and confront them. I asked God to show me other areas of my life in which I was hiding from, and with His help I was able to acknowledge and deal with these items.
Makeup itself not bad, it is amazing and wonderful. I encourage people everywhere to experiment and enhance their everyday appearance with it. But you can become a captive to anything, not just sinful practices and desires. Makeup is a beauty treatment, but I was using it to cover myself up, to hide. The obsessive need to cover my flaws was representational of what was happening deep inside me.
By hiding from the realities of my aging self, searching for youth in a foundation or lipstick, I was ignoring the issue I am really upset about. I am getting older and I am not what I thought I would be at this age. Suffering from bipolar 2 has so drastically interfered with my life I have been unable to do so many of the things I thought I would do, or know I am capable of doing.
American culture is so wrapped up in what you do for work and how much money you make, that because I don’t work and have been a stay at home mom, I find no place in the culture where I am acceptable. Living in London the last 3+ years I have found acceptance and tolerance for who and what I am. The thought of having to leave here and go back to a culture that looks down on me for not working and suffering mental illness is a tough thing to accept.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
I have felt myself growing even closer to God and his purpose for me in life. As for returning to wearing makeup daily, I’m not sure I will continue that trend moving forward. I no longer feel the pressure to apply it before I leave the house, and I can see that is much better for my skin to not wear it every day. My self-confidence in who I am approaching 40 is so much greater. I keep hearing 40 is fabulous, so I’ll let you know in six months how it really feels!!
Until then, I encourage you to examine yourself for things that may be holding you back from God. I asked God to show me things I needed to work on, and one by one he did. My makeup fast was just the beginning. As I responded to God with obedience he continues to show me other strongholds. As we are all His works, I know this process will take the rest of my life, which judging from the work that needs to be done will be a long one for me!!