This year, as I have detailed out in previous posts – I really want to challenge myself in all areas of my life. This includes my faith in God, how I apply said faith in my everyday life and dealings, my personal relationship and how they affect my mental health, challenging my physical health and my body every single day in 2014, as well as, challenging my thoughts – as well as others – on societal views on beauty and how that correlates with God’s written word.
It is the last item aforementioned that will be the focus on a month-long challenge that I began on January 6th of this year.
What is it?
Wikipedia defines beauty as a characteristic of a person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction
Beauty is nearly subjective on an individual basis; what I find beautiful, another might not find of beauty. For example, I find compassion incredibly beautiful, but others may not find the beautification in an undeniably awesome trait. Hence, beauty has become mutually exclusive to what we present on the outside by today’s societal standards.
That’s what fashion magazines, social networking, cliques of middle-aged housewives, advertisers, and any beauty brand tells us. And at the VERY SAME TIME, these same outlets say beauty doesn’t matter as they peddle the latest product that will slim us, beautify us, make us appear younger – a beauty they say that isn’t idealistic, but instantaneously imply it is idealistic.
How can we say – in truth – that beauty isn’t about the outside, but then we got to extreme lengths to beautify ourselves to feel comfortable and secure? A plethora of cosmetics, anti-aging products, relaxers, hair extensions, hair dye, flat irons, scented lotions, corsets, cosmetic surgeries….the list is nearly endless.
So how can I be truthful when I tell my daughter that beauty is more than how our face is shaped, how thin our thighs are, and how big our butts are when I follow that up by spending an hour flat ironing my tresses, spending another hour putting on cosmetics, getting my roots touched up every three to four weeks to maintain my red hue, spending more time on my beauty routine than I spend on reading God’s word?
How does that make sense?
So I challenged myself for the next month, for 30 days, I am wearing no cosmetics. None. Zip. Nada.
I’m not touching up my roots, no straightening my hair, heck, I’m not even putting hair spray, curling creme, or even leave-in conditioners in my hair. I’m not even shaping my eyebrows ; I’m putting all of my former and present insecurities out there.
My beauty routine is as follows:
Put on moisturizer with sunscreen.
However I wake up with my hair, that’s how it stays or gets put in a simple braid.
And I’m taking pictures every day:
I have never really thought of myself as high-maintenance, but this past week I’m questioning if I really am or not. I have a plethora of free time that I have spent writing, conversing with God, and having great conversations spreading His Word.
We become so focused on trying to find ourselves that in doing so, we are truly hiding ourselves behind shields of foundations, armor of eye primer, and masks of bronzer.
I have used cosmetics as a barrier that has served me well over the years. I would rarely leave my house without having the picture perfect cosmetics applied with precision. I would never leave without looking my best, because honestly, I didn’t want people to see me if I was suffering with my emotional worst.
I used cosmetics as a mask to further isolate Tammy from the world.
Yesterday was the first time I have EVER attended a church service without makeup. I may have looked like a hot mess, and my hair was so extra wavy, but I didn’t care. I honestly did not care.
I was focused on God.
I really am a believer that once we simplify things in our life, we make ourselves more attainable and usable as vessels for God’s glory.
I’m not saying I’m growing spiritually because of this challenge, but it certainly isn’t hurting. I’m challenging myself in every way this year, and it starts by something as irrelevant – and yes, how we look is completely irrelevant – as beautifying.
Yesterday in church service – where there’s easily more than 500 people who attend every service – I felt more close to God than I have in the past few months. In letting go of how we want to secure ourselves by beautification, I also let go of how I am perceived by God’s children. I raised my hands high as I worshiped God and I felt the Holy Spirit enveloping all of me. He was all around me…tickling my pale skin…caressing my unbrushed coif…wrapping His hands around me spiritually until an amazing peace overwhelmed me and I just felt joy.
It wasn’t the lack of cosmetics that did this, but the lack of caring about men’s judgements and just allowing Him to do His amazing work in me.
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 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
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7
I have used beautification to hide myself..my emotions..my insecurities.
For the longest time I would never take a picture unless my glasses were on and/or on the tip of my nose because I hate my pig-like nose. I have always wanted a nose job. I have always wanted a non-cherub face, but now?
I’m kinda looking forward to taking those pictures every day of just Tammy…the Tammy that God intended. The Tammy that doesn’t need Smashbox eye primer or Bobbie Brown eye shadow or Two Faced lip gloss.
The Tammy that God has always wanted me to see and maybe I’m not there yet and maybe this month will get harder than it is now, but I’m seeing more clearly of what God has created me to be.
I can see clearly that the only cosmetic I need is to have a heart for Jesus Christ.