Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Why What You Look Like Really Matters a Lot

We are late, as usual, and I rush, rush, rush applying concealer beneath my sleep deprived eyes.

She stands there, a tall, gorgeous five, framed by the white painted wood that leads to her bedroom and asks me a brush-stopping question:

"Why are you putting on makeup, mom? You are already beautiful."

Why, indeed. A brilliant, simple, deep question. Why, when we are short on time and I'm rushing up a sweat to leave do I take an extra minute for my appearance?

I smile into her stormy-skied eyes streaked with sapphire blues. Ebony dipped lashes blink up and down a sweet, bronze-highlighted curl.

"I am putting on makeup for the same reason I put on different clothes, so how I look won't be a distraction."

* * * * *

What is appropriate, righteous, beautiful, modest... can be a church splitting question. It can be a family splitting question. That is to say: it can be a painful body-splitting question.

"So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."
~Romans 12:5

And making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit is so important... but what do we do when in faith and honesty and sincerity we can not agree on this issue of what it means to be holy and blameless in our appearance and how we present ourselves to the world and to fellow believers?

I work as a professional makeup artist and hair stylist, and after I have prepared a bride for her ceremony and she looks in the mirror I often hear something like this: "Wow. Thank you! I look beautiful, I wish you could come to my house every morning..."

My response? I smile and look her straight in face "No. YOU are beautiful, I am just putting a frame on the masterpiece."

Am I suggesting women should have a makeup artist and hairstylist everyday? Absolutely not. Am I suggesting women should wear makeup every day? Absolutely not. I also do not suggest putting on a beautiful gown for everyday life. But for the celebration of two becoming one, our earthly picture of Christ and the church, in our time and place, these things are a perfectly acceptable, fitting frame.

And the frame matters. So much.


Because the frame can highlight or subtract from the masterpiece artwork that is the Spirit of Christ in you.

I go without makeup or styling my hair much more often than not. I do not dress up, or even attempt a "put together" look often. I am a stay at home mom most days, and there is no point to spend a few extra minutes on those things for my children who would wrinkle and stain and head-love away all my efforts within the hour.

So what is the point?

To bring glory to God. This is the ultimate goal of my life, and through my appearance is just one other avenue.

And this does not only apply to makeup, hairstyling and clothing. Facial expression is another way-too-often-underestimated way that we communicate the True Beauty within us.

The Deceiver knows how distracting what the eyes see can be. To so many, all they see is the physical world, they are completely unaware that we war against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

So I try to eliminate distraction whenever I can. That means around family or friends who might be distracted by makeup... I wear very little or none at all. By family or friends who would be more distracted by my tiredness or dressing like a bum, I spruce up a little. The goal is to be a frame that displays Christ in me, the Hope of glory. The same frame is not always appropriate in all settings.

I am running a race in this life, trying to run in such a way as the get the prize. Being in strict training requires various attire. Different seasons in life bring necessary changes to this as well.

That means, with my best understanding of God's will and a clear conscience and an active faith, I have become all frames to all people that I might draw some to the Artist.

And this one body of Christ has many members, and the members do not all have the same function. Not all frames were meant to look the same.

God made us each unique, in our particular and very individual clay frames to display different things about His infinitely glorious beauty.

In this time in history, in this location of the world, how can you best eliminate distraction and draw attention to his glorious beauty by being an attractively fitting frame?

And please don't think I'm referring to only the physically young. Antique frames are some of the most beautiful.

And if I want my frame to have great worth in God's sight, I make it my aim to please Him by adorning myself with the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.

I am a frame in progress, inwardly being renewed day by day. Until He transforms my lowly body to be like His glorious one, I pray to be as wise as a serpent, and as innocent as a dove.

Working on wearing the habit of a frame that glorifies God with my sisters from A Holy Experience...


I'm Emilie. said...

I loved this analogy! Using my appearance to reflect my Creator, in whatever way is best in each situation... a good reminder. Thank you!

Connie Mace said...

"So I try to eliminate distraction whenever I can." amen...the frame analogy and intentionally trying to reduce it! GOD breathed words here.

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