I officially packed away my make up on July 14. That means I have now gone over two whole months without a drop of it on my face. In part one I explained why I chose to create this challenge for myself, but now I’m excited to tell you about how it has impacted my face, & more importantly, my heart.
The most obvious change (& perk) in the past two months is how getting ready is a breeze now. I throw on an outfit (which has become much easier with a new tactic of mine. I’ll be sharing about this in the days to come), brush my teeth, and I’m good to go. If we’re doing something worthy of a nicer hair-do other than my natural long locks or a bun, then I plan for it. I’ve had no frustration. No feelings of defeat. No icky moods. It’s basic. It’s easy. It’s freeing. & it’s amazing how quickly I can be ready to head out the door. Talk about minimal living!
This next change may be all in my head, but I feel as if my face has brightened up. Now this could be from the glow of the California sun, but I’ll get real honest here & confess to you the disappointing fact that I have failed miserably at my goal of getting the most tan I’ve ever been while being in California. I’m not much more tan than I was when I came out here (that’s embarrassing). So honestly, I don’t think that’s it. Without my make up it seems like dark circles under my eyes are a thing of the past. Or, if I do have them, I’m not as attentive to them anymore. I feel fresh. I feel bright.
Another simple change that I anticipated was that I don’t have to be concerned about my make up smearing or wearing off throughout the day because I don’t have any on to begin with. There are no surprises when I look myself in the mirror (except maybe the constant wonder at how eyebrow hairs grow in so fast that they seem to appear out of nowhere – surely I can’t be the only one who ponders over this). When I do look in the mirror, I see my face. Not the make up. Not the cover up. Not the worn off eyeliner. But the real deal. The beauty that the Lord made in me in all its natural goodness. & as a response I shout out a little “Thanks God” in my head. Because he has shown me so much grace over the years in this small part of my life, and I’m finally embracing what it is that he calls beautiful all on its own.
I did still reach an ultimate test on this matter – because what’s a challenge if it’s not at all challenging. That test came in the disguise of the inevitable, occasional zit (oh the horror!). The mornings I’ve woken up with a pesky pimple forming on my chin have been the mornings that I briefly considered reaching for my foundation. Alas, I did not. & ya know what, I got over it (after a couple statements to the hubs that sounded suspiciously like complaints. Whoops!). Yes, I’d still be a little self conscious about the one spot on my face & look at it in the mirror periodically throughout the day, but the truth of that matter is, it goes away. Even if I did cover up that unwelcome nuisance with make up I would still be worried about it just as much. & since I wasn’t adding any additional oil or product to my face it likely cleared up much faster. I call that a win.
But let’s get down to the heart of the matter. Throughout this process I’ve had quite a few people tell me that I don’t look too different without make up. & the truth is, I don’t. I, as my own worst critic, obviously notice the minute differences, but other people don’t see too much change since I didn’t wear that much to begin with. Some people have told me “you’re one of those people that doesn’t need make up. You’re naturally beautiful without it”. & to those people I first say another heartfelt thank you for your kind, flattering, encouraging words. But the concern that rose within me was that every time it was spoken to me it came with a tone of exclusion. Like these people we’re saying this about me, but not believing it about themselves. & to that I say, “rubbish.” I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again: I did NOT do this to draw attention to myself. I did this so that I could realize & begin to firmly believe that my natural beauty is more than enough. & that all women (& even men too – we’re not excluding you fellas) are made stunningly. That each & every one of us is beautiful, because God says so & because He made us to be so. When you’re looking to the world’s standards or definitions, you can lose yourself. You can feel like you don’t fit or measure up. But I’m here to say & continue saying that the world is WRONG. Who are “they” to say that God’s creation isn’t good enough? Who are “they” to try & change what God already made to be lovely? What “they” have to say is rubbish, I tell you! Embrace these truths. Believe them about yourself. Don’t waste anymore time believing the lies. You. Are. Beautiful.
This has been an even better experience than I ever anticipated it to be, especially considering no make up month has turned into no-make-up-two-months-so-far (although that doesn’t have as nice of a ring to it). I’ve experienced God’s grace & love abound in my heart. It’s made more of an impact on my life than I even intended. Probably because it was not simply about accomplishing a challenge. It was not about doing it just to do it. It has been much more than that. It’s come from something that has been rooted deep in my soul. It’s been motivated by the desire to shove away my temptations & run toward Jesus. So it hasn’t been just a month long challenge for me. It’s been a heart matter. It’s been a lifestyle change. & It has been incredibly reassuring & affirming to feel so broken off from the feeling that I need make up to go anywhere. I’m filled with hope in Jesus for the road that I am on.