Today I participated in a typical pass time, an all to frequent one, the endless scroll through my Facebook feed. All together bored, and too complacent to do something meaningful, I looked to Facebook for entertainment. Next thing I know I’m watching this video titled, “Makeup Fake Sexy Body”.
I found myself sucked into the mastery of this makeup artist’s talent and the insanity of it all, along with millions of other viewers, who’ve liked, shared and commented on this heartbreaking reality. As I watched quite literally appalled, I became more and more heartbroken that this is what young girls and women are preoccupied with – creating illusions and buying into the lie that says, “This is sexy”. In it’s very own title it exposes the fact that it’s fake; therefore, it’s very intent is to deceive, it’s the deceiving of others but more importantly it’s the deceiving of self. In a world of everyday contouring, neck highlights, fake eyelashes and crop tops displaying fake abs, it’s easy to get lost in the world’s standard of beauty, because if Selena Gomez does it, then it must be sexy. Everywhere I look I see women hiding their true selves from the world, tucking their shame, insecurities and their authentic selves behind the masks they so desperately cling to. A flawless contour will never be able to cover up the condition of one’s soul and the more layers one applies, the more difficult it is to be known; which isn’t that every heart’s deepest desire – to be be known fully and to be loved in spite of it?
I haven’t been able to have children yet, but I think about my unborn babies all the time, I dream of who they will become and how I will help them discover their true selves. I think about my future daughter and how she’s going to be watching me, what will I be teaching her without realizing it? What will my son learn from me about true beauty and how to recognize it in his future spouse?
I was a child, my mom took her seat at the vanity to prep for her weekly date night with my dad, and I took my seat at her feet, watching her every move. She began applying her foundation, quickly blending her blush. That shimmery stuff she called eyeshadow I wasn’t supposed to touch went on next, and then came that black stuff in a tube they call mascara. Her mouth moved around in a funny way as she brushed that stuff on and then a nice shade of pink on the lips polished it all off. She frequently ended the ritual with a satisfied, “That’s good enough!” and in 10 minutes or less she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. I remember thinking, ‘If only I could look like that when I grow up’.
Well, I’m all grown up now and have long since mastered the art of applying makeup. I love the stuff, it’s fun to play with and it’s extremely useful on those days where half an eyebrow is just not cutting it. Yet, every time I sit down to do my makeup, I’m often reminded of that little girl watching her mom and I now realize my mom was teaching me something much more valuable than where to apply blush. She taught me the secret to being sexy.
The secret lies in verses 3-5 of 1 Peter chapter 3. “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God…”
Here’s the deal, hair and makeup, clothes and jewelry, they are all super fun and completely ok. I love it all. Where I think we can struggle is when we become “concerned” as 1 Peter says, or preoccupied with them that we neglect what’s most important, which is our inner beauty. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Beauty Fades” but what doesn’t fade is the condition of our soul. That lives on, no matter what. In hindsight, it was the condition of my mom’s soul, the years she attended to her inner beauty that gave her the courage to approach each day with a, “Good enough” to the outside shell. And for the little girl watching, it is a great source of encouragement for when I face the mirror each day.
And as I continue to watch my mom live her life surrendered, putting her trust in God, I have learned that the secret to being sexy isn’t in hiding, it’s in laying down your mask in utter confidence that you will be exposed and in doing so you will surely be known. And in that single act of bravery, daring to believe that you are loved just as you are by the God that sees you, the real you and says, “That’s my girl, I love you.”
And beloved isn’t that the greatest thing of all? To be be known fully and to be loved in spite of it?
So let’s embrace the idea of “Good Enough” and stop clinging to our brushes and contour kits; trading in fake sexy for true beauty. Confidently resting in the grace of the fact that we are loved by our Creator, because somewhere there is a little girl watching.