I love makeup. Granted, I don’t wear eight layers of purple eyeshadow like some people, but I also rarely leave the house without a few products carefully applied. On my trip to Guatemala I wore makeup every day, despite the fact that I had to share one mirror with 12 people. I would wake up early before everyone else to do my hair and my face and of course noticed all of the reactions of the men. Harvey would smile and tell me it was so nice to see me first thing every morning. He was the polite one. My friend Josh, on the other hand, always felt the need to remind me in a sarcastic tone that we were “in Guatemala, Brooke!”. Eric would just stand behind me shaking his head, totally perplexed at the amount of beauty devices and products strewn all over the floor in front of the sink and the amount of time it took me to complete my morning project. Of course by the end of the day, after hiking through jungles, and getting all sweaty, it wasn’t even clear if I had put makeup on that morning. By then, the heat had caused it to dissolve into my pores. So what was the point, anyway?
I once heard that makeup is a form of “spiritual warfare”. Not totally sure how I feel about that statement but I get where they were coming from. It does make me feel prettier, more confident, more… whatever. But I also wonder if my need for it is just a symptom of this ache in my heart that I am “not enough”. I think a lot of girls feel that way and I think it’s a sad, universal lie from the enemy.
During my internship with Fire in the Night at IHOP, our leaders sat us down and talked to us about our obsession with having to look perfect all the time. Some of us *ahem* would find ourselves wandering to the bathroom during our six hours in the prayer room, making sure our hair wasn’t stuck to the sides of our head or that we didn’t have mascara dribbles clinging to our faces from our crying sessions with Jesus. And maybe a few of us *cough* COMPLETELY retouched our makeup because we just wanted to look pretty. But the truth was, we were distracted by our own appearance. We wanted to be valued and we assumed our physical appearance was going to make that happen.
The truth is, I have pretty good skin. Pale skin that could use a little color every-once-in-awhile, but good, healthy skin. I don’t really need a lot of mascara either, yet I slap it on every morning. I wonder what it would feel like to walk around for an entire day around friends and hot guys and not worry about how pasty my skin is or if my eyes look bright enough. I understand the whole physical attraction thing. We want to look nice and not like a bunch of slobs but honestly, I sometimes wish I would work as hard at what’s going on in my heart as I do with trying to look hot, myself. I think the expectation for some of us girls is that physical beauty is more important by leaps and bounds than having a beautiful heart. That this is the only thing that’s going to get a guys’ attention.
Maybe some guys only care about how gorgeous we are but I think I’ve realized at 33 that I don’t really want a guy that only cares about that. I love Jesus. I’m passionate about Him. I’m funny. I love people. I’m a little feisty but that’s hot too, right? I want a guy who has those kinds of qualities too. Definitely, the most important thing to remember is that our value doesn’t come from what some dude thinks about us. Okay. So maybe it comes from ONE Dude. Yeah, you know His name. I know this is probably something you know in your head but maybe it hasn’t hit your heart yet (I know it hasn’t really hit mine). He values us. He pursues us. He thinks we are beautiful, ladies. I think when we really start believing this and we realize how truly wonderful this is, it becomes a part of us… it can be seen on our faces just like our creamy peach blush. And that kind of beauty is not going to compare to the hours we spend in front of the mirror.
This is where the line is drawn.
He either takes it all or just a piece of me.
He either has my whole heart or just what I am willing to offer.
This is where I stand and refuse to look away from his torn, bloody, broken body beaten with love for me.
This is where I come to terms with my true identity.
I won’t appear a victim or martyr or dirty ugly rotten selfish whore.
This is where I leave my fathers house and come with open heart, satisfying the King’s desire for my beauty.
A couple of years ago I broke up with this guy for several reasons. A) he wasn’t a believer B) I wasn’t all that attracted to him C) our personalities clashed… A) being the most obvious reason I broke up with him.
A few months after, this guy started dating someone else. He began giving her all kinds of attention and I think at first, he was dating her to make me jealous. The result? I DID get jealous. It absolutely ate me alive to see them together all the time. It wasn’t that I even liked him anymore (however much convinced I was that I was still in love with him) it was just that I wasn’t getting showered with attention like I had been before this other girl came along. Previously, he had tried everything in his power to keep us together and now he seemed to be moving on… without me. While this went on I managed to make some rather stupid choices and DID get his attention back a few times just so that my ego could be stroked. It wasn’t a healthy situation and I regret stringing him along immensley. Afterall, I have been in the “other girl’s” shoes before as well and it is a very painful place.
Why are we women like this? Why do we insist on competing over male attention? Why is it such a big deal when we have the focused eye of the creator of the universe upon us? Shouldn’t that fill us with more satisfaction?
Just something I’ve been pondering today…
I have been trying to take it easy since I will be spending a solid two months with a bunch of teenage girls. I am actually super excited about it but as an introvert I gain energy from being by myself… so let’s just say I’ve been trying to build up as much energy as possible.
I spent some time this morning looking at a website called deviantart.com. It’s a site where people can post their art whether it be photography, paintings, writing, etc. They have a postsecret site on there as well. If you don’t know what postsecret is, it’s a place where people send in their secrets using some sort of artistic expression (well usually anyway). Usually it’s kind of funny but sometimes it’s a little disturbing. As I was reading the site on deviantart I noticed that most of the secrets were from women or teenage girls and most of the secrets were things like “why did he pick me instead of her?” or “I know I’m not beautiful enough for him, so why do I still love him?” and even one that said “Every day I pray that I become anorexic”.
All I could think of was if they only knew how loved they were and who loves them. This generation, especially the girls, are so fragile emotionally. All of their identity seems to come from the attention they receive from boys and all their self-work seems to come from if the boy picks them to be with. It’s heartbreaking. Women have been misused by men… abandoned by their fathers… taken advantage of by the media and have been swallowed up in discontent. The only thing they can see that’s tangible is very imperfect male attention (and sometimes female attention). They need Jesus so much.
Just so you know… I in no way blame men for the state that young girls are in. We are all influenced by the enemy to destroy ourselves and each other. I want to do whatever I can to lead these girls to a place of identity as daughters of God. I want to demonstrate to them what a life in love with Jesus can be.
My contacts have disappeared and now I have to wear these stupid glasses that are highly uncomfortable and feel weird sitting on my face. I don’t have the money for new contacts. My car is about to fall apart (it needs a new clutch, new cv axels, new radiator, 3 door handles, working heater, brakes fixed, alternator fixed). I haven’t had a hair cut since September. I’m eating everything in sight because I’ve been so stressed out thus feeling even uglier on top of the already ugly feeling I’m having over wearing these glasses and not having a haircut since September.
I know I am suppose to be here. I am so certain of this that even if my car was stolen (but who… might I ask… would actually steal that thing?), my hair fell out, and I suddenly became blind… I would still remain here because I know God wants me here.
So I guess what I have to figure out is… what is God trying to teach me through this? I can see God slowly loosening my grip on this world, on possessions, on valuing the admiration of men… on my own vanity. I could be like my old roommate from Dallas who instead of succombing to the materialistic atmosphere at her Bible College, decided to dress everyday in sweats and a t-shirt (the girl is awesome, I tell ya). Instead of focusing so much on what is going on outwardly I could instead focus on the things that Jesus values most in me and the things he wants to make beautiful in my life. Instead of being the fragrance of this world, I could be the fragrance of Christ Jesus. Hopefully, in the process of being grounded in my identity and learning these valueable things God will give me a break and give me money for a haircut and contacts but in the meantime I think I am suppose to be taking advantage of this new revelation.