I laugh sometimes at how long it takes for me to get dressed in the morning. Especially doing my hair. I guess I have always been a hair person. While it has taken over a year, I have mastered flat ironing the once very natural puff that used to reside on my scalp. I can do it with my eyes closed…literally. You see, while I was always a “stylist” at heart, I was not too fond of looking at my face in the mirror. It never bothered me that growing up, my junior sister would spend at least 2 hours to get her hair and makeup just right–as long as I could use the toilet, shower, and brush my teeth, I was good.
There was one time, however, where she took a little longer than usual and I had to go someplace semi-important with my father. I grabbed a couple lip glosses and whatever other beauty items were laying around the house. Me and my dad plopped in the Toyota van, and I just started randomly applying stuff on my face. As my dad sat in the driver’s seat, he looked to his right, staring at me struggling to put on mascara and sloppily missing my lips with the lip liner. His gaze made me rush even more! I was embarrassed to be applying makeup in front of my father, for some reason. I was waiting for him to say What do you need that for? or You young girls are trying to be too grown. Instead, my father, in a frustrated sigh, pulled down the passenger visor, and in his thick Nigerian-King’s English accent, simply said “Ify, girl, drop the mirror down! Why apply if you do not know what it will look like?”
Just like in the natural, sometimes we are uncomfortable with our spiritual image. The thought of being wonderfully created is not always an easy concept to grasp. Many times, I have jumped at the opportunity to apply God’s Word without first facing myself. So eager to change my right now, I ask God for a general makeover, when what I really need is professional surgery. Why is so scary to face who we are right now?
- Fear of viewing distorted image: I had to learn that every scar, mark, and bruise did not mean I was disfigured, dysfunctional or damaged. The same applies to my spiritual walk. The Bible says we are all born into sin (Romans 5:12-21), meaning that technically, all of us are branded with some type of unattractive trait or disposition. Some people use this verse as justification to not being able to change certain things about themselves (how many times have you heard the phrase “I can’t help it! That’s just the way I am!”). But the beautiful thing about a relationship with Jesus is that He aligns our sinful nature with the original image of man. (1 Corinthians 15:21-22). He came so that there would be no confusion that we are to live abundantly through Him. So never be afraid of your image’s current state–face it.
- Fear of enhancements: No, I am not advocating for a nose job (or any other job for that matter). Part of my resistance to makeup as a child was two-fold: 1) I was a tom-boy and while I didn’t mind a little gloss here and there, it was not practical to the sporting activities that I participated in; and 2) I had far too many classmates that just had way too much makeup on, making them look 30, instead of 13. But I also feared the difference in my appearance after a makeover. I wondered Well, how would I look? And if I look better, does that mean I have to look like that all the time? I was really more afraid of the improvements, the maintenance, and the expectations. See, when people see you “fancy” one day, they expect that same fanciness all the time. You are held to a different standard and expected to maintain that image. I mean, really, think about it. Do you really want to see Beyonce without her blond hair? Or Little Wayne with a Caesar? So who would want to see a Christian who doesn’t know their Word? Who can’t pray for others? Who quits when adversity arises? God has equipped us with many tools to enhance our daily walk (Ephesians 6:10-17; click here for more on “Armor of God”). But they do not magically fall on us–we must put them on. And as Ambassadors for Christ, we must properly wear our spiritual markings consistently, so as not to tarnish our witness. But we must also recognize that we should not be afraid to fail. It is when we are weak, that Jesus is even stronger (2 Corinthians 12:10), and not fearing the many tools He provided is essential to knowing not only our true image–but His as well.
- Fear of the glances: Have you ever seen a woman with extremely long fake lashes? I have to admit, sometimes I stare, wondering what would happen if that lash ever shifted and fell off (like that episode of Cosby Show where Rudy and her friends got all “glammed-up” to go to a club, and her friend’s eyelash was resting on her cheek…ok, I digress). Well, that used to be my fear. My fear was that in my pursuit of being closer to Christ, people were waiting for me to fail. But the answer was not to remove myself from crowds or to completely forget God’s standards and follow the crowd so I wouldn’t be noticed. It was recognizing that Jesus MUST be working on me BECAUSE people WERE noticing! The Bible says that we are a peculiar people, strangers to this land (1 Peter 2:9), and the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). Jesus himself said that people don’t light a lamp to then hide it under a bowl! Matthew 5:13-16. The light in your spirit–your new makeup–is not meant to be a secret, but a sign…a testament to the world that THIS child is one of God’s! So let them stare! Because if they aren’t staring…something is wrong.
Keep your spiritual lip gloss poppin’!