I took my two youngest children to the city today for a Recce (reconnaissance orientation) and a relaxing time together. For those who know Melbourne I have a list of things to see at the end of this article.
I surprised my nearly 15 year old daughter as we walked through a department store, suggesting that she allow one of the beauticians to show her their range of makeup. It was a surprise because it was spontaneous and unexpected, but also because I don’t encourage makeup.
After a few moments of embarrassment, Sophia yielded to the lady’s request and sat for a demonstration and to have various cosmetics applied to her face. The beautician recognised that a youthful face is best left to its natural glow, but a tinted moisturiser would help cover the breakouts (that was her politically correct term for acne and pimples).
So Sophia endured the exfoliation, moisturiser, eye shadow, lip gloss and whatever they call that stuff you put on your cheeks for highlight (is it rouge?). About an hour later there was little of the makeup left, as Sophia ate a souvlaki, scratched her skin and splashed water onto her face. Having a high fashion face must make life very difficult for people.
I explained to Sophia that, while I do not encourage her to use makeup, I want her to be comfortable with it and to know how to use it if and when she chooses to. She has used stage makeup before, but the idea of “putting on a face” for vanity is not something she has been concerned about.
New things are strange to us for the first few times, but we soon become comfortable with what was once strange. Such things as wearing a tie, dressing up in a tuxedo, walking in high heels, or using roller blades can be quite uncomfortable and challenging until we get used to it.
So I want Sophia to be comfortable with those things that women need to have recourse to from time to time. And today “makeup” was the matter in hand.
So that brings me to a quick explanation about the Curse of Makeup. I trust that these thoughts can be a caution for all those young ladies who think it might be exciting to enhance their natural beauty.
The Beauty Issue
It seems natural for girls and women to desire to be beautiful. The Cinderella princess fantasy is one that the West promotes and which girls take a liking to. The inherent desire to be loved leads many women to assume that if they are beautiful and attract men’s attention they will be much more likely to be happy in love.
That’s why you will observe some chap walking down the street in grungy clothes, looking like a slob who couldn’t care less about how he looks, and yet his girlfriend or wife beside him will be dressed sharp, trim, neat and as attractive as she can. The miss-match can be laughable at times. If she really did value carefully manicured beauty you would think she would demand some level of care from him as well.
But what is at stake in the mind of the woman is her need to be beautiful, to ensure that she keeps “him”. He does not need to attract her eye. She is in the place of insecurity, not him. She must perform to his expectations, not him to hers.
So it is easy for a woman to fall into the curse of feeling that she has to rise to high standards of beauty, fashion and attractiveness.
When a girl or woman thinks she needs to prove herself by attracting the attention of men, she will take care to make herself attractive to others. While she may not realise it, the more she makes herself attractive in human terms, by fashion, makeup, flirtatious behaviour, or the like, the more she lures the lustful interests of men.
I notice that many women dress shamefully, as if their intention was to have men look at them lustfully. I assume that some if not many of those women don’t realise how their appearance cheapens them. They appear to be immoral, loose women, who wish to be ranked for their sex appeal, rather than valued as a person to be respected.
Insecurity at Heart
The Bible advises that the most wonderful beauty any woman has is the beauty of a heart that is free and confident in God. If the “hidden man of the heart” (see 1Peter 3:1-6) is full of joy, confidence, security and faith, then the countenance will glow with a radiance from within.
However, if a woman is insecure, fearful, ashamed, anxious, hurting, selfish or the like, the hidden man of her heart will not be able to radiate from within her. That woman will very likely rely heavily on painting herself to mask the dullness of her own spirit.
And if a woman has immoral attitudes, disrespect for her personal value, sensual desires and cheap values, then she will also fail to have an inner beauty which will make her stand out as a woman to be valued and prized.
The more insecure a person is, the more they will use props and excuses in their life. Insecure people hide, cover up, deceive, avoid revealing the truth about themselves, and so on. And that has direct connection to the way a woman deals with makeup.
The Cover Up
When a woman feels the need to cover up her natural appearance, either because she believes it needs to be enhanced to make her more beautiful, or because she feels she needs to make men look at her, she has become trapped in a snare.
Makeup for such a woman is not something she can use as and when she wishes. Instead, makeup becomes a vital part of who she is. She is no longer complete without makeup.
Once a woman uses makeup as a prop she will never be free from it. She will fear that she will not be properly appreciated without it. And that’s where the slavery takes over.
Put Your Face On
Let me repeat an incident a friend told me about many years ago. One day he had to visit a client near his family home. He decided to call in unexpectedly for morning tea with his mum. But when he went to the door and knocked she made him wait on the step for about ten minutes.
When his mum finally let him in she was still dressed in her dressing gown. He asked her why she didn’t just let him straight in. Her reply shocked him.
She said, “I couldn’t let you see me until I had put my face on,”
He had never realised how insecure his mum was. He was her own son. If she could be relaxed and natural with anyone, surely it would be with him. Yet she would not let him see her without makeup.
Now, that’s Slavery!
Girls, I know that you want to be beautiful. I don’t begrudge you that aspiration. And I know that many of you are insecure about whether you will really be beautiful enough and stay beautiful enough to catch and keep the attentions of some young man who will make you happy.
But if you carry insecurity and look to fashion and makeup to help you, there is a grave risk of you losing the joy of just being you. God already made you beautiful, and he put your loveliest beauty in your heart, not on your face.
Let the joy of your heart, your fascination for life, your heart to serve and bless others, and your confidence in God shine through. Let you heart be filled with the love of God, being His love for you and your compassion for others.
When you do that, you don’t need makeup and high fashion. You don’t need to lure men to look at you. After all, you only need that one man to commit himself to you. There’s no reason why any other man should be looking at you too. That will only lead to moral challenges that you don’t need in your life.
Free to be Me
I want you to tell me that you’re “Free to be Me!” God did not make a mistake when He fashioned you. You don’t need a plastic mask. Just enjoy being you.
Now, enjoy nice clothes and play with your hair, and even throw a bit of colour on your face from time to time. But never become enslaved to those things. Make sure you are not depending on them.
If you can do that, then you have a lifetime of enjoyment and freedom to explore.
I pray that the Lord grant you His grace to live in the glorious liberty (freedom) which He created you for.
Recce in Melbourne
Now, for those who may want to scout around Melbourne…
The early sailing ships in Port Phillip Bay needed a landmark to find the tiny settlement. A flag was raised on the highest hill, which is now named Flagstaff Gardens. The Paris end of Collins Street displays European décor on the buildings and the Sofitel Hotel has a great view from the restaurant level – from the toilets. We take our Kiwi and UK friends there for a birds-eye view of the MCG. In the basement of the Rialto Building the original flagstones were preserved, showing where the steel rimmed wheels gouged their track. The old Shot Tower at Melbourne Central shows how lead pellets were formed in olden days. The military museum under the Cenotaph is worth a look. Melbourne Town Hall was jam packed with men over 100 years ago when a prayer revival was at its peak, spreading from here to the world and feeding into the Welsh Revival. There’s Parliament house, Docklands, Southbank, The Museum, Exhibition Building, Melbourne Gallery, Bourke Street Mall, the Free City Circle Tram, the underground trains, Flinders Street Station, the Yarra River, and more. Enjoy!