The Curse of Makeup

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.

Something New

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.

The Lure

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!

Be Warned

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!

My Princess Be Valuable

Sweetheart, you need to make a clear distinction between being “beautiful” and “valuable”. I want you to be extremely valuable. Let me tell you why.

God created you to be protected, and as your daddy, it is my responsibility to guide you in paths that will keep you safe, even once you’ve grown into adult life. That’s why I want to explain the difference between being ‘beautiful’ and ‘valuable’.

Women Have Value

God created women to be highly valued. Women have great value and a godly woman is highly prized. The worth of a “virtuous woman” is more than precious jewels (Proverbs 31:10).

The objective of every young woman should be to rise to her highest value. I want you to be so highly valued that everyone recognises that you are among the most special women in the world. It is up to you to create and to maintain that value, so your husband, your children and all you come in contact with will know that you are a rare and most valuable person.

Beauty Cheapens Women

It sounds wrong to say that beauty cheapens women, but it proves to be true for many. Natural beauty, while it is a wonderful thing to have, causes a woman to be looked upon wrongly. A woman can have natural beauty, but also have an evil heart, a cruel tongue, a selfish attitude, an enslaved life and an unhappy future.

Yet if a woman has beauty others will give her credit for having character and worth, even if she does not have them. Lustful men will pay her attentions which will flatter her heart and give her power to manipulate others.

Beauty, on its own makes no guarantee of happiness, success, godly character, fulfilment or true value. That’s why I want you to focus on your value, not your beauty.

Proverbs warns us that “beauty is vain”, which means it does not guarantee anything. It has no lasting value in itself.

“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that fears the LORD, she will be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

Beauty must be a secondary consideration, not a primary focus or distraction.

Character Before Beauty

If a woman has beauty, but not godly character, she will be tempted to become vain about herself, thinking she has value which she does not have. Some women seek to make themselves look alluring to men, as a way to give themselves value. They think that if men look at them or lust after them their value as a woman is confirmed.

King Solomon makes it clear that a beautiful woman who does not have character does not have value, but destroys the potential value she should have developed.

“As a jewel of gold in a pig’s snout so is a beautiful woman with no discretion.” Proverbs 11:22

Ugly Duckling

You will remember from the delightful play, “Ugly Duckling”, by AA Milne, that the princess was thought to be plain to all except the one who was to be her prince. This is a very good situation to be in.

The Princess had been under a spell by a caring godmother, to look plain until her wedding day. This was done because the godmother “didn’t want me to grow up spoilt and wilful and vain, as I should have done if everybody had always been saying how beautiful I was.” “The best thing in the world was be quite sure of yourself, but not to expect admiration from other people.”

By being thought of as the Ugly Duckling, even though she was really quite beautiful, the princess was able to explore life without distracting concerns about her beauty, or of having to deal with shallow attentions from those who only saw her beauty.

The Prince saw both her beauty and the delight of who she was as a person. That’s an ideal situation.

Remember, you will only have one husband. He is the only one who need think of you as beautiful. If everyone else pays you no attention for your beauty you will be spared the process of being cheapened by the cheap self-interested attentions of shallow men.

Find Your Value

Girls who fear that they may not have real value will easily become sidetracked by their attempts to look attractive. They will focus on their external appearance rather than their internal worth.They will compare themselves with other women only in terms of appearance, not in terms of character.I don’t want you to do that. I want you to find your full value and live it to the full.

Find your value by being a woman of God. Be a virtuous woman, for there are too few of them. There are so few of them that all who fit that description gain the highest value.

If you find your heart being drawn away to thoughts of your own beauty or your power to attract  attention from men, then you are in danger of losing your true value.

Be a woman who fears God.

I have more to say about this topic, but I’ll save that until next time.

Note: These “My Princess” posts are for all those young ladies who are preparing for their adult future. I am writing them with my own daughter in mind, so they come from my heart and contain matters that I consider very important. Dads are welcome to use these articles with their own family, and young ladies are welcome to look for them to receive godly counsel they might not find elsewhere.