Monday, July 14, 2008

Susan's Musin's: Journey Into Modesty - Breaking Up (with make-up) is Hard to Do

In the eyes of mainstream society and in my mind I wasn't one of those "natural" beauties growing up who didn't have to wear make-up to be attractive. In fact, I never had the courage to try this, but I would bet that if a woman who normally wears make-up to work didn't wear it one day, her co-workers would ask if she wasn't feeling well or if she was sick. Make-up is so ingrained in a girl's thinking and identity from the time she is very little, I never even considered that not wearing make-up was an acceptable option.

I wasn't a make-up fanatic growing up but generally did not leave the house without wearing the basics (foundation, cover-up, mascara, blush, eye liner and lipstick). I had a lot of acne in my teen years and even into my 30's, so I felt I "had" to wear cover-up on my complexion to feel comfortable in public. I also felt I had invisible eyes and "had" to have eye liner and mascara on, if nothing else.

When learning about modesty (see previous post) from the Bible (1 Timothy 2:9-10 - "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works"), I suddenly felt pretty silly to be wearing such simple clothing and then to be made up in the face. It was contradictory to what I had learned about modesty in general. I was sending very mixed signals, saying, "Hey, don't look at me......but do look at me!" So I started toning down the make-up, losing the foundation, and wearing more muted lipstick. Then I would only wear it when I went to town or when Dave and I would go out to dinner, etc.; and also when we visited family. Then I only wore a little bit of mascara, the last holdout, to make me feel less washed out looking and feeling "attractive." Finally, Dave asked me, "Who are you wearing that for?" I hemmed and hawwed, "Um, well, so I can look better when I'm seen with you in public." He said "Well, please don't feel you need to do it for me; I like you better with no make-up". To be honest, I cringed when he said that because deep down I knew I was clinging to wearing it for ME because I still wanted to look attractive to the world. I thought "Are you KIDDING me?!" How can you stand to be seen with a woman who looks so simple and plain?!" (Ugly was more the word I was thinking). "Don't you know all guys want to be seen with a woman who looks her best and wears make-up?!" And speaking of ugly, I had just uncovered the ugly truth that I had let a good portion of my identity and self worth be overtaken by how I looked in make-up. The identity to which I had become accustomed had been taken away. But then God graciously reminded me that I as a Christian woman am supposed to point people to Christ through my obedience to God's Word, not look attractive so God's Word will be attractive. I had to repeat over and over again, and still do, "Modesty, modesty, modesty, it's not about me, it's not about me, it's not about me....." Good grief, the flesh dies hard.

Over time though, it is becoming more and more a feeling of freedom not having to be reliant on and in bondage (of sorts) to make-up. And the natural beauty of the women here in our little neighborhood community really comes out in each smile and glow of their faces as they have replaced make-up with the true joy of the Lord, living in obedience to Him. I realize some of you may have rolled your eyes just then, but it's true.

The journey into modesty is really an inside/outside package deal that covers every aspect of who I am. And I haven't even written on the biggest issues yet! But I'm so thankful to God for even taking the time to reveal and teach me these things. One thing I have also learned is that understanding the principle behind something God has instructed in the Bible is KEY! I asked myself at the beginning of this journey, "Why does God require this modesty 'stuff'"? As we know, nothing in the Bible is there without purpose. I believe God requires modesty in all areas of the lives of Christian women because the flesh IS so strong and also as a constant reminder to us AND the heavenly realms that we are part of God's kingdom and not part of the world's kingdom, and we are to be different than the world and set apart to be known as God's children. It's really for our own good and to glorify God, which in reality is what it is all about (which is that underlying principle concept I just mentioned).

Susan

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised

Amen .. when we come to see HIS beauty and how meaningless the flesh is then all the rest fades. He must increase, but I must decrease.

I like it better these days . Somehow it feels freeing , not conforming to the world . I like not being Jezebel anymore, such weariness the other way.

Thank you for the wonderful CD. We got in late and I stayed up all night watching it!Wonderful meeting you all and I pray the Lord brings us to Texas soon.

Still trying to get on the BA forum, but for some reason I never get any answer back when I register. I wonder if something is blocking the site because I tried it on internet explorer too as well as aol under the user name susanpatricia.

anyway my email is untoanemeraldlll@aol.com
Blessings,
susan marcic

Lorie said...

Thank you for sharing this. It really ministered to me today. I was recently told by a lady in our fellowship that I need to dress more fashionably so that I don't cause younger women to think poorly of Christianity. Your post has encouraged me to stand for what I know is right.

I look forward to more of your "musins." :)

Ante Family Agrarians said...

Susan,
Great post, thanks for sharing!
My break up with mascara was really the hardest too, but the relationship just wasn't meant to be! LOL!
Blessings, Kris

David & Susan Sifford said...

Susan,

Thank you for your very insightful comments. It really encourages me to hear from like-minded women who have gone or are going through the same things. I'm so glad you enjoyed the CD! I'll mention your BA registration issue to Dave and see if he has any insight. We look forward to seeing y'all again soon!

Lorie,

I'm so thankful to God He has used this blog to encourage you. I will pray for God to continue to guide, protect and direct your path. Thanks so much for reading!

Kris,

Thanks very much for your comment. Yes, mascara must have a secret ingredient that immediately makes you an addict. They should have MA (Mascara Anonymous) meetings (LOL). Thanks for your encouragement. :)

Susan

Anonymous said...

Okay, Okay , Okay I am guilty! This is one area I still struggle with. With blonde hair it looks like I have no eye brows or eye lashes. I struggle! I think it is hard for me to let go of this as growing up my brothers were very mean and made me to feel quite ugly. Even when I got older I had an encounter with my older brother, when he saw me without mascara he told me I looked scary. I can laugh about it know but it all effected me. Its funny I have gone without wearing it and really know one noticed. sigh... okay I can do this. God has strengthened me in many many other areas he can do it here to. I mean I only were a light brown, almost nothing. Had to wean myself off the black and then keep going lighter... this sounds absolutly silly lol. Thankyou Susan for this post. It has pushed me over, convicted me, made me sound quite silly. Mascara anonymous sounds good to me.
Debbie (Debylin)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post Susan and for sharing your struggles in this area, and your victory over it with Christ's help!

Have been down this same road of "breaking up with makeup", but am now finding, after not wearing any for a few years, that getting ready to go somewhere with my husband, for example, is so much faster with a dress, hair up in a pony tail or bun with a scarf and no makeup! And I'm usually still the most "dressed up" looking woman in the store or restaurant just because I'm wearing the modest dress and my hair is neat and covered.
Never wore makeup growing up either, not until "college" did I feel the need/push; but still only wore mascara for years. Even at my wedding at age 26 all I was wearing for makeup was mascara and maybe some lipgloss. Then got into foundation, lipstick, sometimes eye-liner etc. for maybe 10 years or so.
The old paths are definitely the best in this category too! Praise God for modesty and what it teaches us.

Beth

Manette said...

Susan,
Thank you for this post. I've been struggling with the same issues. Looks like I'm not the only one. Isn't it interesting to see how we are all so molded by advertising and the media as we grow up?

On another note, I too have tried to join the ladies forum on BA, but after three requests I gave up. I thought that maybe it was just for your community in Texas.

David & Susan Sifford said...

Thank you Debbie, Beth and Manette very much for your comments. I'm so thankful God is helping us to encourage and support each other in reforming to His ways. May God give us all strength and courage to persevere and live our lives holy and pleasing to Him.

Susan

Danielle said...

Well said Susan! I did go to work a few times without make up and everyone thought I was not feeling well or thought I got up late and was rushing to get to work on time. Nope, my love/hate relationship with make up was just beginning as the Lord was working with me in all areas(like me quitting my job to be at home for Michael and the children).

This journey into the Lord's ways is so full of simple truths and simple joys! Thank you for taking the time to put these into words! Danielle

David & Susan Sifford said...

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, Danielle! It is very encouraging to me to know we're all in this together on our pilgrim path.

Anonymous said...

David & Susan

I really like reading your blog and the pictures that you post, as you move along in your process getting off grid, keep up the good work, you both show and explain very well.

Pat

Anonymous said...

David & Susan

Sorry I meant to put the post on July 20,update, first time I used the blogger and the message went through.

Pat

kelly_sustaire said...

Thank you Susan for another "Musin'"
(I really enjoyed the modesty post too, but I don't think I remembered to comment.)
I wasn't "addicted" but I did go through the same struggles in ditching cover-up for my frequent breakouts.
I remember Kelly "caught" me a couple of times saying, "Hey! I can smell makeup, are you wearing makeup?" because he could smell that faint baby/flowery scent most of it has.

You shine as a great example of a godly woman! (A "natural" beauty!)

-Carol

Anonymous said...

Susan,

Thank you for another Musin' that most of us have struggled with.

I remember taking/wasting at least 30 minutes to apply make-up, then asking, "Do I look like I have make-up on?" Well, DUH! Yep, wanted to look 'en naturale' (sp)
Strange feeling the first time I didn't wear make-up, I felt naked!
LOL, I believe that is really being en naturale'.

Thank you so much for sharing your musin' with us. I really appreciate it.

God Bless,
ElaineK