"…and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy,
how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be."
1 Nephi 13:37
The resistant thoughts were exploding from every corner in my mind and I was quickly regretting that I had even asked.
I had heard that God will tell you specifically what you can do to improve if you ask Him. So I asked Him. And then I wish I hadn’t asked Him.
God wanted me to give up makeup. For the whole week. And not just for any whole week, God wanted me to give up makeup for THIS week. THIS week when I have a big BBQ to host at my house with speakers, authors, and musicians. THIS week when I have two major speaking invitations in large venues, one of which would magnify me on multiple screens as I spoke.
No. I wouldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it.
I immediately stopped praying. I didn’t want to talk to God if that was the kind of thing He’s going to tell me to do. In fact, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t God it all. I was very tired. I’m sure I made that up. God would never tell me to do something so hard.
Right. God knows I am a full-makeup-kind-of-girl. He knows it’s the first thing I put on and the last thing I take off every day. Every single day. Even on days where I go nowhere and see no one I have on layers of makeup with base, blush, liners, shadows, and eyelashes. I love it.
I’ve always been this way. Ever since I was in junior high school, I’ve had a fascination with makeup. I just really like it. The very first thing I learned how to do with my paralyzed hands was, wait for iiiit… makeup. To put that into perspective, the second thing I learned how to do was eat.
We all have our priorities.
And there was no way I could go without it. Not this week. Not this time. Not ever.
I tried to listen again… I wanted to hear what God wanted to tell me to do to improve, I just didn’t want him to tell me not to wear makeup. So I half listened. But I heard nothing else.
As I went through the rest of church and then all the way through that Sunday with no other direction, I decided that if God was going to tell me not to wear makeup, I had just better do it. I would rather be faithful than comfortable.
Well, mostly faithfully. The week started out on Monday with the BBQ at my house. Authors and musicians started showing up and I didn’t dare face them with just my face – I had to have something on! So I wore mascara. I didn’t wear Foundation to smooth the blotchy skin, I didn’t wear blush to add a glow, but I didn’t dare go naked. I just couldn’t. Maybe God would understand…
But I didn’t have the feeling of approval I was looking for. When it comes to doing what God says, “close enough” is not enough. On Tuesday morning as I sat in front of my mirror with my open mascara in my hands, I knew that I needed to be braver. I looked at my naked face and told myself I might not be able to do this, but I will anyway. I closed the mascara and left the bathroom.
I saw no one and went nowhere on Tuesday. It was just me and my family who loves me anyway, though they rarely see me without makeup. It was uncomfortable, but not too hard.
…not nearly as hard as Wednesday. I sat for almost an hour in front of my mirror at my makeup table as I considered speaking that day with no makeup on. Did I dare go without makeup? No. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t be on a stage in front of a bunch of people and not have on any makeup. Surely God didn’t expect me to go onto a stage without makeup! I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t.
I fought it really hard, but in the end I decided that I really really really would rather be faithful than comfortable. So I did it. I went without makeup. On the stage, in the lights, with everyone looking at me – I did it. It was just me. Just me and the face that God gave me.
As I spoke for the first time with my real face, I remembered hearing a speaker say that God thinks we are pretty and if we didn’t already know that, we could ask Him. So I asked Him. And I heard these words: How beautiful are they who publish peace. At that moment, as I shared my thoughts and myself from the stage, I knew that God thought I was beautiful. And I felt beautiful.
On Thursday I looked at my bare face in the mirror for a long time and the thought came to me that, really, my regular face doesn’t look a lot different than my makeup face. I smiled. This was me, the real me.
On Saturday I was feeling much more confident with my God-given face. I only hesitated a moment as I got ready to speak again, this time for a much larger audience – one of the biggest audiences I address all year. My face – my naked face – would be magnified on two massive side screens. Would I choose to finish the week and do it without makeup? Yes. I would. And better yet, I could.
I wore nice clothes, I wore a nice necklace, and I wore my nice, naked face as I told the audience about true beauty and real confidence. Something that, up until this week, I knew very little about.
As a culture, we wear a lot of layers – clothes, hair accessories, and yes, makeup – all in an effort to blend more smoothly into the current norm. And this is not a message with any attempt to change that. But what’s “beautiful” in our society changes as quickly as the seasons and we should ask ourselves: do we layer because we want to or is it because we need to?
There are not a lot of things that we need to do in this life, but feeling beautiful is one of them. Layers of makeup and clothes can help and they’re fun, but they don’t compare to the approval we get from God when we peel off the feelings of I can’t and make His will our will.
And it’s then we’ll discover a beauty no layer can cover.
Keep on Rollin’