Looking at the clock on my nightstand, I decided to stay in bed just a little longer to mentally plan out my day and build up some energy. After two restless nights with little sleep, I knew I’d be needing it. Then the doorbell rang. You know that moment of confusion and panic. In an instant all of the thoughts in my mind seemed to scramble in a million different directions. Only one thing I knew for sure, this morning’s plans just flew out the window.
Though still semi-groggy I quickly recognized the voice on the other end of the intercom as E*, a sweet lady I’ve recently gotten to know much better. She asked me to come down because she wanted to take me somewhere. *Cue more confusion and panic.* My thoughts at the time included, “Yikes! I’m still in my pajamas! Where does she want to go? I look like a train wreck! Do I need to look nice for this? Man, I really need a shower before I go anywhere. That’s so precious of her to think of me!” Contrary to my thoughts, my words at the time were, “Wait just a second.”
I got dressed and out the door in 2 or 3 minutes – definitely a record for me. When I got downstairs she said there was a cosmetics demonstration in town and asked if I wanted to join her. What harm can come from listening to someone talk about make-up for a bit? Plus, it seemed like a good chance to bond more with E*. As we walked to town, I laughed to myself at what the lady giving the presentation would think if she saw me… remember, I got ready in about 2 minutes. I looked anything but fashionable and well put together.
As we arrived at the destination I quickly realized this was not the type of presentation I expected. I imagined a big group of ladies sitting in rows listening to a woman speak at the front of the group… and possibly a table with a few cosmetic samples and displays. Perhaps some “lucky” member of the audience would get a free demonstration. What I found instead was a very small group of women and each one was receiving personal attention. Oh boy. I still thought I could sideline myself and just watch. No such luck. “Carissa, it’s your turn!” If only those words had come from E* I might have politely declined. But, no, they came from the head honcho herself. I swallowed my pride and moved to the firing seat. The lady doing the demonstration began asking me questions about my skin. Is my skin elasticity normal? How much am I in the sun? Do I burn easily? Do I have any problems? Let’s see, I think my elasticity is normal. I avoid the sun like the Plague (ok, maybe not my exact words, but close), and yes, I burn very easily. As far as problems go, not really. Overall, I’m happy with my skin.
Here’s where things took a little turn. After each response she smiled and nodded. When I said I was happy overall with my skin. She excitedly said, “Yes, you have good skin! You should be very happy!” Woohoo! Maybe this won’t be as bad as I thought! She asked what facial products I use daily and I said none. *Cue look of shock and terror*
Then she pulled out the probes. Yes, probes. After a few minutes of touching random places on my face she informed me I had dry cheeks and an oily forehead and chin. She called it “combination skin.” She went on to tell me that these are a “big concern” and gave me some samples to try along with a catalog in case I decide to purchase the full-size products. Ummm… really? I found the situation rather comical. Don’t get me wrong, I know very well that my complexion is not perfect. I just thought it amusing that even she considered my skin just fine until the computer told her she should think otherwise.
Then it hit me… this marketing circus that strives to destroy our confidence and self-esteem. They tell us we have a problem… that we won’t be truly happy until it’s corrected. The next phase is reassurance. They “come to our rescue” offering just the solution. We just need to buy this or that… or, more often than not, this AND that. With their product(s) all will once again be right with the world. Psh. These people make millions by preying on the insecurities of women.
What a huge contrast to the Gospel! Christ says, “Yes, I know you’re not perfect, but I love you just as you are. I will make you beautiful, not with make-up and creams, but with my FREE love and grace. My Spirit will dwell in you and My joy will radiate from you. Your confidence will be in Me, and I am unchanging so your confidence will be unshaken. My love is not based on your works, your appearance, or your emotions. It flows from My character, which remains constant. Humanity focuses on the outward appearance, but I know that external beauty is fleeting. Adorn yourself, My beloved, with the imperishable beauty that flows from the fruit of My Spirit within you – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.”
It burdens my heart to think of the masses of women (and men) turning to products… to material possessions… to improved appearance… to relationships… to anything and everything but Christ – the only place where true contentment can be found. It saddens and angers me to think of the companies who profit from others’ misery and even intentionally bash others’ self-esteem just to make a buck.
Insecurity has been an ongoing struggle for me most of my life. Though I know the Truth, too often I allow myself to be taken by these marketing schemes. I join the comparison game and find myself needing to be prettier, smarter, skinnier, etc. I forget to take every thought captive to see if it aligns with Scripture. I get caught up in worldly thinking. I focus on everyone around me and on what the world says I need in order to be happy or to have value in society. I forget that my worth is already established with the only One who matters. I forget that He loves me more than I will ever fully understand and that NOTHING will change that. I forget that He values me enough to die for me… to suffer agonizing torture on my behalf. I forget His promise that one day I will stand before Him without blemish… a claim no beauty product can make.
Today one of the ladies receiving a makeover commented that she might get in trouble because of it. She jokingly said she feared her husband would want her to look like that every day. I laughed at the time, but now my thoughts are a little different. I pray her husband tells her she looks beautiful with her make-up, but that he also tells her he loves her just as much without it.
Dear women of the world, you are BEAUTIFUL. You are LOVED. You are TREASURED. And it has nothing to do with you, it has everything to do with Him – which is a good thing for us because He is steadfast. You are His creation created in His image for His glory. We must turn to the Lord to find true victory in our battle with insecurity.
“For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things.” ~ Psalm 107:9
*NOTE: This is not meant to be a jab at people who sell beauty products. It is meant to remind people of their true worth and beauty.