The year I gave up makeup for Lent
A few years ago I was on a flight from Connecticut to Nashville. I was reading a book for Christian young women that spoke about young men’s thoughts regarding topics such as respect, appearance, and insecurity. The section about appearance really spoke to me. The guys were talking about how attractive it was when girls were confident in their beauty. I couldn’t tell you what was said exactly, but I can tell you how it impacted me. God even works on Southwest flights because it was there that I had somewhat of a revelation.
At that point in my life I was wearing a good bit of makeup. I’m talking the wrong color of liquid foundation and a good bit of black liquid eyeliner on a daily basis kind of makeup! I realized just how attached I was to wearing makeup. I was so attached that I literally could not leave in the morning without putting something on my face. More than that, if I wasn’t wearing makeup, I didn’t feel beautiful! This realization completely caught me off guard and it really didn’t sit well with me. How could I not feel beautiful without wearing makeup? I knew something had to change.
Since Lent was coming up, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give up wearing makeup for a while. Now this is where I think Lent can get a bad reputation.
“The season is about more than just going without. It is about making the necessary changes to grow closer to the Lord and grow in holiness. To put it simply ladies, I gave up makeup for Lent.
I won’t sugar coat this…the first weeks were extremely challenging. I had to fight hard every day to believe what I knew to be true—that the Lord believes I am beautiful and therefore I am beautiful. It is not the clothes we wear, how many compliments we receive, or how clear our skin is that determines whether we are beautiful or not. Beauty comes from the Lord saying “you are altogether beautiful my love. There is no flaw within you.”
Somewhere around the middle of Lent, I crossed a threshold. I found that I no longer needed to fight so hard to believe I was beautiful. Not wearing makeup was becoming normal and more than that, I began to like what I saw in the mirror! The Lord was healing something that was broken inside of me. He was helping me to see not as man sees, but as He sees. By the end of the season I had learned an important lesson. At the beginning I was fighting hard to believe that I was beautiful on the outside, but by the end, I realized that what is on the outside was never what defined beauty. I began to see that growing in beauty meant growing in virtue—growing in faith, hope and love. The most beautiful people are the ones that have the joy that only comes from being close to the Lord (think Mother Teresa).
Lent is a beautiful time to grow, but to be completely honest, Lent is not my favorite time of year. I’m much more of an end of summer, dinner party, glass of white wine and candles kind of girl. Needing to take on a sacrificial spirit in the middle of the bleak winter doesn’t really make me feel alive. There is just something about entering into a time of fasting that scares me and makes me quite uncomfortable.
“Much like winter, Lent brings us into a time of discomfort, but without winter, there could never be spring. So much of my life is comfortable and easy. Lent is the time where I can dream big dreams with the Lord and allow Him to take me deeper.”
I love this quote by Pope Benedict XVI that I try to keep in mind throughout the course of the Lenten season:
“The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”
So I want to challenge you as I challenge myself. As we prepare for Easter, let us ask ourselves how the Lord wants us to grow closer to Him this Lent. What is keeping us from growing closer to Him? Maybe that doesn’t look like giving something up, but adding something in. Either way, do not be afraid! Even the winter won’t last forever.
Julianna Macari is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of the Be Love Revolution (www.beloverevolution.com) and a twenty-something year old hopeless romantic. Lover of all things Italian, she spends her days trying to be God’s love. When she's not trying to put Joseph down for a nap or making dinner for her hubby, you can find her planning vacations, trying new coffee shops with friends, or singing to loud music while driving in the car. When she remembers, she posts on Insta (www.instagram.com/juliannamacari).