What does God think of my makeup bag?
One question I have wrestled with throughout my walk with Christ has been the topic of beauty: How do I approach beauty in a holy and Christian way? This question isn’t easily answered. As women, we are given many different and often conflicting bits of advice on beauty, both inner and outer; secular and Christian. The ever popular 1 Peter 3: 3-4 states “3 Let not yours be the outward adorning with braiding of hair, decoration of gold, and wearing of fine clothing, 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” Proverbs 31, which gives a clear description of how a holy woman should act states: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30). These ideals of beauty are, in fact, beautiful, but they starkly contrast with the modern, secular view of beauty with which most of us have been inundated. As modern women, society pressures us to have it all: beautiful faces, high powered careers, children, a sense of humor, a sense of decorum, total independence, a healthy/attractive body, a modern approach to life. Our Christian life urges us to be Proverbs 31 women, lacking vanity, abounding in selflessness with quiet, gentle spirits all while wearing modest clothing and having an active and abundant prayer life.
How is a woman supposed to balance all of these things without going insane? And what do you do if you like lipstick, shoes and Jesus?
The answer is simple. Pray. As a Christian, it is safe to assume that the answer to any faith based question is one of two things: Jesus or prayer. There is a reason for this. Our lives as Christians are centered around these pillars of our faith, and our approach to beauty should be as well. When I was living in London on my GAP year, we had a significant chunk of time carved out for prayer each morning. Often, my mornings were spent in prayer, then sneaking off to get dressed, do my hair and makeup, then feeling guilty for not praying enough. Morning after morning this process was repeated. A friend had a similar problem, which she discussed with a priest who gave an answer that would change my approach to beauty. He said that rather than turning our morning routines into a guilty experience, we should turn them into an act of prayer. When we get ready, he said that we should offer up the act of getting ready as an act of stewardship and worship. After all, God gave us the gift of our bodies, and we are called to take care of them. We are made of both body and spirit, ignoring one and focusing entirely on the other is not good.
Does God care about my makeup bag? Short answer: yes. Long answer: God created you as a perfectly unique reflection of his creation. Your quirks, your habits, all of the little things that make up the woman you are are important to God because he loves you. God cares about the things you care about simply because of your care for them. As Christians, we are called to let God in to all aspects of our lives, no matter how trivial they may seem. Why shut God out of this part of our lives? While Christian life does require sacrifice and change, we are not called to forsake everything we love for the sake of being a “better” or “holier” person. Unless you feel specifically called by God to give up makeup, or to live a particular lifestyle that dictates an approach to hair, makeup and clothes, this sacrifice is likely in vain.
When we consider personal beauty in a Godly light, it is important to take the time to examine our intentions on the topic. Here are some questions I ask to myself when I am getting ready for my day:
Am I wearing this outfit or putting on my makeup to gain attention? (if no, proceed. If yes, change!)
Am I choosing to not wear makeup because I am fasting? (Matthew 6: 16-18: “And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”)
Am I wearing makeup because I want to, or because I am too afraid to leave the house without it?
Are my intentions vain, or are they pure?
How much of my time and money am I dedicating to hair, makeup and clothes in comparison to the time and money I spend on God?
These questions might sound a bit extreme, but I have found them immensely helpful in my wrestle with beauty. Taking time to develop your thoughts on beauty can be a fruitful journey. Beauty is a gift that women naturally bring into the world. Our beauty is attacked so often because it is something valued highly by the Lord. I would highly encourage inviting God into this process of curating your beauty. It is a process that is fulfilling and life giving.
After all, who better to create and enhance beauty with than the Creator of all beauty and goodness Himself?
Camille Chippewa is currently splitting her time between Dublin, Ireland and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her favorite things include her family, American diner food, coffee, the Detroit Red Wings, all things culinary, rap songs that quote Greek or Roman mythology (and hip hop in general) and reading books in single sittings. She travels the world frequently; she has lived in 5 cities in three countries over the past five years. Her relationship with God can be best summed up in Genesis 32:26- "I will not let go until you bless me." In five years she would love to curate and own a specialty grocery store with an attached bakery and cafe, however, she realizes that life is what happens when we are busy making plans, so she is waiting to see what the next adventure in her life will be.