Several weeks ago I found myself an hour away from home after a medical procedure wearing office attire, no change of clothes and no makeup. To recover, I planned to spend most of the weekend in Akron and Auburn where I could have some help with the kiddos while my husband was working. Thanks to my mom and mom-in-law, the clothing problem was remedied rather quickly. After the kids went to bed, I drove down to CVS to "fill a prescription," though I really didn't need the Motrin or the Percoset. Someone could use it someday, right?
While I was waiting for the prescription to be filled, I figured I could pick up a few essentials, like face wash, a toothbrush, and maybe a little bit of makeup. As I perused the L'oreal and Maybelline product aisle, I remembered that I was almost out of cover-up. Oh, and I just threw out that one shade of eye shadow I really liked. Ooh, mascara is on sale! Buy one get one! I can get a new shade of lipstick too!
After more than the allotted time to fill my prescriptions was up, I returned to the pharmacy with my fists full of shiny new tubes of make-up (and face wash, and tooth brush). As I lined up my products, I started to worry a little about the bill-- after all, prescriptions for pain medicine could be expensive! With relief, the pharmacist rang up the two prescriptions at the happily generic rate of $5 and $3. And then began the scan. Cover-up. Powder. Lipstick. Eye shadow. Mascara. If only there was that noise from a cash register calculating the cost while I watched my make-up tallied!
Hoping for a little sympathy from the pharmacist, I said, "Wow, make-up sure is expensive." And possibly one of the most Sarah-Plain-and-Tall women looked up, and with a bit of impatience said, "Is it?" and continued to scan my vanity. The pharmacist was not the wearer of the makeup. Maybe not ever.
One weekend. That's all it was going to be, and then I'd return to Ashland and my dressertop filled with the tools necessary to assemble my face. It didn't used to be this way! I used to wear no makeup during the summer, glad to have the glow of the sun on my face. I have pictures from that long ago era in history, and I didn't look so bad! What happened? Now, even on days off where me and the kids lounge around the house, I apply the layers that disguise the "real me", hide the blemishes and accentuate the characteristics I like the most.
After the pharmacist's disapproving response I began to wonder -- am I vain? Was this self-indulgence, or self-preservation?
Whether or not a woman wears makeup doesn't really matter - we have more important issues to deal with, heart issues. What am I trying to cover up, beyond the makeup, beyond the hair styles and clothing choices? Besides wrinkles, we have a lot we want to hide - trouble with a spouse, frustration at work, family crises, health concerns, financial struggles, school worries, insecurities - oh, how much is underneath!
When God sent Samuel out to find a king for Israel, to take the place of Saul, he warned Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). What does God see when he looks at your heart? Are you broken, exposed, uncovered, and humbled, a clear view for God into your soul? Or are you working hard on the outside to cover up the pain, brokenness, bitterness, and pride you harbor on the inside?
We heard Dan Lawson a few weeks ago speak on another verse: "If my people, who are called by my name, humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14). Lots of us have broken land. We need forgiveness. We need reconciliation with God. We need redemption. We need God to hear us. So, regardless of whether you are an easy, breezy, beautiful cover girl or plain Jane, open up your heart. Pray. Seek God. And repent. Praise God that he has promised to hear, forgive, and heal.