Truth: Today I need to take a make-up free photo of myself for a special post I’m doing for the Dallas Moms Blog.
Deeper Truth: I want to…but I really don’t want to.
You see, I’m happy to pour my heart out in words. I’m delighted to allow God to use my flawed thinking and mistakes of my sin-scarred past to help and encourage you. But, letting you see my flawed skin…
That feels much harder.
I know, I know, it all sounds so hypocritical for a body image blogger to whine about taking a photo without make-up. But, I write to you each week not as someone who’s figured it all out, but as someone who wrestles with the sin of body image idolatry.
I know the truth of the Gospel and how God says I’m accepted, and valued and loved no matter what the number on the scale says or no matter what the condition of the skin on my forehead. And, yet… I still must seek God’s grace and help, daily, to not believe the lie that what I look like on the outside matters. A lot.
You’ve probably had the chance to see the new video called, “Try” by Colbie Callait. I kind of love it. And, at the same time, I don’t think it tells the whole story.
I love it because it shows the futility of our vanity. The song (and video) expose just how much of our lives are consumed with what’s on the surface; how the anti-aging creams, the hair extensions, the false lashes and the cosmetics, all designed to help us look ‘acceptable’ to others.
And, it begs the question, “What are we trying for?” Callait weaves in her answer: We want others to like us. Then she responds to that with another message: Do we like ourselves?
It’s the importance of liking you. And I don’t have a real problem with that, generically. I hate the “love yourself” garbage… But, I’m ok with her language. A woman who likes herself can, potentially, be free from being consumed with trying to “fix” herself.
But, there’s more to the story. There’s more to it than just removing your make up and pronouncing, “Oh, okay, I like me now. Even without cosmetic enhancement.”
As someone who’s struggled with her body image for decades, I’ll confess: Just telling me to “like myself” and not worry about what others think isn’t enough.
I can hype myself up with that for about five minutes. But, then I go back to captivity. Just knowing that what’s important is that I “like myself” or that I “shouldn’t care what others think” isn’t enough to keep me free.
We need a bigger, better, incredibly awesome reason as to why it doesn’t matter what others think. We need a magnificent, glorious, and awe-inspiring answer for our hearts when they ask, “Why shouldn’t I be worried about what other people think?” and “How can I feel like I’m already accepted, enough?”
An Answer More Compelling Than, “I Love My Flaws”
The good news is, we have that answer. It’s in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We know the creator of the universe cared about us so much that he sent his son to die in our place. The answer to the question, “Why doesn’t it matter what others think?” Is, “I have a God and savior who loves me, knows me, and fully accepts me.”
And, he sees all of my flaws. Not just the ones exposed on my make-up free face. The ones that are so hidden in my heart, I avoid looking at them myself.
So, why do I still try, try, try, like Calliat’s video? Why will I still not leave the house without make-up on this evening, though I know I’ll only be seeing a few friends who would love and accept me with or without my mascara on?
I think it’s because I’m still discovering my value in Christ. Intellectually, I understand the reality that this amazing God loves me, accepts me, knows me inside and out and still says, “Yes. I approve.” But, I’m still working out my salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12) and still trying to convince my heart of what my head knows as true.
How about you? Is it a struggle for you to not worry about what other’s think and how people accept you? Would you do a make-up free selfie?