Fresh-faced for Lent - #MondayMotivation

As we have been in the season of Lent for some time now, I found it appropriate to write about my Lenten promise. I was very hesitant in the beginning and I truthfully admit that I have had some trouble with it, but am slowly becoming more confident in myself as the days go by. I shouldn’t keep y’all guessing any longer, so here it is.

Yes, I decided to go down the familiar road of giving up make-up for Lent (hence, the title). So many people do it, but there is a reason behind the somewhat ludicrous idea. Women and teenage girls are so used to using make-up as a cover-up that they feel insanely insecure without it. What pore girls (pun severely intended)! The reason behind detaching yourself from something like make-up would be that it becomes such a habit that you couldn’t imagine going outside without it. That’s when it needs to be given up, at least for a short period of time. And if you’re looking for a short period of time (approximately 40 days, to be exact), why not try Lent? C’mon. Surely that is short enough, right?

At first, I cringed at the idea. I wasn’t going to show anyone my bare face for 40 full days! Those dark circles under my eyes would scare everyone away! Did I look like I was “clean and clear and under control”? I don’t think so! I was extremely tempted to just give up something regular, like chocolate or something else belonging in the food category, but giving up make-up kept coming to mind and it wouldn’t go away. Finally, after much deliberation I decided to embrace my imperfections. I was going to do it. I was giving up make-up, and there was no stopping me. And then came Ash Wednesday.

Boy, did I feel as insecure as ever. The very first day of Lent, and I was already chickening out. Before I walked into church, I privately resolved that I would avoid as many people as I could and make no eye contact whatsoever. However, that soon changed. God really wanted to challenge me that day, because as soon as I walked in I saw several people I knew. Of course I said hello, but at the back of my mind was a distinct feeling of self-consciousness. I am ashamed to admit that I kept wondering what they thought of me. I know it was foolish, but I guess I was so used to disguise that that was all I knew. And that is why I gave up make-up; because makeup was all I seemed to know.

 Gradually, the more I went out, the more comfortable I felt going make-up free. Further on in my Lenten journey, I did something I never thought I would. I actually stopped caring. I would walk out of my house and not even glance in the mirror before I left. It didn’t really matter to me anymore. Now I don’t mean that I became so desperate that I lost hope. I mean that it didn’t matter what people thought of me anymore. And believe me, I never thought that would happen.

I am certainly afraid of challenges still left to come this Lent, for I am only human and fear is a part of my life, but I will ask God to be with me the whole way through. There will be days when my skin won’t exactly “cooperate” with me, and days when the human tongue will somewhat break me down inside, but I will accept all this graciously and gratefully. There’s nothing like a challenge, especially a daunting one.

Make-up free me :)

Make-up free me :)

The Challenge
This Lent, I challenge you to step up a little. Do something daring. Give up something you normally wouldn’t. It may be closer to Easter than ever, but it’s not too late to add something to your list. Whatever you gave up, whether it’s make-up or chocolate, it is entirely up to you to follow it through. There will be “those days”, but when is there not? What would be the point if there were no challenges? As Pope Benedict XVI said, “The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” And you, my friend, you were definitely made for greatness. Not only because you were made by His Greatness, but also because you were made in the image of His greatness.