When I was in my mid 40’s it hit me that the 50’s were closely looming around the corner and I started reading a few blogs written by “mid-life beauty experts”. That is when I learned about things like exfoliating, retinol, peptides, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, and CC creams. I started trying things – one tube or pump at a time – and created my skin care routine for younger looking skin.
As long as I can remember I have had an interest in fun clothes, playing around with makeup, and trying different hairstyles. I was that little sister who would sneak in her older sister’s bedroom and try on her makeup, use her razor (I know! Gross!), and try on her clothes.
I’ll never forget the morning when I snuck into my sister’s bedroom after she’d left for school. I was looking for something to wear and decided to go through her closet.
I had a plan:
- Sneak something out of her closet
- Wear it to school
- Get home from school before she did
- Take it off and hang it up before she gets home
- She’ll never know!
It was a beautiful plan!
As I was intently looking through her clothes, I heard my mom coming up the stairs. Panicking, I quickly slid into the closet and quietly shut the door. There I hid, peeking through the slats in the door as my mom put laundry away, knowing that if she found me I’d be ONE. DEAD. MIDDLE SCHOOLER! She didn’t find me, but it scared me enough to cause me to give up my sneaky ways, and I never tried that again! I may have left the sneaky life behind, but my love for makeup, clothes and hairstyles never left.
There have been times when I haven’t been sure where (or if) these interests fit into the life of a believer. I’ve wondered where the natural, God given, artistic, love of color and all things beautiful ends, and the selfishness of my heart or the influence of our youth and beauty obsessed culture begins. When does it stop being a natural God given interest and turn into an ugly, self focus obession?
Several years ago we knew a family who moved to an island in Hawaii to become missionaries. Every time we received a newsletter or a Christmas card, we were treated to photos of the people they were living life with, or photos of their family. Without fail, their Christmas card would include a family photo that pictured them wearing bright, colorful shirts with large flowered prints all over them, beautifully colored Leis draped around their neck, cool cotton shorts, and flip flops – or no shoes at all. This was the dress of the island.
One day, while reading through one of their newsletters, it struck me that since God has planted me here, it’s really ok for me to dress (without compromise) like the culture, and to use the artistic gifts and love of color that God placed within me! I just need to be discerning and not allow that natural gifting and interest to cross the line into being influenced by the subtle lies of our culture. The truth is that 50 is not the new 40, our goal in life should not be to be “sexy at any age”, we shouldn’t feel like we need to pump our wrinkles full of botox, or get the fat sucked out of our stomachs. Growing old is a good thing – it’s a gift. The years change us in every way, and teach us stuff! They give us time with our loved ones and time to be used by God.
All that I possess – my creative giftings, abilities, and interests can ultamatlely be used to point others to Jesus, but I must be careful that they don’t become a distraction from the bigger picture and how He wants to work through me. There is a line that needs to be drawn – and is too easily crossed – between using these things for his glory, and using them for my own glory. It is a very fine line, almost undetectable, and I need to pray for discernment and for God’s help to see when I am in danger of crossing that line.
So, should I throw away the products I purchased? No. That would be a huge waste of money. And although I will probably not replace all of these products when they are gone, I still want to look my best. I enjoy taking care of this body that is slowly aging, love playing around with makeup and hairstyles, enjoy exercising, love fun clothes and surround myself with color, but I want my resolve to be for good, and inspired and empowered by God…
“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power…” 1 Thessalonians 1:11
I want to use the gifts, interests and abilities that He gave me to bring Him glory and point others to Him. I don’t want to distract from His purpose, or even worse, be a hinderance to what He wants to accomplish.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name…” Psalm 29
“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13
His grace draws me back, and He allows me to continue in the process I am in of becoming more like Him.
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Romans 8:29