Last week I did something I’ve haven’t done since elementary school. I left the house without makeup. It was by accident, really. The morning was busy getting the kids ready for school and I forgot to do more than throw my hair in a ponytail.
When I discovered I was in public with no makeup on, I was remarkably calm. Why did it not cause me to panic? After all, I’m not getting any younger. My 33-year-old skin is showing the effects of countless sunburns, visits to the tanning bed, and three decades of rubbing allergic eyes til they were raw. If there were any time in my life up to this point that makeup needed to be a must, it is now.
Several months ago little by little, I began to put less makeup on. Mostly it was due to being at home and not seeing a need. The more I went without makeup, the more comfortable I felt with myself. Soon I had ditched the brimming makeup bag time in favor of just a few basics on most days.
Have you ever been in the grocery store and seen the cover of a magazine showing celebrities without makeup? How did it make you feel? I’ll tell you how it made me feel. It made me feel good. It made me feel like not everyone is as perfect as it seems. It made me feel that me and my flaws are normal.
I think the same goes for our hearts. Some of us have spent day after day for decades working to cover up our flaws, our regrets, our sin, our scars, our pain. We don’t want anyone to see our real selves. We don’t even want to admit these blemishes to ourselves, much less to anyone else.
So we go to church, we spend time with friends, and all of us have our makeup “just right” so we can portray exactly what we want to portray. What others see is just a spiritual airbrushed version of our real selves.
Real, authentic, unconditional relationships are never going to occur as long as we all keep our makeup on, as long as we only let people see what we want them to see. The tragedy of this is that few of us will experience real love because we haven’t allowed ourselves to be truly seen for who we are. Flaws, regrets, sin, scars, pain, and all.
What we don’t realize is that when we start removing our makeup, those around us are not going to be shocked. Instead, they will most likely be comforted. They’ll realize that they’re not the only imperfect ones. And perhaps they will begin to feel comfortable with removing their makeup as well.
Do you want real, authentic, unconditional relationships? Make the commitment to start peeling off the layers, even if it’s one by one. Even if it’s slowly over time. What will happen, I’d venture, is we’ll start feeling less alone in the ways that matter. We’ll start learning what it means to really love.
What areas are you most prone to hide from others? How can you begin to start peeling off those layers of protection with those in your small group or faith community? Will you be bold enough to be the first one to show your true skin, flaws and all?