When Mackenzie (pictured above) and I met Cara for our first photo shoot, my heart leapt out of my chest when she told me she was most comfortable wearing no makeup. She is outwardly stunning, but even more stunning in personality. She is grounded in her identity in Christ which is why she was so comfortable skipping the makeup.
As someone who suffers from anxiety disorders, I never would have uttered the words "prefer no makeup". In fact, as a teenager, my daily life was riddled with compulsive grooming. I could spend hours reapplying makeup and was habitually late because I was working relentlessly to improve the appearance of flaws (cystic acne) and my perception of flaws that weren't even actually there. Even once I got in the car, I wasn't finished because my anxiety would bring on a rash to my chest and neck that I would then try to cover with makeup. The more I applied the concealer, the brighter it would become.
My efforts were completely futile. Even if I felt like I had achieved the beauty I was trying to attain, my insecurities would reveal themselves in my interactions because my inner belief was that I was not beautiful.
What I didn't understand was that beauty runs deep. If I believe what God says about me, then I understand beautiful is my identity. It's an altogether beautiful.
There is no flaw in you. That's not to say anyone is perfect, but we are made perfectly. Designed intentionally. Loved deeply. Made on purpose with a purpose. Made with characteristics and gifts. Placed in time to be born for such a time as now. The Lord your God saw to it that you have the very color eyes, number of hairs, length of arms, size of feet, and shape of cheekbones that you have.
That's not to say that you FEEL flawless or beautiful. Feelings are a terrible compass and not an accurate measure of beauty. Beauty is not a feeling but it is your identity. I learned in counseling that I take on my feelings as my identity. What a dangerous way to live- drifting wherever my hopeless thoughts were taking me! That was a life changing moment. My counselor taught me separate the feelings from myself by adding a few words to my sentences. "I am NOTICING THE FEELING OF ____________", instead of "I am feeling ugly." I hope this helps you.
So, how does a woman start to understand and believe she is flawless? That comes with understanding that Christ died for our sins and every flaw is corrected in his sacrificial gift. What sin and a lifetime of mistakes has destroyed is made new. We have to have an understanding at the core that we are not a mistake and that our mistakes are not us. Our outer appearance is not us. Meditating and marinating on this truth helps us navigate those times when our feelings are steering us wrong. By going to the root of our insecurity, we can pull it up like a weed and begin to plant our lives in healthier soil. And in healthy soil, roots run deep.