So, in the random way these things happen, I stumbled across this article just now. (Don't read it yet. Come back up here at the end. Also, I looked through all 30 images so I could feel justified in writing a post about it...but if you don't want to waste a bunch of time, 4 or 5 pictures will do you just about as well.)
It's titled "30 Fairly Shocking Pictures of Celebrities Without Makeup"...but I find myself more shocked by how normal most of them look without the magic wand of a professional makeup artist. I mean, those pictures on the left? They are of you and me on any given Saturday morning (or, let's face it, any given most-mornings if you're at home with little kiddos).
Of course some of these pictures are actually awful, because candid photographs have the same ability as pressing pause at any given moment in a movie: you get the most gruesome, funny distortions of the actors to stare back out of the tv until you come back from your potty break. But really, start by looking at the left-hand picture in each of these slides, and I think you'll find many of these girls actually garish when they're all done up for the Oscars.
When did our culture redefine beauty this way? Why are you and I always so terribly conscious of our faces when we go beyond our front porches without makeup? What IS beauty, anyway? We are created in God's image, and His paintbrush never touches a makeup palette; He pronounced us Good.
Now, this isn't a post about whether or not makeup is ok. I use makeup. I really, really appreciate makeup, actually, and it's a Big Deal to me if I forget my makeup bag when I'm traveling, or find I left it in the car that went to school with Andy, or something else that necessitates a bare face. But, though I don't often feel it when I look at my bare self in the mirror--I am beautiful. My husband seems to prefer my bare face, and I have to choose to take him at his word. My God certainly doesn't care in the least what I look like, and I have to choose to take Him at His word.
What my God and my husband care about more than anything else in my life is that I allow things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control shine their beautiful selves brightly in my life. Those beautiful things, radiating out of the inner me? They change me, and they change the world that I interact with and touch. And they have the side effects of physical beauty: a soft countenance, a ready smile, lines creased by laughter instead of stress and anger, a quiet spirit, a body that is stewarded well and therefore trim (if not altogether tone ;0) ).
What our culture needs is more women who think about their inner Beautiful more than their outer, more women who get their affirmation from Jesus, and let Him do His good, beautiful work in and through us.
Go. You're more beautiful than you know.