Tuesday, 7 December 2010

There is no flaw in me



I had so much fun getting my hair and make up done by an industry professional (Tanya Epis), and my photo taken by an award winning photographer (Natasha Smith). It was for a head shot for the contributors page for the new FREE e-magazine "Indulge" by the 'I luv those shoes' project. It was an amazing experience seeing myself transformed into a glamour girl right before my eyes. I hardly recognised myself when I looked in the mirror, and still don't fully recognise myself when I look at the photo.

I have been reflecting a lot lately on how Christian women are OK with the thought that they are beautiful on the inside, but still struggle with how they look on the outside. Only in recent months have I been able to look at myself in the mirror and think, "I am Beautiful". Even when I'm not looking my best I know what makes me beautiful. God made me in His image.

I know what the world calls "flaws," like wrinkles, freckles and dark circles under my eyes, are part of who I am - and part of how He designed me. And I'm OK with that. I am thankful that in my childhood I spent hours looking at Childcraft Encyclopedias. Within the pages of one of the volumes of books were photos of females in different stages of life. I remember noticing that in the photos, a woman's body changed significantly, from infancy to old age. I took note of the changing body shapes, added wrinkles and sagging areas of these women. I wish I could show you the page now. They were so realistic- unlike the images of women we are bombarded with these days. These images I viewed as a child prepared me for the changes that took place in my body after I had children and as my age moves towards 40. I had a realistic expectation of what happens when you age.

I love to look my best as we all do, so I'm not proposing we wear no make-up, don't bother doing our hair and wear comfortable tracksuits. I am a girl after all and love to play dress up. And it certainly doesn't excuse me from eating right and exercising to be healthy. Nowadays I see putting makeup on and doing my hair as putting the icing on the cake or the cherry on top of my God given beauty - not to cover up my "flaws". What I am proposing though, that instead of lamenting about how many wrinkles we are getting or that we are a little rounder than we were in our 20's, we embrace the changes taking place and be realistic about how a woman in her 30's, 40's and 50's should look. The reality is, we are NOT supposed to look 20 if we are in our late 30's, 40's and 50's.

I decided to put an image of me without make up and without my hair done to put things in perspective. The first image of me is not reality - this is. This was taken while on holidays at Coffs Harbour.


Just like you, I always put my best foot forward online, so I wanted to put this image up as a declaration that I am beautiful with or without make-up. In May 2010, a group of women were brave enough to bare all on their blogs as part of the 'Bloggers without make-up Day'   - an idea from one woman's reflection on beauty. I was so inspired by their bravery. I was equally inspired by Terri Hatcher, who recently put photos of herself on her Face Book page without make up or her hair done, and appeared on Oprah to talk about it.

I had an interesting experience after I had my hair and make up done for the head shot. I had to go to the nearest shopping centre for an errand, before I went home to relieve my babysitter. A man at a make-up stand stopped me and asked if he could show me his exfoliating product. I told him that I only had 45 minutes to do what I needed to do and get home. He said, "It will take 2 minutes." In a moment of weakness, I caved and allowed him to show me his product.

He then proceeded to exfoliate the skin off the back of my hand telling me that there was real 24kt gold in the product. As he rubbed my dead skin cells away, I thought, "If I am going to buy gold, I'll be wearing it on my finger or around my neck - not washing it down the sink!" He showed me the back of my other hand and compared the elasticity and smoothness with the newly exfoliated hand. I did notice a difference. Next he showed me the image of my face in a mirror and pointed out all my "flaws" and how his product would help eradicate my problems. That was it. I had heard enough.Much to his disgust, I politely told him, "I'm sorry! You're 2 minutes are up", and walked away.

I had just spent an hour getting my "flaws" covered up and my best features enhanced, only to have someone attempt to show me what was wrong with me. Even at my "best", he wanted to show me my "worst". It has really made me reflect on how hung up we are on improving ourselves, instead of just accepting ourselves the way God made us. Had I not dealt with my insecurities about my appearance, I may have fallen into the trap of buying his product to improve my appearance. But because I know that I am perfect just the way He made me, I was able to walk away from the counter unscathed in my heart, and my money still in my purse.

I am so glad that I now walk in the freedom knowing that I am beautiful, not just on the inside - but on the outside too. I may not fit the image of society's definition of beauty. But I certainly fit His image of what beauty is.
You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
there is no flaw in you. {Song of Solomon 4:7}

Dictionary reference defines altogether as:
al·to·geth·er (ôlˌtə-gĕÞˈər)
adverb
1.Entirely; completely; utterly: lost the TV picture altogether; an altogether new approach.
2.With all included or counted; all told: There were altogether 20 people at the dinner.
3.On the whole; with everything considered: Altogether, I'm sorry it happened.

noun
A state of nudity. Often used with the: in the altogether.
In my state of nudity, in my entirety, I am completely and utterly beautiful. And there is no flaw in me. Just ask my King, He'll tell you.


Still taking lessons from the King,




20 comments:

  1. I love your thoughts here Jo! I am learning the truth of this too.

    You look lovely in both pictures. But I have to tell you, I really love your natural look!

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  2. Amen Jo! As a teen I was terribly bullied for my strawberry blonde hair and I had a real hang up about it. In my first year as a follower of Jesus, I was in my bedroom one day, looking at myself in the mirror delaring I hate my hair God, I hate my hair. In an instance the Lord gave me a vision of a girl who was bald, who had no hair, and He asked me if that is what I wanted. Right there in that moment I was transformed, I fell to me knees and asked God to forgive me, and told HIm I will never say that again. He went on to tell me how I am His princess and daughter and that I am beautifully and wonderfully made. That was the day I was set free from image and had a revelation of real beauty. I was 16! Praise God for His love for us! xxx

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  3. You are absolutely stunning inside and out... and it's not about the make-up or hair fixed beautifully. I see beauty in your eyes.. You show our Father well, my friend....

    When I turned 50 I decided to let my hair color wash out. I had NO idea how much grey was there. To be honest I was kinda shocked at how much showed up. It didn't matter. I wanted to be who I was. I wanted to wear my "crown of splendor" that God had taken the extra care to paint in my hair. So here I am, now 53 years old... greying more every day. When I am complimented on my hair I say, "thank you, God did it for me." It's funny how I get more compliments on my hair now than I ever did before. Guess my crown is sparkling!

    I love the beautiful person that you are!

    Loved this post!!!

    xoxoxo

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  4. Amen, sister! You are so beautiful, in both pictures, because it is your heart!!!! Love you

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  5. I love BOTH pictures of you because they radiate who you are - I think it's because you truly believe you are beautiful and it shows!

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  6. Wow, I love this post! And I love you! And...I actually have all the Childcraft encyclopedias at home in my garage, so we can have a trip down memory lane with them on Saturday if you like! I am thankful for my flaws. I am thankful that at 40 I am able to apply a little bit of "slap" to my face and eyes and be happy with the end, yet flawed, result.

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  7. Thank you for writing about this. We all are beautiful, inside and out. I see you spirit shining through in both your photos. I think that is true beauty, knowing who you are in Christ. xx

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  8. I loved this, Jo! God made us just the way we are, and He is a Master Artist. Who am I to complain when a grey hair comes in or a wrinkle developes? Have you noticed that when a woman loves the Lord, you can see it in her eyes? No matter how old she is, there is something that radiates from her that makes her beautiful beyond her physical appearance. I think it is the light of Christ reflected in her eyes. I see that in you. Thank you for your great post! I am so encouraged. =)

    Living for Him, Joan

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  9. Beautiful simply beautiful. I am so so happy for you dear, that you got to be pampered and treated like the beautiful queen that you are. God is a wonderful God. Love you dear

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  10. Simply beautiful friend! Simply beautiful.

    Be blessed bunches,
    Sarah

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  11. That must have been a blast to do! You truly ARE beautiful inside and out!

    Great thoughts given here!

    Choosing JOY, Stephanie

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  12. I think your beautiful with or without make up! Who needs gold flecks with a heart filled with Christ-more precious than gold!

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  13. What a powerful story. "I had just spent an hour getting my 'flaws' covered up and my best features enhanced, only to have someone attempt to show me what was wrong with me." Wow.

    Thank you for sharing. I needed to read this today. Incidentally, I think the real you is prettier. Honest and true.

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  14. Lovely, truth filled post Jo. And you know what? I relate to and identify more with the unpainted picture further on down the page, than the one at the top. The top piccie, whilst lovely and a little glam, looks like a lovely woman for sure, but the woman below looks like a woman who might more know the things that most mummies go through - you know, those of us who do not spend heaps of money or time on our outer beauty. :)

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  15. Thanks for allowing us to revisit this post. It is such a great post. I have been going through some level of insecurity at the moment and thus helps to get my focus back on the truth in his word. Thank you again. xx

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  16. Thanks for allowing us to revisit this post. It is such a great post. I have been going through some level of insecurity at the moment and thus helps to get my focus back on the truth in his word. Thank you again. xx

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  17. The standout in both pix is your beautiful smile. That never changes!!! If you want to check out THIS blogger without makeup, here's the link http://footprintsaustralia.com/blog/2010/05/23/bloggers-without-makeup/

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my lessons!

I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Love,
Jo Princess Warrior xo