Facing It Just As I Am

Facing It, Just As I Am

February 26, 2015

By Jane Tawel

When I was growing up in the seventies in the Middle of America, you ordered things from the Sears Catalogue, or went to the one mall in the one nearby town maybe once a month. You bought your make up from the drugstore where you also could still sit at a counter for an ice cream soda. We eventually moved to the burbs but there still weren’t a lot of over the counter make up products for young girls.

When I got to college, I met one of the first rich girls I’d ever (knowingly) met. She was from The South and she had a make up called “Mary Kay”. I thought I had never seen anything so unique and lovely and fancy and other -worldly in my whole entire sheltered life.

My friends and I used “Cover Girl” make up and in the Seventies, we used a lot of it. Here is me in the 1970’s. (And yes, that is my prettier sister Julie of The Fingernails in the background).

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I have always been a bit off the north running track.In this picture I am doing the “Monkey” and I think I am a good dancer. I am not. Ask my kids.

I also have often thought I was intelligent.  I am not. Ask my kids.  Proof:  You know I didn’t actually realize until I was writing this post that Cover Girl must have meant “cover” as in cover of a magazine — a model girl. Duh!  In other words, Cover Girl was a pretty classy make-up for girls who wanted to look like magazine cover models. I thought “Cover Girl” meant Cover – up. Like make-up was to cover your face and hide blemishes and spots and cover your eyelids bright blue. Not a classy name, simply descriptive of why I bought the product. To cover up.

 

Our faces are such an important part of us, male and female alike. Our senses are all contained there, our eyes, “the window of the soul”, our smell and taste and hearing. We either love or hate certain people to touch our face– there is no middle ground. Our faces are what people see us as first. Our faces are what we share with our lovers and babies as we first snuggle and kiss. Our faces are what we take the most time with as we cleanse and primp and make our presentation to the world. Our faces are what we hide in shame if we have wronged someone. We protect first our faces when afraid. Little children often think if you can’t see their face and they can’t see yours then you can’t see them. Faces have been known “to launch a thousand ships” and to induce guilt. When the Dutchess of Malfi is murdered at the instigation of her brother, he famously remarks, “Cover her face, mine eyes dazzle. She died young.” (John Webster, The Dutchess of Malfi)

We “save face”; we “empty our face of expression”; we mask our face. We face up to things; face off, face it; we face the music; we face facts. We are forward or backward facing; we make an about face; are faceless, take things at face value, fall flat on our faces. We don’t want to be just another pretty face but don’t want people to ask about us as “what’s his face?” We have straight faces, long faces, poker faces, set faces and two-faced faces. Let’s face it, we often cut off our noses to spit our faces and then do an about face and say “in your face” cuz I’d rather face a firing squad than do an about face and face you with egg on my face.

 

Here is my problem. I have the exact same face I had when I was young in the 1970’s. When I look in the mirror now, forty years later, I see the same face that I don’t like. I see my face, the one with problems, the one I want to change, the one with the blemishes, the one I want to cover up. It doesn’t matter that instead of pimples I want to cover up wrinkles, or that instead of blue eye shadow I need under eye cream. I look at my face and I judge it unworthy. And I have wasted a lifetime caring so much about how my face looks.

 

Colbie Caillet wrote a beautiful song called “Try”. I’m not usually big on videos but you should watch her video. : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXoZLPSw8U8

In her video, Caillet shows women, including herself with make up on and without. Here are the words:

Put your make up on

Get your nails done

Curl your hair

Run the extra mile

Keep it slim

So they like you. Do they like you?

Get your sexy on

Don’t be shy, girl

Take it off

This is what you want, to belong

So they like you. Do you like you?

 

You don’t have to try so hard

You don’t have to give it all away

You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up

You don’t have to change a single thing

 

Get your shopping on,

At the mall,

Max your credit cards

You don’t have to choose,

Buy it all

So they like you. Do they like you?

 

Wait a second,

Why should you care, what they think of you

When you’re all alone, by yourself

Do you like you? Do you like you?

 

You don’t have to try so hard

You don’t have to give it all away

You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up

You don’t have to change a single thing

 

You don’t have to try so hard

You don’t have to bend until you break

You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up

You don’t have to change a single thing

Take your make up off

Let your hair down

Take a breath

Look into the mirror, at yourself

Don’t you like you?

Cause I like you

When my daughter showed me this video, I couldn’t stop crying as I thought about me, sad, insecure little girl me who still doesn’t know that who I am inside is more important to make beautiful than who I am outside. And I cried for my children, including my son, who really don’t know how beautiful they are inside and out because they live in a society that dehumanizes them and uglifies their souls while selling them a world of cover -ups.

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One of the women in Colby Caillet’s video, actually gets brave enough to take her hair off, because it’s all gone due to chemo. The point of the video is, it’s okay to wear makeup and it’s okay to wear a wig, but are you doing it for you because it helps you like you? Or are you doing it because you will never ever be pretty or handsome or buff or sexy enough for someone else? When you choose your outer self, are you revealing who you are or are you hiding who you are?

 

Lucy Grealy wrote a book called Autobiography of a Face. When Grealy was nine she was treated for cancer and they had to remove a third of her jaw. Let’s just say her classmates and even many adults were less than kind. They mocked and taunted her. This is Lucy Grealy’s comment in the book, “This singularity of meaning–I was my face, I was ugliness–though sometimes unbearable, also offered a possible point of escape. It became the launching pad from which to lift off, the one immediately recognizable place to point to when asked what was wrong with my life. Everything led to it, everything receded from it–my face as personal vanishing point.”

 

The book continues with her medical journey to change her face, and she writes: “I spent five years of my life being treated for cancer, but since then I’ve spent fifteen years being treated for nothing other than looking different from everyone else. It was the pain from that, from feeling ugly, that I always viewed as the great tragedy of my life. The fact that I had cancer seemed minor in comparison.”

 

How sad that many of us who are not scarred by cancer are still scarred by who we let judge us. We are duped into thinking that the world wants us to be beautiful when all it is doing is tricking us into washing the outside of our vessels, these bodies, while the inside grows uglier day after day.

Here is a picture of Lucy Grealy today:

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The reason I started thinking about faces this week was because I was finishing up a study by Michael Card on the book of John and I’m at the place where Jesus has been arrested and one of the things the Roman soldiers and Jewish Sanhedrin do to Jesus is spit in his face. I’m sorry, I know that the pain of beating and whipping must be horrible, but I have a hard time imagining any thing more horrific than someone spitting in my face. The fact that Jesus spoke not a word when they were doing this astounds me. Jesus faced my accusers for me and not only allowed them to deglorify Him as God, but to dehumanize him as one of us. Because spitting, not just at someone or near someone which is demeaning enough, but spitting in someone’s face, is the most degrading act of dehumanization I can imagine.

 

Do we not in one sense, spit in the face of our Creator, when we value our looks, our sexiness, our acceptableness, our better than that grade or face or body- ness more than we value our souls, our talents, our minds, our hearts, our characters? I think this is why Jesus was not “a looker” according to the Bible. There can be no mistake that any one was attracted to the Savior because he was rock star gorgeous. Jesus was homely outside so that nothing would get in the way of His God-sized inside beauty.

 

What is getting in the way of your inside God-beauty today?

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I think one of the most astounding blessings from God is a promise that He gave the Israelites first and later to all those who seek and follow and love Him. See even atheists know that no one has ever seen the face of God. But in Numbers 6: 24 – 26, the Lord asks the Hebrew priests to bless the Hebrews with this prayer and promise:

 

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

 

I used to sing this to my children in bed at night.   They thought the Lord was going to give them “peas” and so we got silly and sang “The Lord give you peas and carrots”. But God will give us so much more than vegetables and so much more than we can imagine; God will give us His real self; He will show us His face. In

I Corinthians 13:12 we are promised that someday we will see Him face to face.” No veils, no curtains, no hiddenness. The face of God will be shown.

 

But we must be warned, no veil between us and God means no cover up, no courtesy of pretense. I won’t be able like a little child to hide my face so Daddy can’t read the truth there; to look at the floor because it really was me that broke Daddy’s vase. My face will be seen – no Cover Girl allowed. And The Father’s Face will at last be seen and it will completely reveal all He is because He is the same inside as He is outside. His face will be revealed to be the power of the storm, the glory of a sunset, the guiding light of a star, the miracle of a birth, the gentleness of a lamb, the frightfulness of a lion, the awesomeness of a universe. And these are only things He has revealed to us in this lifetime. His face will contain all things beyond our imaginings. It will take an eternity to study God’s face.

 

Will I recognize Him? Am I spending this beginning of eternity, as the Psalms instruct, seeking I Am’s face?

 

And will my Abba, Daddy, recognize me? Will He have seen past all my cover up’s, all my mess -ups, all my hidden sins, all my pretend selves, to His little girl? Or like that horrible, terrifying word in Matt. 7, will He have to sadly say, “Be gone, I never knew you.”?

 

There is only one make- up in the world that can make me beautiful.There is truly only one “Clean Cover Up”. That is the cover-up that Christ’s blood shed for me has achieved. I am not made clean or beautiful by special soaps and lotions, or injected botulism or a shaved nose, or a six pack, or inflated balloons where my boobs used to be. My life is not worth living because I have a certain GPA, or award, or group I belong to. I am not judged by my skin tone or my stained hair. I am judged by the stain of the blood of Jesus Christ, that by grace and faith covers all my failings and makes me perfect.

Remember Billy Graham crusades? That was a gorgeous man who knew what made people beautiful.

Every day as I slather on my lotions and suck in my gut, I should be singing,

Just As I Am

And waiting not To rid my soul of one dark blot

To thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,

Oh, Lamb of God, I come.

I come.

 Psalm 32: 1 & 2: Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

I Peter 1: 19 & 20: but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a Lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for

“All flesh is like grass

and all its glory like the flower of grass.

The grass withers,

and the flower falls,

but the word of the Lord remains forever.” 

And this word is the good news that was preached to you. 

Good News, my friends: Jesus was the perfect model. No Cover Up  Makeup required.

Now let’s get out there and beautify ourselves and the world with Love. Let’s put on our party faces like we have  an eternity to celebrate.

Time to put my best Jesus face on and look at myself in the mirror and then head on out there and look at you, my sister and brother. If you don’t recognize me, I’ll be the one showing up “Just As I Am”.

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