Brooding On

Final Lenten Week: Walk Humbly

Okay.  Here we go. 

I guess it was about a year ago that I first knew I would be doing this.  I'd asked my sister what she was planning to give up for Lent last year.  She mentioned that she'd briefly considered giving up makeup for the Lenten season.  40 days with NO MAKEUP?  "I could never do that!"  And as soon as I'd uttered those words, I knew I would do it.  After all, that's what Lent's about, right?  In the past, I've given up meat, chocolate, cereal.  Nothing has hurt too much.  But, it's supposed to be a real sacrifice.  It's supposed to be hard.  It's almost embarrassing to admit it's a hard thing to give up.  I mean when you look at it like this, "God provided the ultimate sacrifice, allowing His Son to die a brutal death to save me.  I guess I could give up makeup for a week as a way to remember that sacrifice."  Yep, embarrassing.

Now, for some people, this might not be too hard.  But, I vividly remember the day, just before I started the 7th grade, when my mom took me over to her friend's house for a Beauticontrol makeover.  She purchased me my first makeup, and from that moment on, I wore it.  Always.  Everyday.  I may have left the house without it perhaps 3 or 4 times in the, umm, lots of years that have passed since then.  I've certainly not gone without it for a solid week.

I pondered this challenge all year, off and on.  When I came across the Carbon Fast, I thought, "this is much more my speed.  I'll do this instead."  And, then I saw the "Walk Humbly" week.  And,  there I was again.  Of course, walking humbly is about much more than bypassing makeup.  It's about becoming smaller so that He becomes bigger, greater.  As a song from "A New Liturgy" puts it:    "I'm only a part of the story.  But, I'm a part of the story.  So, I'll take my part in the story, get out of myself, get over myself, get lost in the story of somebody else."

Real Simple says, "According to a new British study, the average woman spends 474 days of her lifetime (that’s one year, and 3 months) applying makeup and other cosmetics."  Holy bat poop!  I mean, I don't even see my face when I'm out in public.  I "put my face on" so that others see me a certain way.  And why?  Is it not entirely about vanity?  Is vanity not in direct opposition to humility?

Don't worry, I ran this idea past my hubby:  "I'm thinking of giving up makeup next week.  Seems like the kind of thing I ought to run by you.  Any opinions on this?"   He had the exact right response.    He just turned and delivered me a look that said, "Are you seriously asking me this?  What kind of jerk would I be if I had an opinion on this?"

I thought of several ways I could walk more humbly this week.  I could go logo-less, avoiding name brands, or not post to FaceBook (I mean the subtext of most of my posts, after all, is "aren't my kids cute?").  But, I decided that this one thing will provide enough of a challenge.  I am going to throw in "wearing no jewelry" because it seems to go hand-in-hand with the spirit of :no makeup."  Other than that, though, we'll just leave it at this.

And, of course, I'll be praying:
Father, help me to overcome my selfishness this week.  Help me avoid making an effort to impress others.  Humble me, and allow me to see others as better than myself.  Help me not to look out only for my own interests, but to take an interest in others as well so that I may have the same attitude as Your Son who, though he was God did not think of equality to God as something to cling to.  Instead, He gave up his divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.  When He appeared in human form, He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on a cross. (adapted from Philippians 2:3-8).  Father, help me to get over myself and my own self-consciousness enough this week that I may see others more clearly.  Lord, use this sacrifice, however small in the grand scheme of things, to draw me closer to You, to teach me more about Your heart and Your call on my life.

I think it's pretty fitting where this week ended up falling.  If Lent is about sacrifice and deprivation, what better week to go without makeup and jewelry than the week leading up to Easter Sunday morning when we traditionally get decked out in our finest to celebrate the resurrection of our King?  So, I'll go through passion week entirely unadorned only to get all decked out for the big Sunday celebration.  I love it!

Now, for anyone who may be thinking, "Isn't telling everyone what you plan to do on a week that's all about Walking Humbly a bit incongruous?", I would say Yes.  Definitely, yes.  But, I needed to post about this for a few reasons:
1.  I've posted every Lenten week thus far and thought it might be weird not to post anything on this final week. 
2. Confessing my own difficulty in giving this up is humbling in and of itself.  If anything, this post is borne out of shame more than pride, as it's so deeply embarrassing that this small thing is so difficult a thing for me to give up.  What does that say about me, after all?
3.  I need some accountability.  If you know I'm doing this, then I'd better really be doing this. 
As further confession . . . you know, for all of Lent, this week has been looming at the end.  The weekend of no-sleep-goat-kidding-in-the-wee-morning-hours, my skin revolted and left me more broken out than I've been in months.  I found myself in Walmart, wandering the skin care aisle thinking, "If I got an acne treatment that just so happened to be tinted, that would still count as 'no makeup', right?"  Uggghhh.  After a minute or two, I mentally swatted myself on the wrist for such legalistic thinking and rushed myself out of that part of the store.  Am I the only one who has these weird arguments with myself?

Anyway, here we go!