40-day Bare Face: Day 4 – Reflected

I have to go meet a friend in 25 minutes. I showered this morning, but as I’m finishing my coffee I remember I “still haven’t put my makeup on.” At the 25 minute mark, it’s time to put on my face, find my shoes, put my purse together and make my feeble attempt to get out the door on time.

But, in fact,  I already have my “face” on. And this isn’t the first time in the last couple days where a bare face has wrenched my attention toward all of my routines. Toward how I move, when, and why.

Saturdays are the day when a bare face (or something close to it) is most likely to make an appearance.  If I rest, it’s on a Saturday and part of that is a low-key wardrobe. It’s not uncommon for 3pm to roll around and I still have to “get ready”, where I’ll put on a makeup look that goes with the jeans, sneakers, and sweater I’m wearing.

IF I rest, it’s on a Saturday.

I know enough to realize the problem with that sentence. As Christians, or even just healthy people, we are supposed to abide by God’s command to rest, and that’s one I usually side-step. In fact, I actively work to disobey that one. I fill my day and week to the brim with many good and wonderful things.

And then I try to stop doing that, and I hate it.  I try to stop doing and try this thing called “resting.” At first, I find the downtime as jarring as my reflection when I catch it these days. My whole being revolts against the boredom, loneliness, and stillness of the downtime.

Here is where I’m not going to pretend I’m any holier or farther along on my path. I’m not going to try to tell you I feel liberated by the lenten experiment I’m doing. It would be lying to claim that getting ready to leave is sooo much better without my mascara and lipstick. I really doubt I’ll ever be able to say that. I love being a girly girl, and deeply believe mascara and (especially red) lipstick make life more lovely.

But I need the downtime. Desperately. I need to restore order to my space, laundry, head, and heart. I need that as much as I need to understand that the colorful face is not entirely who I am. That Joy and Beauty can be found without what I usually use find them.

What I need on this Saturday is the courage to enter into the discomfort. To not run from the thoughts and feelings that surface when I behold my true reflection. A bare face allows me to get used to my true reflection. But a bare day? That is my only opportunity to behold the true condition of my heart and life and time, and I have to keep my gaze on that reflection no matter how foreign it is or how little I like what I see.

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