So this year for lent I decided to do something a little unconventional. As a fairly- some may say overly- self-disciplined person, I tend to take things like fasting or lent and focus more on the “doing” aspect than the “relating” or “praying” aspect. What starts as something meant to draw me closer to Christ becomes something that I feel good about accomplishing.
So this year I decided to give up wearing make-up, wearing jewelry, and doing my hair (wearing it just down or in a ponytail- no styling and no product).
In essence, I’m committing myself to being ugly for 40 days.
I say “looking ugly” knowing that this is more likely how I feel than a reality. Every person is her own worst critic, and I do try to follow the same advice I give others: when someone compliments you, look them in the eye and try to receive it, etc. But I am also human, and I tend to think that I look like an ugly boy when I’m not wearing make-up. (I always welcome comments on my blog, but please don’t comment on my looks if you’re going to leave one. I am in no way fishing for compliments here, just trying to be transparent about my own body image.)
The purpose of going without make-up, jewelry, or hair styling during lent is twofold:
1- When I look in the mirror and feel ugly (which has already happened countless times just since the start of lent), I am forced to remember that my identity is in Christ, and not my looks, and not anything else.
2- The lent period is a period of preparation for Christ’s death. In biblical times, people were solemn during grief- not wearing jewelry, tearing their clothes, smearing dirt on their faces. . My days of ugly are intended to help me likewise mourn Christ’s death and identify with my sorrow over my sin which caused it.
So, I’m curious how this forty days will impact my view of myself, my view of God, and my relationship with God.
I’ll let you know in another 36 days.