Thursday, March 5, 2015

Testimony of Christian modesty: What made me decide to stop using cosmetics

 Je dédie ce témoignage de ma sœur bien-aimée Caroline et sa mère

Today, I'd like to share with you how God has guided me to stop using cosmetics.And especially,I want to dedicate this article to my little French sister Caroline, who is "striving to enter the narrow gate (Luke 13:24)" regarding cosmetics and modesty.I also deeply appreciate my Japanese sister Sanae who knows French and kindly explain to me about the contents of Caroline’s French blog.

Cosmetics had been my necessities for many years. It was necessary partly because I did not have confidence in my appearance and partly because I thought it was a social norm which we should follow.

One day, as I was trying to curl my eyelashes in front of the mirror, a question came into my mind;

“Why am I trying to curl my eyelashes upward with difficulties? You see, my Asian eyelashes want to go downward and you are forcing them to go upward. I was not born like a French doll which has long curly eyelashes. I was born as Japanese. So how come you are trying to show yourself something different than your actual self?”

And I said to myself; Our Creator created me like this with His wisdom. He created my straight-short-downward eyelashes and thought “it was good.” Is it one part of our reverence and worship toward God when we simply accept how we were created and preserve them as they are without affectation?

So I decided to not tamper with my eyelashes anymore and let them be as they are. After a while, I thought about face powder and rouge on my cheek.

“Our Creator who is definitely the best artist decided my skin color like this. It is not snow-white like that of Western ladies. But this yellow color must be the best fit for me. Also, isn’t it more awesome and natural if my cheek blushes out of natural bashfulness than because of artificial rouge?”

Thus I said good-bye to my cosmetics one by one.

Against internal and external falsity and pretense

Pretense, falsity and hypocrisy can exist not only on our exterior but also in our hearts. So, even if we don’t makeup, God still displeases when our hearts are full of pretense and hypocrisies.

However, it is also true that our external changes influence our inner beings. (ex. You can read Tessa’s testimony on long hair and short hair here). After stopping cosmetics, I felt I could behave more naturally toward myself and toward others. I noticed that others also found it easier to approach me than before.

Of course, our spirituality does not necessarily depend on our using/not using cosmetics. But it certainly affects our inner and outer person to some degree. For me, abstinence from cosmetics has brought more freedom and consistency. It’s like I am facing God, people and myself without any artificial mask.

wild birds : source

We find deep rest in nature because there is no artificiality in it. Trees and birds are worshiping God as they are created. I also want to worship our Creator by simply accepting everything about my attributes as they are.

Make me like Thy clear air

Through which, unhindered,
colors pass

As though it were not there.

Powers of the love of God,
 Depths of the heart Divine,

O Love that faileth not,
break forth

And flood this world
of Thine.

-Amy Carmichael

Thank you for reading my testimony.

Words of Early Christians regarding cosmetics and modesty.
"Do not paint your face, which is God's workmanship. For there is no part of you that lacks beauty. For God has made all things very good. But the wanton extra adorning of what is already good is an affront to the Creator's work."  ---Apostolic Constitutions (compiled A.D.390), Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol 7, p 395. 
"Nor are the women to smear their faces with the ensnaring devices of wily cunning. But let us show to them the decoration of sobriety."  ---Clement of Alexandria (A.D.195), ANF, Vol 2, p286. 
"Both sexes alike should be admonished that the work of God and His fashioning and formation should in no manner be adulterated-either with the application of yellow color, black dust, rouge, or with any kind of cosmetic....God says, 'Let us make man in our image and likeness.' Does anyone dare to alter and change what God has made?"  ---Cyprian (A.D.250), ANF, Vol 5, p 434. 
"O good matrons, flee from the adornment of vanity...Overcome the evil one, O modest women of Christ!"  ----Commodianus (A.D. 240), ANF, Vol 4, p 214.
       "How unworthy the Christian name, to wear a fictitious face!"
       ---Tertullian,On the Apparel of Women, bk.2, ch.5

What the Early Christians Believed About Modest Dress & Cosmetics