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Ask Jani: “Makeup, the Outward Appearance, and Vanity”

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Episode Synopsis

One young mom sends in a thoughtful question regarding teaching her daughters about true beauty, vanity, and make-up. Another young mom struggles with guilt over buying pretty things for herself. How can we think biblically about these issues?

Audio Transcript

Jani: Hello, everyone. Welcome. I’m so glad you’ve tuned in to another podcast at He Restores My Soul. Today rather than our regular discipleship lesson, we’re going to do an Ask Jani. I’ve been receiving a lot of questions from you wonderful listeners, I thank you. I honor you for taking the time to write in. Any of you who would like to are welcome to go to our website at herestoresmysoul.org and click on the Ask Jani and feel free to send in a question if you have one.

A Quick Note To Discipleship Groups

Jani: If your discipleship group is meeting, you can do it one of two ways you can take a week off for fall break. I know my group is taking their fall break this week. And so we can’t meet because many are out of town. Or you can gather and listen to this as a group and discuss it. If you do get together, make sure leaders to go over your assignment, your Bible study assignment and your prayers. That one written prayer you were going to write out this week, the book that you’re reading through those kind of things. Make sure and have some accountability with each other. And you’ll also want to share prayer requests, new prayer requests and spend time in prayer with each other. But you might find it interesting to just sit around your phone or however you listen to the podcast and listen to these questions and then discuss them. What would your answer be to these questions?

Question 1: How to talk about makeup and other cosmetics with my daughters?

Jani: The first one is from a listener who’s a young mom. And this is what she says:

Jani: “For quite a while now. I have been struggling with knowing how to talk about makeup, and other cosmetics with my daughters. I have three beautiful little girls, ages four, two and nine months. I might say on the side, what a busy mama. Oh, the Lord bless you in that. My oldest has astutely noted that I never put on makeup unless we’re headed to church or it’s a very special occasion, like date nights, which she says admittedly are rare. I talk regularly with my girls about how much God doesn’t make any ugly people. So no one is the prettiest and no one is ugly. We’re all made in the image of God and that’s why we’re all so beautiful. But then, I ask myself, why do I wear makeup and why for church? I feel like quite a hypocrite. And when I examine my motives for wearing makeup, I find mostly vanity. I’ve wrestled with stopping altogether but then I start to worry that I’m getting carried away or that I’m turning myself and one day maybe my daughters into strange anti-makeup Pharisees. I’m sorry for giggling here as I read this. This is a serious question really. Meanwhile, my daughters of course, love dressing up and they beg me for kids play makeup. My question is, where do we cross the line from normal God-given desires for loveliness and fall into vanity, pride, and competition with our sisters in Christ?”

Jani: Oh, my that’s an important question in many ways, isn’t it? Let me answer it in a couple ways.

A Moving Line

Jani: First of all, with some comments and then with some scriptures. I believe it’s an individual line for each one of us. And it’s a moving line as well. It won’t always be in the same place. We do need to teach our daughters you know, in my day it was how short should your skirt be? It was the day the mini skirt. There’s always something to teach the younger women in our life, about how their appearance can represent Jesus to others.

Jani: Now, let me ask this listener and others of you who have this question, why do you wear makeup at all? She’s wondering, should I wear it? Should I wear it for church or not? Why do I just like to wear it for church? Well, let me ask you this. Why do you comb your hair? Well, why do you have mirrors in your home to check your appearance before you go out? Well, I think because the way we look is not totally a function of vanity. It’s also a function of honoring others. Now we can err on the side of vanity, of course, we’re such lopsided Christians because we live in a world of sin. But what we want to do is raise little girls to become women who love Jesus, both with wisdom and freedom. We don’t want to chain them down and always make them wonder if they’re doing the right thing.

Jani: You talked in your question about vanity, that means having excessive pride in yourself. We don’t want that. The Lord. Lord doesn’t smile on that. But I think he does smile on his daughters looking their best. I mean, think of all the times beautiful women are mentioned in the Bible. Think of Sarah, in Genesis 12, Abraham talks about her beauty, or Abigail, in 1 Samuel 25, she was known as a discerning and beautiful woman. Or think of Solomon. In his book, The Song of Solomon, chapter four, verse seven, he says,

You were all together beautiful.

Song of Solomon 4:7

Jani: Now surely, God would not include these references, and these are just a few of them, about women being beautiful. If that was distasteful to him, or something that we should never talk about, or notice, we can’t help but notice that. So let’s not make our daughters feel guilty if they notice beauty, and they would like to present themselves as beautifully as they can. As long as it doesn’t become excessive, and I think that’s what this mother’s concern is. She doesn’t want it to become excessive in her little girls.

Jani: Well, I think one of the ways you can do that is just relaxing yourself, go ahead and wear makeup if you want. I think it’s great to look your best when you go to church. Think of the priests in the Old Testament, there was a whole chapter in Exodus, Exodus 28, dedicated to their garments, for beauty and for glory. The Bible says in Exodus 28:2 so the Lord had some idea that when his people came to worship Him, He wanted them to appear in beautiful ways to him, he wanted them to pay attention to their outward appearance when they came to worship.

The Importance of the Heart

Jani: I do think that along with this, it is a wonderful idea to teach our children, both our little boys and our little girls, that from 1 Samuel 16:7, “Man looks on the outward appearance.”

Jani: But the heart is so much more important. The Lord looks on the heart. So you can even comment to your little girls. “Well, mommy does have on her makeup, and I’d like to wear makeup. But that’s not the most important thing about mommy today. When I go to church, the Bible says God is looking at my heart, and I want my heart to be right before him.” Or you could talk about 1 Peter 3 where the Lord talks about the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. How this outward beauty is going to fade. Maybe your little girls have a grandmother who is growing older, as I am my granddaughters can see that my hair is white and I still wear makeup, but I’m looking older now to them.

Jani: There is an imperishable beauty though that won’t fade, that won’t wrinkle that won’t turn gray. In a sense, it can grow as we learn to love Jesus.

Final Thought

Jani: So my answer to this mom of where to draw that line is you decide yourself where to draw that line. But try to be reasonable with your little girls. I want you to know that I gave our daughter play makeup and she grew up to love Jesus with all her heart. I sometimes bring play makeup, to our five granddaughters. We talk about it, and it’s fun to play with. I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. As long as you’re not over emphasizing physical beauty. Let’s present ourselves well. Let’s do everything we can to be attractive to those around us. But let’s remember that the important thing is our inner spirit, our inner beauty, because that’s what the Lord looks on. Thank you for this question, Elizabeth.

Question 2: Is it okay to spend our limited money on myself?

Jani: Now, here’s another question from another young mom. This mom lives overseas in Northern Ireland. Thank you so much for listening in over there. We’re glad to have listeners I hear from you around the world. It’s so interesting to me how this podcast can broadcast around the world. And I thank you for listening.

Jani: This mother says she has one small question. But I think it really is a question of great importance. It’s one I’ve had to deal with and struggle with throughout my life. Maybe you dear listener, are too. She says this.

Jani: “I’m married to a pastor. We are in a small congregation with a small salary. As a woman, I like to have pretty things for my house and nice clothes to wear. But whenever I buy new things for myself, I feel so guilty about it, that I send almost everything back. My husband thinks I’m being ridiculous, and should keep the things I buy. But I struggle to allow myself to buy the odd thing as I feel I’m wasting our money and I I feel that money should be spent on better things or given to the Lord’s work. [Here’s one sentence listener I want you to pay attention to.] I can’t shake the guilt I have over it. And then I usually end up resentful. Is there any wisdom you can give me in this area? I read that in Proverbs 31. The woman wore clothing like fine linen in purple, meaning she was a well dressed lady. I’ve even heard of of some wives being given a monthly allowance. Is this something right to consider? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.”

If you’re married, trust your spouse

Jani: Well, Hannah, thank you for writing in. So kind of you and it’s a question I’ve had to deal with. I’m sure many of our listeners have as well. There are a couple things I want to say. First of all, if you are married, Hannah is obviously some of our listeners are not and may still struggle with spending money on themselves. The small thing as Hannah calls it. If you are married, though, listen to your husband. If he thinks it’s ridiculous, it probably is. He’s the one that’s working so hard. You say you’re at home full time with your baby. He’s the one that’s working so hard to provide for you. If he’s anything like my husband, Ray, he is happy when I get something that I really like. It makes him feel like he’s a good provider and just thrills him. So if your husband thinks it’s ridiculous, listen to that. Don’t scoff at that.

The Pain of False Guilt

Jani: Secondly, how do I say this? I I think that we as women can struggled with a false guilt. Maybe I should put it this way. Jani Ortlund often struggles with false guilt.

Jani: Let me describe it to you this way. We live in a limited world. The only unlimited thing in this whole world is God. Everything else has a limit. I have limited time. I have limited physical energy and emotional energy and money, financial resources, intellectual ability, I am a woman with limits. So are you.

Jani: Now, that means that the time I spend fussing in my heart over whether I should have bought this or not, is this wrong? Is it right? Does it please my husband? Does it please the Lord, and then you think you solve it, but you haven’t really so you go back the next morning and think it over again and it dogs you all day, that kind of thing. I believe you might be wasting your emotional energy because it is limited. So let’s be careful how we spend our emotional energy? Is buying a small thing a sin? Well, I don’t know, it may be. I tend to think it isn’t in itself, especially if you have your husband’s blessing on it.

Jani: The way I tried to figure out if something I’m feeling guilty about is a false guilt, either in my own mind, or actually even from Satan. Or if it’s a real guilt that I need to bring before the Lord is this, I ask myself this question: is this thought, or word or action, something that Jesus had to die for? Did this thought or action, this spending of money actually drive the nails into his hands or feet? If not, then it’s probably a false guilt and I don’t want to waste any more time and energy on it. I just want to be free to enjoy it. If Jesus didn’t have to die for it, then I don’t need to feel any guilt over it.

Jani: If he did have to die for it, then come to him. I just need to come to him, run to him and confess it, and ask him to change my heart and forgive me, and then get up and move on.

Jani: So dear Hannah, I just want to ask you to leave your guilt at the foot of the cross. And if Jesus is convicting you of it, then confess it. Always arms are wide open. If Satan is the one who is dogging you about this, then stand firm against the wiles of the devil, and rejoice that you have a little money to spend on yourself and enjoy it. Let’s not be women who struggle over false guilt. We live in a limited world, and we have very limited personal resources ourselves. The Lord knows that and he will restore our souls as we look to Him. God bless you.

Thank You

Thank you for joining us today. This podcast is generously funded through Renewal Ministries. If you would like to discover more about Jani and Ray’s ministry or make a donation, visit their website at renewalministries.com. If you have a question for Jani or would like to learn more about this podcast, please visit our website at herestoresmysoul.org.

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About The Podcast

He Restores My Soul with Jani Ortlund seeks to encourage women with God’s renewing power for their busy lives. Episodes include relevant biblical teaching, stimulating gospel conversations with other Christians, and “Ask Jani” sessions where we talk about what’s on our listeners’ hearts.

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