The No-Makeup Spiritual Discipline
by Sharon Hodde Miller
Why going out in public without mascara and blush is an act of Christian discipleship (for me, anyway).
About a week before Christmas, I decided to join my husband’s family for an entire day of shopping. I got ready for the day with my usual routine of showering, blow-drying my hair, and picking out an outfit, but there was one difference: I left the house without an ounce of makeup on my face.
“Today I am going out without makeup on as an act of Christian discipleship!” I announced to my in-laws upon entering the living room. My confidence flagged, however, as soon as I walked in the first store. I vainly wanted to tell the salespeople, “I don’t normally look like this”—as if they were concerned. Eventually I adjusted to the change, but the entire time I kept asking myself, Why do I feel naked without makeup?
In order to answer that question, let me retrace some steps. It all began with a book by Maria Harris titled Dance of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Women’s Spirituality. Harris, a Catholic professor of religious education, bucked linear models of human development and offered a more organic, true-to-life framework of spiritual development. As Harris conceived of it, a woman’s spiritual growth is more like a dance than a straight path: She moves forward, sometimes backward, and often repeats the same moves over and over throughout the course of her life. Indeed, Harris’s gender-inclusive language and her discomfort with accepted Christian traditions would make any evangelical cast a wary eye. Even so, in the course of my doctoral research at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, I have found myself rather inspired by her surprising voice.
Harris termed the first stage of a woman’s spiritual dance awakening, which is best compared to the scriptural concept of daily renewal. Romans 12:2 instructs Christians to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” and 2 Corinthians 4:16 reminds us that “inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” This seems to be what Harris had in mind as she encouraged women to awaken to God, and their identity in him, on a daily basis.
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SOURCE: Christianity Today