Fast Forward

It's been a little over a week since my makeup fast ended, with my suddenly busy schedule and the holidays and everything I didn't have a chance to record my thoughts. But now things have slowed down and I can take a second to review what I've learned and discovered.

1. My focus on how I portray myself seriously detracts from how I portray my God. The scriptures are full of examples of how a face all on its own can speak of the Lord and I'm too concerned with making my face speak of something so much more selfish its quite frankly a little disgusting. There's nothing sinful about my love of makeup or feeling pretty, but there is something sinful about my neglect. I have neglected giving God the opportunity to be seen in me, I have neglected to choose Him, to be more about Him than I am about myself. In the Bible a changed countenance started with an experience, an encounter. During this fast I used the time I normally spend applying my eyeshadow and I created space for the Lord, I invited Him to make an encounter, and He showed up. I think the most powerful thing I learned, or relearned, is how easy it is to spend time with God. All we have to do is ask and He is eager to be there. And it is impossible to convey God without encountering Him, it is impossible to be about Him without those intimate moments with Him.

And 2. As a Christian I hold certain beliefs, heck as a human I hold certain beliefs. I believe human life is precious. I believe this planet was a gift. I believe that I am responsible for my actions. And I believe that my money is part of the equation in all three of these instances. During my fast I spent time really researching the companies I buy cosmetics from, what they did, how they ran, who owned them and what those companies did and how they ran. The information out there on things like who has their packaging made in sweatshops in China or who is using a production process that is polluting the water of the city they operate in can be hard to find. It's inconvenient and time consuming to find it. But it's also important. The more money I give to a company who does things the shady way, the more they are going to produce and there will be nothing to make them reevaluate their policies. The reality is many of the major cosmetic companies have zero transparency when it comes to supply chain, supplier supervision and enforcement of policies. Meaning that a company may not test on animals or use harmful chemicals in their makeup, but they also won't tell you exactly how they make or from where they get the plastic containers that hold all their makeup. Which usually means its done in a way that is technically legal but deplorable. So the question becomes does my love of lipstick trump my beliefs? Does my conviction only extend as far as what is convenient? Or does the call the Lord places on all Christians to be champions for the poor and mistreated extend this far?

For me the answer is yes.

I can't put my frivolousness over the very lives Christ called me to protect. And it doesn't just extend to makeup. Our lives are filled with products and companies that save us time and are convenient and on the other end of that convenience is a human life we are taking advantage of, a town being polluted for the sake of our comfort, a natural resource being depleted in an irreparable way. And I cannot claim to love and follow God, and still financially support that kind of activity.

I hate hard lines, they're impossible to stick to and beget more guilt than anything else. So I can't say I will never be guilty of indulgence or taking the cheap and convenient way out, because somehow this social responsibility has to balance itself with fiscal responsibility and living within my means, but I will try, from here on out, the very best that I can, to be socially responsible across the board, to convey Christ across the board, to be a champion for the mistreated, the poor, the defenseless, and the planet, His gift to us that were trashing.

So that is the end of my makeup fast journey. I still love makeup, I still wear makeup, and will still buy makeup, but I won't buy it till I'm out, and when I do it will be from a company that meets certain criteria. And I won't depend on that makeup to convey something about myself, rather depend on God to use me to convey something about Him.

If you have curiosity about the companies you're buying from and their social and ethical responsibility, here are some places you can go to find out:

www.goodguide.com
www.organicconsumers.org
www.ethicalconsumer.org
www.ecosalon.com (this one is no longer actively posting but still has good resources)
www.csrhub.com
www.free2work.org (this one is also an app and its amazing)