Following up from my last blog post (you can find it here)…
4) ARE YOU USING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS?
Each person’s skin is different. Though there are similarities – and on the grand scale the skin design is the same – we are all unique. That being said, this is the downside to skin care. No one product will work for everyone. Or even for your whole face (ahem – combination skin types). Or necessarily for a long period of time (sometimes the skin adapts and you have to change products). This is where knowing your skin and being knowledgable about ingredients and their purpose comes in handy (or at least have a chart that breaks it down for you). For instance, you don’t want to put a product on your face with ingredients that control and limit oil if your skin is already really dry. (Duh.) The problem is that most of the time we aren’t knowledgeable. (I know I was pretty clueless.) That’s when we fall into the trap of buying products that aren’t good for our skin type or are just part of the newest “skin trends.” It might actually be an amazing product, but it may not work for you. We get so desperate, or we’re just clueless, that we’ll fall for anything. Ladies, how many products have we bought that have just been plain duds (ok, let’s not keep count…)? They promised to do exactly what we wanted, and even the packaging looked inspiring and hopeful – but when we tried them the result was less than pleasing. We check reviews online (all or mostly negative) and realize that we’ve bought into a scam. Why didn’t we do more research first? Why did we buy on impulse? Job well done, marketing team. Bravo.
So in our lives, where have we bought into scams? Everything around us promises to fulfill us, to make us happy, to make our lives easier, to give us peace, to fix our problems, to make the pain go away. Things like the newest electronics, the coolest car, killer careers, an amazing house, beauty and fashion, or that guy you think is so amazing. No? What about these: the approval of people, your ministry, your friends, drugs, online shopping, revenge, your hobbies, your favorite tv shows, pornography, your workout routine, politics, medicine, alcohol, music, a family, food, sports, travel? Still no? Hmm, how about these then: feminism, the world’s claim that you can choose to be whoever or whatever you want to be, ”me-time”, religion, or – my personal favorite – “follow your heart”? Any of these ring a bell? Now, I’m not saying that all of these things are bad in and of themselves. In fact, some are necessary for life and relationship, or are good for being healthy, etc. What I am saying is that none of these things – I repeat, NONE – can or ever will fulfill us or do any of the things the world promises they will do.
The ONLY place where we find true and lasting fulfillment, joy, hope, peace, love, restoration and shelter is in the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s it. If you don’t believe me then feel free to try everything listed above. Maybe you already have. If that’s the case then the chances are you feel empty and broken. I know how you feel. I’ve been there – I think we all have. So I can tell you from experience that Jesus is the only one who has successfully healed my wounds, bound my brokenness, brought me peace in the midst of complete chaos, loved me when I was unloveable, was faithful when I felt abandoned, and satisfied my soul. He is the only one who has willingly given His life for me. He’s the only one who has taken on the full punishment for my sins – past, present and future. He’s the only one who has given me victory, because of His death and resurrection. He’s the only one who knows the depths of my heart, even more so than I do myself. He’s the only one whose kindness has led me to repentance. He’s the only one who has fought and won for me. He’s the only one who deserves my life – not a portion of it, but the whole thing. He’s the ONLY ONE. There is no one and nothing else that can do what He has done. And it’s the same for you. He’s the only one who makes good on His promises. We can look everywhere and try everything, but without Jesus our souls remain starved. (John 4:7-26; John 6:32-35; Psalm 107:4-9).
5) YOU’LL GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN
I’m sure you’ve heard this one before. What you put – or don’t put – in your body is reflected in your skin. Too much sugar? Acne. Not enough water? Extra dry, maybe even patchy, skin. Lots of water and healthy foods? Radiant skin. You get the point – this one is pretty easy. So what’s in you? Is it kindness? Is it an infatuation with some guy? Is it anger? Is it the desire to be “hot stuff”? Is it patience? Is it a sailor’s mouth? Is it gossip? Is it the Word of God? This is the point where we can easily become a pharisee and get tangled up in legalism. Legalism is definitely not part of the heart of God – but neither is an undisciplined life. This is where we have to be mindful and attentive to the Spirit of God on a moment by moment basis so that we are aware when He prompts us that something we are doing, saying or thinking about isn’t pleasing or honoring to the Father. Or maybe something is ok for everyone else right now, but it’s just not healthy for you personally in your current season. This is a simple and short point, but vitally important so I did not want to skip over this one. Be mindful of what you are allowing in, because that will produce the fruit of your life. (Mark 7:14-23; Proverbs 4:23; Proverbs 27:19; Matthew 12:33-35).
6) SURFACE LEVEL OR GOING DEEP
When you cleanse your face what are you trying to accomplish? Are you just trying to clean off the oil, dirt, and makeup of the day from the surface of your skin, or are you thinking about the surface as well as the “depths” of your skin? Or do you not care at all? Sometimes we just go for cleansing the surface because we’re lazy when it comes to skin care and sometimes it’s simply because we don’t know any better. I was actually a combination of the two – both lazy and skin ignorant – and when I was a teen I gave up caring since nothing I tried ever cleared up my skin. So I figured why try at all. But once I started to learn and understand more about the skin and what goes on both on and underneath the surface I began to take action. I took simple beginner steps (steps like identifying my skin type, identifying issues I deal with often, choosing the correct cleansers for me, and beginning to discipline myself in a regular routine) in order to cleanse and care for my skin properly (and with a prevention mindset!).
It is the same in our lives with the Lord. Are we concerned only with what people can see, or do we give Him full access to cleansing the deep places of our lives, or do we not care at all? This relates back to the “quick fix vs. the long run” that I mentioned earlier. “Cleansing” only the surface level of our lives won’t prove to be very effective or healthy for us in the long run. Actually, all of the issues that are there will only get worse with time. If you don’t see them now, just wait, they’ll show their nasty heads in the future and you’ll wonder how they got there “overnight” as well as how you can make them disappear overnight. But you can’t. It would now be a long process you’ll have to walk through to dig out all of that deep-seated dirt that you let build up under the surface. But take heart! If this is you, don’t be discouraged. Where the Enemy would love to see this bring shame to your life and push you further from the Father, use it as an opportunity to draw closer to Him. It’s not too late, I promise! It will be a process to let Him uproot all that has gone untended, but it will be worth it! (Matthew 23:25-26; Psalm 139:23-24).
Then what does it look like to give Jesus full access to the deep places of our lives? I’m glad you asked, because this ties in perfectly with my next point.
7) GOING TO THE SPECIALIST
There are times when an issue on our skin needs special attention and care, or maybe we just want to better understand our skin, so we go to a dermatologist or an esthetician. They observe our skin or – better yet – put us under a black-light to reveal any possible damage under the skin that can’t be seen with the naked eye until years later as a larger problem if it remains untreated.
Jesus is our Specialist. He wants us to come to Him when there is an issue that needs taken care of. Even if we can’t see anything, He wants us to come to Him so that He can put us under the black-light of His Word to reveal any inklings of sin that might be subtle, yet growing, under the surface. If we’ll just let Him do this, then He will give us the prescription we need to get rid of it. In other words, by His great kindness He will lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4) and allow His Holy Spirit to guide us throughout the day to help us take the steps necessary to walk out of the sin habit that was beginning to take root. If we stay in His Word, He will continually help us to renew our minds. Are you willing? Will you let Jesus into the deep, unseen places? He is the safest, most knowledgable, and most trustworthy Specialist there is. He’s waiting for you. Oh, and you don’t have to make an appointment and you won’t have to wait in line – just walk right in. (Psalm 51:1-2 & 7; 1 John 1:5-10; Matthew 8:2-3).
So what’s the outcome of learning about your skin, purchasing the right products for it, and staying disciplined in your cleansing routine and eating habits? Although it will never be absolute, one hundred percent perfection (sorry, we are human after all), the result will be clean, smooth, radiant skin (yay!). And what’s the outcome of seeking Jesus, letting Him cleanse us and digesting His Word every day? A woman (or man – if you’re still reading this, gents) after His own heart. As I said before, these are just a few of the points the Lord has shown me recently, and my hope is that they have encouraged and challenged you as they have me. I’ve heard some say that this is a scary prayer – and it is, because I know the Lord will answer it. But my desire is that my heart, and yours, would be like King David’s when he said:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24).