UNEARTHLY THING◽ ENCOURAGEMENT
Does This Lipstick Go with My Fear and Anxiety?
by Angela Dolbear
Photo by AustinPro Photo, https://www.austinprophoto.com/
Red lipstick is one of my favorite things. It makes me feel dressed up, and put together.
Even during the current climate of social-distancing, with sparse other cosmetics applied to my face, I will go through the steps of applying red lipstick (see the quick “How To” guide at the end of this article). The pop of powerful color on my face suggests confidence. Even when I don’t feel it…like now.
I have so many tubes in varying shades of orange-red, true red, blue-based red, and even oxblood red. There is always a tube of red lipstick (and a matching red lip liner) in my handbag.
Today’s lippie is more of a coral red. It is the beginning of spring, and the color is vibrant, like the new leaves just sprouting on trees around my home in Nashville, TN. It matches the season perfectly.
The lipstick is a new sample I was excited to try from Guerlain, one of the oldest cosmetic companies in the business. Very pricey, and very French, but also, very lovely. I feel a little like Audrey Hepburn. Feminine, with a hint of feistiness.
Realistically, the “I can do it!” confidence that comes from wearing red lipstick originally stems from tapping into being who God has made me--a woman who unabashedly lives her love for vintage and retro style. Which in turn starts many conversations where I can bring up my faith! And how lovely it is when God brings me special gifts, like luxurious French lipstick for free.
I wish I was consistently aware of these gifts. But lately, not so much.
I live with chronic anxiety, like a creepy intrusive roommate. It’s a leftover side effect from a stroke I endured 2 years ago, which damaged the speech and language portion of my brain. Not good for a writer, but I can now testify with certainty that God is good, because He is healing me.
Ordinarily, I suppress the lurking disquieted uneasiness anxiety brings, since I know that it is not real. It’s just the chemicals in my brain playing evil scientist. But when a large and looming situation comes along, I am easily overwhelmed. Like now.
I feel it skulking inside me. Just below the surface. Anxiety, dense and arduous. I try to push it away. Shove it down.
At the time of writing this article, the COVID-19 quarantine persists, and will continue another month or more. This forces the anxiety back to the surface, where it tries to confine me in its thick prickly cloak.
News of the virus is everywhere. It has taken the lives of notable country music artists here in Nashville. I pray for it to leave the earth and take as few people with it as possible.
Last month, I wrote about a practical list of things to do in difficult circumstances called “A Practical Guide for surviving (and thriving through) most everything in life”(see April ARCHIVES). I read through the list, carefully applying each step like heavily pigmented dark crimson lip color.
The anxiety begins to break up. Its opaque smothering dissipates. It is another special gift from God when He speaks to you through your own writing!
Following the first point on the guide, I opened BibleGateway.com to a verse I heard in church last Sunday. In Luke 12:22-32, where Jesus describes how God provides for us:
And He said to His disciples, For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life,
as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.
For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.
Yes! I exclaim to myself. I make a mental note to post these words on my refrigerator, and also in my dressing room, in a fabulously big font, for inspiration and memorization. Jesus continues in the passage to illustrate His point:
Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them;
how much more valuable you are than the birds!
Wow. The Creator of the universe is telling me, and you, we are much more valuable to Him than we realize. Just wow.
Also, I love ravens. They are ominous creatures, with a distinctive call. Actually, I am drawn to most things with a gothic style. When I was 7 years old, I wanted to marry Eddie Munster, of The Munsters television show. I liked his house, and his parents were cool. And then Andy Gibb came along, and well, things changed…
I used to suppress my gothic style, especially at church. But God always reminds me to be myself. I am useful to Him when I am my true self. The main character in my first novel, The Garden Key shares this same experience (write what you know, right?).
Remembering all the times God has used me, especially for the good of others while I was being my original created self helps ease anxiety, because I can confidently say to myself,
God is good.
The rest of the verses in Luke 12:25-32 tells me not to worry—again! (I so need the repetition). I love when Jesus says, “Consider the lilies…” describing how magnificently He created them, and how much more God will lovingly and exquisitely cover me, His daughter.
Such beautiful words. Worry and anxiety don’t stand a chance against the big love the Father has for us. Such total care, given to us gladly by God.
Last Sunday, while “attending” online church during the COVID-19 quarantine, my pastor said that anxious fear and faith are incompatible. Fear and faith cannot dwell together. Whoa.
I have faith in Jesus, my Savior, so I ask myself, why all this fear and anxiety?
I have seen God provide for me so many times. Thanks to Instacart, my household is well stocked with good food during this stay-home mandate to help stop the spread of the virus. God has made it so neither my husband Tim, nor I, with a super compromised immune system due to Scleroderma, need to venture out into the world. We can do our part to stay in, and we are well-provided for. God is good.
I have faith. And I see the evidence of it. So all fear and anxiety needs to go. I will seek God’s kingdom (like now, as I write about it) and I will trust Him.
As our Earth proceeds on its journey around the Sun, and large space objects and meteors are hurdling and smashing about in the universe, we are kept safe by our Creator. Meanwhile He also clothes us, and feeds us, and cares for us in so many unimaginable ways. So I have true confidence in my Heavenly Father.
No need for red lipstick to feel confident and worry-free. It’s just for fun.
Photo by AustinPro Photo, https://www.austinprophoto.com/
A Quick how-to have lovely red lips all day (or at least until you eat something…I have never been able to eat and not need to reapply my lipstick after...):
Exfoliate your lips gently. Whenever my lips have been dry, I will lightly brush over then with my toothbrush while brushing my teeth.
Apply a lip balm. Just a little. I like Carmex. I dab my lips a little after application, to make sure it soaks in.
Apply a good concealer over your lips, and blend into your face. I only use timeBalm concealer by theBalm cosmetics (I use it under my eyes too – so good!). It’s a little pricey, but the company often has half-price sales. Sign-up for emails!
Apply red lip liner, with careful attention to your cupids’ bow. My favorite lip liner has been discontinued, so I am on the hunt for a viable candidate for replacement while I guard my back-up stock of my favie.
Apply your favorite red lipstick, directly with the tube, or use a lip brush. So many to choose from. Drug store brands are good, or go into (or shop online at home) Ulta or Sephora and treat yourself to the quality of a prestige brand like Becca or Urban Decay, or even Lancome (smells lightly of roses, so lady-like!). Again, sign-up for emails to get the heads-up on sales.
Hold a tissue (or a paper towel – less lint) up, and press it lightly between your lips. This will prevent lipstick from getting on your teeth.
Smile! You look lovely. And know you are loved hugely, by God Himself