What is Fasting? (And Why Am I Fasting From Makeup?)

Today should be day 7 of 40 of my makeup fast, but since I’ve already declared day 7 as a do-over, I thought I’d hijack today’s makeup-fast post, talk a little bit about fasting, specifically, and explain a bit why fasting from makeup is a step that I needed to take.

What Is Fasting, And Why Should I Fast?

“Fasting” (abstaining from all or some kinds of foods or drinks, especially as a religious observance) though common in the biblical times, is not as common among contemporary Christians. One reason, I think, is that we’ve forgotten (or never learned) why one might fast in the first place. I really like Jen Hatmaker’s explanation of fasting, in her book “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.” Jen explains

“A fast creates margin for God to move. Temporarily changing or routine of comfort jars us off high center. A fast is not necessarily something we offer God, but it assists us in offering ourselves.”

She also lists six circumstances in which one might initiate a fast to “summon God’s movement in [their] life:”

  • Mourning
  • Inquiry
  • Repentance
  • Preparation
  • Crisis
  • Worship

Fasting From Makeup

I can definitely identify with fasting for repentance. Jen Hatmaker sees fasting for repentance as “a tangible way to bow low and repent of greed, ungratefulness, ruined opportunities, and irresponsibility.” To which I say yes, yes, yes and yes. Though I consider myself as grateful and not greedy, upon further inspection, some of my habits prove the opposite. My dependency on makeup is just one example. In my greed for external beauty, I’ve spent hundreds of dollars and just as many hours applying makeup to cover-up and alter what God has given me.
What am I saying to God when I refuse to be seen without makeup on? What am I saying to others about God when I refuse to be seen without makeup on? If I was grateful for the face God gave me, would I feel ashamed of it? Would insist that I know better–that the world knows better–and feel incomplete without altering my appearance? I like to tell myself that I am grateful, but if I’m going to be honest: I’m not. I do not like my naked face, and I’m embarrassed to be seen in public without makeup.
I can also identify with fasting for preparation. If something as simple as being seen barefaced is such a challenge for me, how prepared am I to reflect God to the world? Through this fast, my prayer is that God will continue to equip me for whatever work he has set before me. This fast is one way that I can show him that I’m serious. That I want to be less concerned with myself, how I look, and how others perceive me, and more concerned with Him, his purposes, and his will for my life. That I am ready to set my earthly comfort and desires aside and follow Him wherever he leads.
It is in fasting for inquiry though, that I am already seeing the most dramatic change. Here is something I wrote before I started this fast:
“I feel as if I’m at a crossroads with my work, yet I can’t see a clear path ahead of me. I have a cloudy picture of where I might be headed, and I want to know for sure that it’s something God is calling me to do, not something that I simply want to do.”
I want to know whether it is God’s will that I pursue writing, and I want to know what he would have me say. And can I tell you something? God is making that cloudy picture I had very clear. He is faithfully answering my prayer.
The incredible response to the post “50 Shades of Magic Mike” is sudden and alarming proof. I finally agreed to step out in faith and say “yes” to the words God put on my heart, and, at the time of writing this, that single post has received more views and comments than my blog as a whole received LAST YEAR, or the year before that. God’s heart is all over that outpouring of support, the beautiful encouragement, and the strengthening correction I’ve received from my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I hope that explains some aspects of fasting a bit better, and you understand a little more why it is important that I’m abstaining from makeup for 40 days. And before you go telling me that I’m taking myself too seriously, I encourage you to read the very first post in my makeup-fast series. Many of your concerns will be addressed in that post, and it will save you the time of commenting on something that I’ve already discussed.
On a side-note, here’s the project I did at work yesterday, which is why I had to wear makeup and am calling day 7 a do-over.
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