Headcoverings and beauty

I’ve been using headcoverings in church and in prayer for a while now. People often ask me why I do it, and I have no special reason except that I feel called to. There was a lot of worry in the beginning as to what would happen when I started doing this. What sort of reaction would I get from other parishioners? The things I worried about never really seemed to happen, but a lot happened that I didn’t expect. The biggest of which is I did not expect people to find me beautiful when I was covering up my hair.

First and foremost are that I get comments that I am beautiful. I could do my hair for hours and perfect my makeup and get no acknowledgement, but if I throw a scarf over puffy hair and make no attempts to look beautiful — that’s when I get called beautiful.

Okay, maybe making funny faces ruins the effect of the headcovering!
Okay, maybe making funny faces ruins the effect of the headcovering!

Being called beautiful in this way is actually very humbling. Because it only happens when I’m wearing a headcovering, I know it’s not me that is beautiful. People may not be able to articulate it, but the beauty they see is not from me but, rather, from seeing the outward expression of devotion to God and obedience. Please note I said “outward expression” because I’m far from true obedience and devotion. But even just that outward expression — that glimmer and appearance — is something that people find beautiful.

 

No one would say, “I find obedience to God beautiful.” And, honestly, if I heard someone say that aloud in casual conversation, I might immediately judge that person to be in a less-than-canonical and probably-a-cult group, rather than mainstream Christianity. The words “obedience to God” rarely means what it says it means and, instead, means “obedience to what I say God says.”

But, lo and behold, actual obedience to the actual God based on scripture is something that we naturally find beautiful. Puffy eyes, no makeup, and pasty as a vampire — the beauty in obedience still shines.

Here’s a beautiful resource about headcovering: headcoveringmovement.com and I hope to post more here, too. If you’re interested in getting started, I like using light weight infinity scarves. Not only are they probably already in your wardrobe, but they can be used for other things, too. Here’s some examples:  

Volunteering when Poor

It’s easy to feel like you’re poor. So much around us is urging us to want more and more. But, if you’re sitting here writing (me) or reading (you) this post, it’s likely you’re not as poor as it feels sometimes. It can feel oppressive and trapped.

With so much telling us that we are poor, is there anything we can do to fight back? To make our mark in the sand and say — no, I am richly blessed by got.

The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it. Proverbs 10:22

At least for me, it’s volunteering and giving. I’m not in a financial position to tithe now (but when I did, it was such a blessing, and that will be a post for later), but I volunteer. Taking time which could be used to make money and, instead, offering it to others reminds us that we actually have so much in our lives. We have so much to give.

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16

I am a professional in the web hosting business. I have years of expertise that it more than good enough to deserve payment. But I’m giving that to the church. For me, these actions are easy and repetitious, but for my local parish, they’re difficult and expensive. I might not have money to give, but I have time (which is worth a value on the market) and I’m giving that.

And it sounds so altruistic but it feels good. It feels good because this is the kind of thing that God asks us to do, and doing God’s will feels good inwardly. So please don’t be taken over my despair when financial pressures are squeezing you in so tight. Instead, take an inventory of everything you have, including money but not overlooking skills and items. I feel that when you take full stock, you’ll find that God has given you so much and has done so for you to then give so much as well.

Why it is good to do something frivolous — the lie of productive

It’s easy to take a look around Pinterest or Facebook and see “side hustle” and “how to make money.” These posts are right beside other posts talking about not having enough time to spend with your own children. Let’s be honest — society wants us doing things, productive things, and doesn’t want us to sit idle.

Watercolor work in progress

And there’s some, small, truth to that. There’s a small truth to every good lie. Just sitting around idle constantly is laziness and isn’t a virtue by any means. But in Psalm 46:10, we are asked to “be still” so let’s take a closer look at what’s going on here.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

Certainly, we’re not being asked to be lazy (the Bible has a lot to say about being lazy, especially in Proverbs), but we’re also clearly being asked to pause for a moment.

What are we doing when we are trying to accomplish this “side hustle” or drive the kids around to 8 different activities a week? Under the guise of “productivity” we are actually trying to take control of the situation.

Watercolors

It’s easy to notice this when times are stressful and it’s obvious we’re not in control. But more dangerous are when times are good and easy. The self says, “Look, I can put together a side-business on Etsy and make this money all on my own.” You see, by staying busy it’s easy to think that things are happening just because of the business. “If I work harder and harder things will get better.”

But, instead, God asks us to stop being busy (“Be still”) and acknowledge him as supreme (“and know that I am God” and “I will be exalted”).

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” Colossians 3:23

Is starting that side hustle for the glory of God, or for your own glory (“Look what I can do!”). Especially when, at the same time, it’s proving difficult to find time for the things God has already asked to be done.

But this pull to “do things” doesn’t come from nowhere. We are meant to be productive. But society tries to turn our being into a commodity. It wants our work not to be for the glory of God, but to be for the glory of the business or to create a more voracious consumer.

Even now, as I type this, there’s a little section below where I type in WordPress telling me how “SEO-friendly” (search engine optimization) this post is. As this post is just being drafted, it’s being graded on how well it will be able to pull people into the blog — how useful it will be to the blog. We’re treated no differently. We’re constantly being graded on how useful we are and how much we do.

Staying so busy keeps us from enjoying God’s creation. The weird little hobbies and activities that do not produce income or
are unlikely to produce income. Essentially, what society says “don’t quit your day job.”

Watercolor art of a hand

It shouldn’t all be about our income though. There is a time to work, but we are also asked to pause and enjoy the beauty and greatness of God and his creation. “Silly” little hobbies like painting or hiking. Things that “make no money.” Things just for enjoyment.

I ask that you do not feel guilty for enjoying enjoyable activities. Art was not created for you to feel guilty about enjoying it. Nature was not created for you to feel guilty for appreciating it. Take a moment to be still and widen your life beyond “productivity.”