We all have something unique to our person that rubs other people wrong sometimes. Perhaps it’s a quality that other people do not get. Maybe it’s a quirky sense of humor or a different way we view the world. A lot of times qualities magnetize us to our friends but repel us from others. Know what I mean?
Here’s an example from my own life. It is sort of trivial, but i think its typical of life.
I have blonde hair. Long blonde hair. Naturally blonde hair. Its not white blonde hair. Just darker golden blonde hair. Every summer it bleaches out and I get natural highlights. Every winter it darkens. I like long hair. Oh sure I’d love to be able to pull off a pixie cut or something really stylish but my personal style is long and free. And yeah I don't have the boxy jawline to pull one of those cuts off. That’s just me. It’s funny though because having long blonde hair has always been a topic of conversation with women in my life. From my grandma who always rejoiced over the chocolate brown curls that cascaded off my sisters shoulders and then there was Somer over there with “that blonde hair.”
“You need to cut your hair.” Has been something I’ve heard on the regular. I remember being in highschool choir class and routinely hearing girls discuss my hair a little too loudly. “Look at her hair. It needs to be cut. It would look so much better.” I’d pretend not to notice.
It made me start to think that it was ugly. That I didn’t have nice hair and it was one of my negative qualities.
I finally decided to chop it all off. I was with a group of girls at a beach house after graduation with a 2 dollar pair of scissors. All that hair encircled the floor and I found out I had wavy hair. I loved it. Later I ran into one of those girls from high school at the movies (that never let me forget that I needed a haircut.) I wanted her to see my ugly hair was now gone. And of course she didn’t notice. I was a little baffled by that.
I’ve had short hair cuts three times (one adorable one and two horrendous ones – like paper bag over head worthy). I’ll sum it up by saying, It’s not me. I suppose when I’m older and grayer perhaps I’ll have to readjust but it’s not my style. Could be that I cannot use a curling iron to save my life. So any hair cuts that demand a style don't work for me.
Here’s an interesting observation I’ve learned. That one thing that many girls told me to get rid of was the thing that drove my husband crazy when I met him. Funny, huh?
He looked for my hair. I guess blonde hair that was hanging waist long wasn’t the norm. I hadn’t really noticed. I had just been preoccupied with what it wasn’t.
I’ve went through phases where I’ve wanted to color it a rich brown and see what I’d be like as a brunette. When I’ve asked my husband his eyes have said, “Please no.”
It used to be something that bothered me. If everyone else seemed to think I was more lovely in short hair, why didn’t he?
Recently I was around one of those girls again. A friend, but someone who has always had the negative to say to me about my appearance. You know about what size I’m wearing and “that long blonde hair”.
I discussed it with my husband the other night. “What’s up with my hair? Why do women have something to say?” He listened and nodded. He told me that when he spent six months checking me out and contemplating talking to me a girl had said the same thing to him "Look at her hair." And he had replied, “I think its awesome.” I smiled big picturing his 18 year old guy response.
I’m getting to the point of all of this now.
I’ve decided that my long dark blonde hair is something that I like. And I’m not going to go change because a group of women have always acted like it was a bad thing. I’m keeping it because the one who loves me most decided a long time ago that he loved that part of me. Deeply. It set me apart to him.
Do you know that God is like that too? There are things about our lives, our stories. our persons, our talents, our gifts, our perspectives that seem to be negative. Perhaps other people make us think that they somehow disqualify us. Are better left hidden. And even though they set us apart we decide to be like me and go chop it off. Alter it. Fit into someone else’s mold of who we should be.
Jesus leaves us with a lot of freedom in Himself to be who He formed us to be.
I’ve thought before that just like my husband values something in me that others don’t, there are parts of me that Jesus values deeply that others won’t. And that’s okay. Some of my quirks and imperfections are what allows His glory to shine through the brightest.
I like the way that Stasi Eldredge refers to this idea of cookie cutterism (new word J) “Putting on spiritual and emotional Spanx, I tried to squeeze myself into what I believed was a more acceptable form.” She uses this term to describe a time in her life when she came to Christ and she believed she had to abandon her unique personality to be a follower of Christ. She didn’t realize that surrendering our heart to Him doesn’t mean we lose all of our uniqueness. It means we “grow increasingly into who we are uniquely in Christ.” Becoming Myself.
I like that. After all, God doesn’t dislike me, He loves me. He wants to free me from the sin, but He doesn’t want to erase the me He made. He wants to make me more into His original design, His creative expression.
There are some molds I don’t fit into. I do not stress about house cleaning, I cannot bake cookies at all, I can’t sew and whenever I do crafts they resemble first grade art class. I don’t desire to run a marathon – I’d rather lift a bunch of weights. I am not a saleswoman. I love nachos and I hate shows like The Bachelor. And guess what as trivial as it is I’m keeping my long hair. It’s me.
Now I’ve decided that I’ll amp up the care for it, by taking vitamins and using pricier products. Treating it with more gentleness rather than raking a brush through with abandon. There are some things worth tending to. If it brings my husband joy and me too than its worth some extra money and care to maintain it. The same is true in the spiritual realm. Those gifts and dreams that God has planted within you have to be invested in. Your heart garden has to be tended to in order to blossom.
I’ll conclude this weird post with this tidbit. Of all of the qualities my girls could have got from me, blonde hair is the one I’d guessed they wouldn’t have.
Its funny when I see those girls from high school I spoke of. The one who always pushed me to cut it off, “Oh I’ve seen that blonde hair before.” She says. Yeah I know what that means. But inwardly now I’m smiling and thinking, “Yeah you have. And God must like it, because he kissed all my girls with the same dark gold color.”
I laugh at all the blonde hair my husband pulls off his clothes or finds in his car. He’s surrounded by blonde women. I think he's cool with that.
What about you?
What is that thing?
That thing that you actually like about yourself, but have always gotten flack for? That thing that makes you unique, but you’ve hidden to please other people?