By Kristen Fenton
After years of long hair, I decided to be impulsive and get a short haircut. I began my tireless search for the perfect cut for my hair type and facial features. Finally, I found exactly what I wanted in a photo of Jessica Alba: long bangs sweeping across the forehead with gentle curls--full and falling—just past the shoulders.
I brought my picture to the salon and explained to the stylist—in animated detail—how my hair would be transformed into photo-perfect hair. After many gestures and several forms of explanation, I felt I’d said all I could. I took a look in the mirror, drew a deep breath, looked at my stylist and said: “Okay, let’s do this.” By this I meant cut my hair to the specifications I had described. Yet, by this she interpreted cutting several more inches than my plan.
When she finished, I reached back to run my fingers through my hair and was shocked to realize that this process now took a fraction of the time that it used to. My picture of Jessica Alba? Not what was facing me in the mirror.
Later (while internally cursing the stylist who had disregarded my instructions), it struck me that I’ve felt a similar kind of anger toward God lately. I’m in one of those “growth opportunity” seasons of life where I’m living a reality that I never would have planned--a transition period that has lasted far longer than my husband and I would have ever imagined; jobs, health, housing, medical insurance—all up in the air. There are times when I tell God, “This is not the life that I wanted” or “We were obedient to your calling; why is this happening? When are you going to provide?”
I realize that I treat God like I treat my hairstylist. I give God my picture and “dream life specifications” and expect Him to follow through like some sort of genie. Somehow I believe that this picture is what is best for me. In the midst of the waiting, the uncertainty, the “not yet” season of my life, I’m learning that I have a hard time trusting God. But I am seeking to be honest with him and let him into my anger, sadness, grief, and confusion. I’m practicing this honesty because I have a tendency to put on a happy face, search for the silver lining, and pretend that I am content even though my heart feels far from it. I grew up thinking that God liked me better if I was a good girl that followed all the rules. I’m realizing that he prefers that I bring my whole, real, broken self to him instead of my self-polished facade. I’m in process and thankful that God is making his presence and grace known to me in this season.
I’m not loving this haircut. I wouldn’t do it again. But, fortunately I’m starting to (literally and figuratively) grow into this new look.