Hairbrained

One snowy afternoon when I was  in high school, some of my girl friends were over hanging out. For some reason, we decided to watch some of my family’s old home videos. My friends giggled and swooned over how cute my younger brother and I were at the age of three and two.

One of my friends made the observation, “Ashley, you played with your hair a lot when you were little, just like you do today!” My other friends agreed, and, to my enlightenment, pointed out just how often I touch my hair, run my fingers through it, or tuck it behind my ear. Watching the home video, I saw that at three years old I had very similar habits.

Since I was a little girl, my hair has been a focal point of my interest, happiness, and oftentimes frustration and sadness. I remember my mom fixed my hair every day when I was a little girl, and how one day at the age of four, I took scissors to my bangs and gave myself a haircut that made my mom cry, and eventually laugh and snap some pictures.

I get my dark, naturally curly hair from my dad. Growing up, I fussed about my curls and how impossibly tangly they were after I woke up, and after every shower.

When I was about twelve, we were on vacation in Texas, and I got a haircut that traumatized me for life. The lady cut it way too short, and I felt so ugly, so defiled. From that point on, I made a point to grow my hair out, and trust very few people to trim it.

My long hair became my signature, my identity. I found self-worth and achievement with every new inch it reached. I took in every envious compliment with flattery.

But my long hair wasn’t just something I prided myself in. Over time, my long hair became something I hid under. My long hair created a heaviness on my head and my heart.

My hair had become something that I loved so much, but also something I fussed over so much and spent so much time maintaining. My hair was an idol.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that God, the creator of all beauty, does not intend for us to idolize beauty, but embrace it.

I like The Message version of 1 Peter chapter 3: “What matters is not your outer appearance–the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes–but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.”

True beauty, I realized, wasn’t in my long locks. And actually, my long hair had gotten quite unhealthy and scraggly looking.

So recently I made a decision. I went to my good friend, a hairstylist whom I trust with my most treasured possession, and I had my hair cut shorter. I needed a change, a good change, a new start.

Having shorter hair hasn’t been an easy transition. I didn’t feel an instant sense of restoration after cutting it. I still miss my long hair most days. But the reviews I’ve gotten from people have all been very encouraging. Everyone thinks it looks really cute, and the most common compliment I get is “I can see your whole face now!”

I am no longer covering up who I am with my long hair.

I plan on growing it back out, but this time with a new attitude toward beauty. Because truly, it is not my hair that matters. Certain cultures or religions will tell women that they are to keep their hair long, or keep their hair covered, or keep it pulled up in a bun. But those rules miss the point. It isn’t about hair. Women all over the world are losing hair because of age, malnutrition, or chemotherapy. Our worth is not in our hair. Hair is temporary. Our beauty is a gift from God, and what God gives is a beauty that’s eternal. Beauty that can’t be cut, beauty that doesn’t have follicles, beauty that doesn’t turn gray.

In John 12, Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with oil and dries his feet with her hair. This is a beautiful depiction of Mary sitting at His feet, humbling herself, and, in a very literal way, using her hair to glorify God.

Your hair is beautiful. Long, short, somewhere in-between. On good hair days and bad hair days. Your hair is beautiful because God made ALL of you beautiful. Sit at His feet, and honor Him with your beauty.

Ashley D.

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Comments

  1. This was so well stated. I can truly see your heart and how He has changed you and spoken to you thru your “hair”. I am grateful that your heart was open to Him when He showed you that it was an idol. We all have different idols that we need to ask Him to reveal to us, so that we can take them down and no longer worship them, and just worship Him and let Him shine thru and Him alone. Beautiful post, I pray it will be used to open many eyes to the Truth.

  2. Stacy Fredrickson says:

    THAT WAS AWESOME, ASHLEY!!!! Thank you for your honesty and insight!!!

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