I clearly remember the day it happened. I was fourteen years old and decided that my hair was too short and too thin. I looked around and saw other girls with beautiful, long, Barbie-like, hair.
I wanted that hair.
I did the calculations and figured out that I could achieve my dream hair by the time I hit high school graduation if I kept the snipping to a minimum. My hair growing journey began.
There was only one problem though. My hair grew as as slow as a turtle running in peanut butter.
Several years went by and my was hair was barely a few inches longer.
Before I knew it my high school graduation arrived and my hair was nowhere close to my dream. I began coveting other girls’ hair and hating my own. I felt like I would be so much prettier with long, thick blonde hair.
Several more years went by and my hair seemed to hit a standstill. By the time I hit twenty-two I was so discontent and ungrateful for my hair. I thought all hope was lost until the day I came across an amazing magic secret.
These weren’t just any old hair extensions though. Thy were semi-permanent hair extensions. I got connected with a woman through one of my African-American friends who knew how to do things right.
To make a long story short, I purchased real pieces of long blonde hair and this woman actually braided them in hidden rows underneath my hair. She finished the last braid and I looked in the mirror.
I was stunned.
My hair had instantly grown five inches longer and doubled in thickness. I finally had my dream hair!
For the next few weeks I walked with my head a little higher and a little prouder. I loved my new hair. I loved the extra glances and attention I received from guys when I went out in public. I was vain and I didn’t care.
Everything seemed to be going great for me until one unexpected evening.
I had just finished showering and was lightly combing my fingers through my hair. I noticed that the braided hair underneath felt like it was knotting together. I tried to separate the braids but they wouldn’t come apart.
I called in some reinforcements for help. My mom came upstairs and gently tried to separate my braids. Nothing was budging. My sister came over and tried to help. Still nothing.
I began to slightly panic. “Okay…” my mom said calmly, “I think we should try to take out the extensions.”
My extensions?! No… I didn’t want to lose my beautiful hair! After several hours of trying to get this massive knot out, I finally agreed. My mom began undoing the smallest part of the braids and sliding the extensions off.
One by one my vanity hit the floor.
“You still have a really large knot in your hair Kris,” my mom said slowly. “Let’s try to gently brush it out.”
I’m not exaggerating this story at all. My mom worked for several more hours and the giant knot didn’t budge a bit. We searched Google for any help and tried everything from oil, mayonnaise, to wrapping my hair in plastic wrap. Nothing worked.
Then I hit the breaking point.
Tears began bursting from my eyes as I realized the only possible outcome. My mom would have to cut this giant knot (3 inches across!) out of my hair. I was about to lose one third of my regular hair.
My face was red from crying as my mom gently snipped this horrible nightmare from my head.
I vowed that I would never ever get extensions again. In fact, I wished with all my of heart that I could go back in time and change my decision to get extensions in the first place.
God did some serious humbling in my life that day.
I realized how ungrateful I had been to God for the hair that He had given me. I realized how much value and self-worth I placed on my outward appearance. I realized how prideful and vain I was once my hair became “beautiful.”
I actually decided to save my large hair knot as a reminder of the lessons I learned that day. In fact, the following Christmas, the knot found its way on to our Christmas tree and has remained an ornament ever since. *Strange, I know.*
As a girl, can you relate to my story at all? Most of us have at least one thing about our physical appearance that we’re not overjoyed about.
For me it was my hair.
For you it might be your hair, your nose, your ears, your eyes, your height, your thighs, your weight, your feet, your voice, etc. What is that one thing on your body that you can’t stand? What is that one thing you always notice about other girls and wish you could have?
If I have learned anything through my dreaded hair extension experience I have learned this: Ingratitude to God for the way He made you will never result in happiness.
The truth is, the more you focus on your outward appearance the less happy you will be.
Your flaws and shortcomings will become the only thing you see. That’s why so many supermodels can be discontent with their outward appearance. They only see what they don’t have.
Our culture is pressuring you and me to be “perfect” and beautiful accordingly to their shallow description of beauty.
Don’t buy it!
That mindset will send you on a perpetual rabbit trail. If you become consumed with perfecting your outward appearance you will never be satisfied.
The aging process can’t be stopped, and you will find yourself fretting more and more about your looks until the day you die.
Here’s my challenge to myself and to you. Instead of focusing on the one (or two or ten) things we don’t love about our bodies, let’s focus our attention on thanking God for what He has given us. We need to cultivate grateful hearts for who God designed us to be.
If you can learn the secret of gratitude to God in this area of your life, you will be happier and more content than most all of the supermodels out there. Physical perfection will never make any girl happy.
Gratitude to God for His amazing design will.
Have you had a vanity issue like mine before? How does it make you feel when you focus on what you don’t have?
In what ways have you believed the lie that happiness comes from being physically beautiful?
What areas of your physical appearance have you learned to surrender to God? When is the last time you genuinely thanked God for how He designed you?
Photo credit: www.flickr.com | Robert Ramirez