Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Flip Side

I’ve been in a hair-growing mode recently. I’ve worn my hair short for most of my adult life and loved it. However, I woke up one morning and decided I had to grow my hair longer. I’m not sure what brought on this new adventure, but it has not been an easy one. Perhaps it was a photo of Gweneth Paltrow and her beautiful flowing, locks.
My hair was cut in very short layers and so it was going to take the rest of my life to grow it out. My hairdresser said to me when I broke the news to her, “I hope I live long enough to see your hair all in one length.” Okay so she doesn’t have the gift of encouragement. Of course, no hairdresser wants to hear that you plan to grow your hair longer because that means fewer trips to see them. At least, that’s what I thought. It seems that growing your hair longer also means cutting your hair along the way. You have to cut the longer layers to match the shorter layers and so on. This can go on for quite some time.
After many cuts to match up the different layers and deciding on a style to match my wild hair, I finally made it to the point where all of my hair was one length. Yet the length was not below my ears yet. It was at the dreaded “in between” length. You know this length? Your hair won’t stay behind your ears but it looks awful over your ears. I tried to keep at least one side behind one ear while wearing the other side over my ear, but this requires regular sweeps of the hand through the hair to keep it that way. I know people are saying to themselves while we’re talking, “Why does she keep sweeping her hair back? What’s wrong with her? Why doesn’t she see she needs a hair cut?” 
Some mornings my hair looks great when I first leave the house, but after an hour or so it starts falling in my face and driving absolutely nuts. Yet I was determined to keep growing it. It was a goal that I set for myself. Even though most women my age have shorter hairdos, I was determined to be different; to break the mold; to grow my hair down to my shoulders. 
I saw many beautiful longer hairstyles on other women that made me determined to keep growing my hair. However, I did not realize that as I grow my hair, I get into the dangerous flip zone. You know, when your hair flips in places you don’t want it to flip. I discovered I have a flip right in the back of my hair that will not lie flat no matter how hard I try. I have used a flat iron on it. I’ve sprayed it with various straighteners, which seem to work for a while, but then the flip just springs back into action. It must be in my DNA to have a flip back there. 
One morning as I was sitting at my computer, looking through some photos, I saw a picture of me with short hair and I thought, “My hair looked really cute in that picture.” I loved the texture and the different layers. And then, just as suddenly as I decided I had to grow out my hair, I decided it had to be cut into short layers right away. I phoned my hairdresser who pleaded with me, “But we’ve come so far. Don’t turn back now. Just be patient. A few more months and your hair will be long and down to your shoulders just like you’ve always dreamed about.” 

But I was determined. “No,” I answered. “I have a flip in the back and you know it. My hair will never grow out properly. I must have the short layers back. Please, cut my hair again!”
When the day came to cut it, I went back and forth again. “If I cut it short, it will take longer than I have left to grow it out again,” I told myself. Of course on the day it was to be cut, my hair fell into place perfectly as if to say, “See? I can behave sometimes.” But I  knew it wouldn’t last. The hair had to be cut. I was destined to have short hair. The flip in the back would disappear and all would be right in the world. It had to be done. 
Now, as I stare back at the mirror in the mornings, I still wonder what it would be like to have long, flowing hair. I turn my head from side to side and ponder it still. But I always grab my hand mirror and look at the back of my head. Lurking somewhere underneath my short hair was a flip waiting to show it’s ugly face again, determined to ruin my dream of long hair. I am content with my short do for now. Who knows what new hope tomorrow will bring. The memory of the flip may fade and then I’ll jump right back into growing mode again. But for now, I will sport my short hairdo with pride. 
We pay a lot of attention to outer appearances most of the time. We probably pay more attention than we should. We worry about how we look to others and what others judge about us from our appearance. And we should care how we look. We should strive for excellence in every area of our lives, but we should be more concerned with our inner beauty than with our outward appearance. 
1 Peter 3:3 says, “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.”
God sees what’s on the inside. He looks beneath the surface and into our heart. He knows our motives, our thoughts, our desires and our feelings. If we spent more time on our inner beauty I’d dare say more people would find us attractive. 
When we look in the mirror we see a reflection of only our outward appearance, but if we hold ourselves up to the Word of God we see a reflection of who we are on the inside. The Holy Spirit shows us the areas that need a bit more grooming and attention. 
So the next time you’re considering changing your hairstyle, fashion style, or maybe just  your makeup, look at the flip side and consider  cultivating your inner beauty, the kind that God delights in. Then you will be radiant, no mater the length of your hair. 

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