I’m a hairstylist, and although I know it shouldn’t be this way there are times (I’ll admit) that I live under a ridiculous falsehood:
‘that when my hair is fixed and looking nice I’m gonna feel and appear like a total put together mama, and I’ll be able to handle any challenge that may come about that day…I’m gonna feel good about myself…no matter what…all day long.’
On my “very” best days my hair is colored, which means grays are covered and I start the day out with a female version of James Bond’s can-do attitude…My husband is going to read this and be like, “do you even have any idea who James Bond is?” and I’ll simply reply, “…not really.”
…I’m 34 years old and I have more than a fair amount of gray hair. I experienced a lot of childhood trauma, therefore I blame it on that. Nevertheless, I feel my age is far too young to parade gray hair around so I color it and it drives my husband absolutely crazy. Nathan believes I should embrace this premature graying and accept it for what it is, but I can’t bring myself to do it at this point. Maybe when I’m in my 40s, but in my 30s it’s just not gonna happen.
I realize there are some who would agree with my husband, BUT I also know there are a lot of people out there who are covering up “gray areas” of their lives…
Whether it’s depression, an eating disorder, a spending habit, perhaps a lump on their body, an addiction, a broken heart…you see, some of us are covering up “gray hairs” also, so to speak.
As I spoke with one of my best friends on the phone the other day I explained to her how ‘even though I’m so, far-removed from my past mistakes, there are still times I allow my insecurities (the shame from my past) to fester and sometimes even surface. It gets uncomfortable. This is especially true when I’m around certain individuals. I feel insignificant or insecure of myself while in their presence, like I’m not good enough.’
I’ll never forget her simple and reasonable response, “most likely you feel that way around those people because they don’t share their true feelings.”
They’re a closed book, very private, refusing to share or show feelings and emotions.
Perhaps hesitant to open up at the risk of becoming vulnerable themselves.
…Allowing only the rich vibrant color to show, covering over the dull, dreary shades of gray.
The truth is: everyone has or is dealing with something. We’ve all faced or are facing a struggle.
The danger is: many refuse to admit it or open up about it.
Another best friend and I share the darkest, deepest areas of our mishaps with one another. Once we’ve equally vented, we jokingly mock the ever popular phrase, “#thestruggleisreal.”
BUT it’s true!!, the struggle is real, we just don’t always show it. We put up this facade; posting the happiest pictures and updates on social media, meanwhile true inner feelings (those gray hairs and struggles) are covered over.
I’ve been there, I’ve done that. For years I was a closed book. Shame ran rampant in my heart and self, but my face and words spoke otherwise. I was as unreal as imitation vanilla or imitation crabmeat—neither of which are as good as the real thing, right? (sidenote: both of which I buy because I’m cheap) …When asked by someone how I was doing, I’d bottle my thoughts and bend the truth; never wanting anyone to know my hurt and self-pity. I was a wrecking ball damaging my integrity, losing sight of who I needed to be…Surely “observant people” noticed.
When I finally allowed Jesus to grab my attention He purposefully highlighted the gray, showing me how it could be a light in a dark world.
What Satan intended for evil, God has used for His glory.
I’ve now shared my testimony with many people, who after hearing my story seek me out, thanking me for just being real. They’re able to see the radiant color over what was once a dark, concealed undertone.
When we open up and spill the story of our life, our troubles, our worries we become relatable. We suddenly find out we’re not alone. We live in a broken, messed up world, and when we get real and push down the walls of pride sharing our weaknesses with one another that’s when relationships are built, standing firm and strong.
So even though my hair color may not be real, you can bet my story is. I’ve learned to uncover my struggles in a way that others may see the vibrant beauty of God’s big picture. Know this, it’s not okay to approach just anyone or at anytime revealing all of what might be a messy past, but when we listen to God’s prodding on our heart we learn to recognize just when, how, and where to open up and share our stories, always remaining honest while doing so. May we work to uncover our real thoughts, feelings, and emotions connecting with one another in a way that points to Jesus.