Not I missed you! Not I love you! The first thing Little Man said as he and his daddy returned from a guys' weekend away was not an expression of emotion, but a commentary on what was visibly different about me since the time he left home on Friday. A number of people at church Sunday morning made comments about the pink as well.
I'm super self-conscious and wish no one would notice or draw attention to it. What??? If she didn't want people to notice or say anything, why in the world did she dye her hair pink? And by pink I mean hot pink. And by hot pink I mean magenta - that's what the box of dye at the salon said.
I did it because I am afraid...
We all have fears. Some people freeze when faced with speaking in front of a crowd. Others start shaking at the thought of things like rock climbing, ropes courses or sky diving. Still others tremble in the face of change - new jobs, moving far away from home, letting go of outlived traditions. There's fear of the unknown, fear of natural disasters, fear of bad things happening to our loved ones and even fears of specific numbers and days of the week. I'm not sure it's possible to compose an exhaustive list of everything we are afraid of.
Back in September, when God first told me it was time to get serious about writing, fear paralyzed me. I gave Him my top 100 reasons why I couldn't. What happened next? The Holy Spirit whispered, "Dye your hair pink." By then it was October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, so I reasoned I could pull it off because lots of women do it. But to do so, even under the guise of a good cause, meant facing some major fear.
What if I hated it?
What if it took forever to grow out?
What if it really looked awful?
What if my family and friends hated it?
What if people smiled to my face, then walked away talking about me?
What if strangers in public places laughed at me?
"What if?" Maybe the most frightening question ever asked. I ask it a lot. I'm scared a lot. Often to the point of paralysis. Especially when I know God is calling me out of my comfort zone for His purposes, because I know without a doubt that:
- It always involves something I don't feel qualified or equipped to do
- It usually requires me to face whatever my greatest fear is at that moment
- It typically attracts the attention of the evil one
During my last bout of fear, when God called me to stop dreaming about writing and put my fingers to the keyboard, I wanted to pull a Jonah and head as far away from Nineveh as possible (that example comes to mind because, ironically, I read that chapter from The Jesus Storybook Bible to Toby last night). Like Jonah, I landed in the belly of the big fish (the hair salon) getting a pink strip dyed into my hair (agreeing to go back to Nineveh if the fish would barf me up already) and facing my fear head on (getting to the business of serious writing) - you see the parallels, right? What happened? Some people liked my pink hair, some didn't. I thought it wasn't bad. Six weeks later all traces of it had washed away and I felt silly for being so scared.
That one small act served to remind me of what I already know, but regularly forget - God is faithful. What does He require of me? To stop being afraid. To trust Him. To be obedient to His call. To forget about what others think. To step out of the boat. To fix my eyes on Him. To walk on the water straight into His arms.
Remember last week's post? God is love...
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear..."
I John 4:18
It sure does! And that's how getting past being afraid of a strip of magenta hair helped me push through my fear of standing up on my wobbly writer's knees and take the first step to what is now my eighth consecutive week of blog posting (something I never thought I'd do and it still terrifies me).
I know what you're thinking now; I can hear the wheels turning in your minds as you punch your calculators. If she dyed her hair in October, but her son and church family just recently commented on it, the time frame doesn't add up... Yep, you guessed it - I did it again, only this time the magenta strip is wider, heavier, and on both sides of my head. You see, God doesn't let me remain comfortable very long; not if I truly want to follow Him. And I do. He's pushing me out again. And I'm asking a lot of "What if's." And I'm afraid. Cue the Spirit's whisper, "Time to dye the hair again!"
So any time you see me and I have funky-colored hair, feel free to make these assumptions:
- God is moving in her life
- She's afraid
- It was time to tackle the fear
What are you afraid of?
Is God nudging you toward something uncomfortable?
Want me to go to the salon with you?