The Split Ends of Letting Go

0909-extend-color“Well I picture myself this way but you can do whatever,” I told my niece, Rachel as she prepared to cut my hair. She is avery talented, master stylist. For this reason it was an incredible opportunity. She was visiting from Florida and, although we are close, seldom seeing one another forced Rachel to ask me questions about how I see myself and what I wanted. Trying to seem laid back I added, “I just don’t want it too short, or too many layers, or with bangs. But you can do whatever.”

After attempting to answer a few more questions, the scissors were unsheathed. As she turns me away from the mirror Rachel explains that people watch throughout process and often freak out in the middle, fearing the results will be flawed. Self-reflection mixed with lack of foresight can make matters worse in moments when patience is best.

The more hair I see falling to the floor, the quieter I become. I think, “Wait. This is not how I see myself. What are you doing? Why are you taking something important away from me?” I realize Rachel knows what she is doing. She will do what is necessary for it to grow in a beneficial way in the future but I am nonetheless sweaty from worry. While blow-drying she says, “Now that all the weight is gone it will be easier to manage, simpler to work with.” Once finished, she directed me to the mirror. I was shocked. It was great and what one would expect from a master stylist, but it wasn’t howI envisioned myself. I felt exposed. And then I blew the opportunity to say, “Thank you for making me a better version of myself!  Thank you for seeing something in me I didn’t see myself.” Instead, I sheepishly expressed thanks and frantically looked in the mirror. Then I noticed her expression. My lack of gratitude and happiness had overshadowed the honestly appreciated job. I felt my face burn with embarrassment. Yet I continued to think of myself. I missed a chance to offer gratefulness and praise.

The funny part is, after the initial shock of defied expectations, I loved my hair. I behaved as though I accepted the change. “Do with me as you want.” Now I realize it came with strings, “Do with me as you want… As long as it is the way I would have it done.” Through my sweet niece’s expertise and patience, this truth has been revealed to me. How many times have I said to God, “I am ready” but imagined the outcome on my terms? How many times have I seen the work merely in the middle, had no concept of the larger picture, and still worried? In these moments, I must remember I only have my limited knowledge, not the Master’s.  He works at His own pace, meticulously cutting away things that prevent me from growing as a Christian.

Isaiah 64:8 “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay and you are our potter; we are all work in your hands.”

 Jennifer Whittaker writes devotional articles for Buck Run. You can read her work here every other week.