Monday, March 12, 2018

New Growth

 In March 2017, after a year of transitioning from relaxed hair to natural, I made the impulsive decision to chop off about 80% of my hair. I was laying in bed one morning and it just hit me. So, I watched a few Big Chop videos on YouTube, went in my bathroom, grabbed my scissors, followed the instructions I'd just learned, and cut my hair.

As I watched my hair fall into the sink, I honestly felt no apprehension. At least not at that moment. The picture to the left, however, describes my reaction once I realized what I had actually done. I began having all kinds of thoughts. Was I completely crazy for cutting off my hair? What in the world was I going to do with this short, puffy hair now? Will my husband still find me attractive with this new look? What was I thinking? I don't know enough about natural hair to make such a drastic transition! Oh-Em-Gee, what did I just do?!

In that moment, all I wanted to do was find a way to reattach the hair that I'd spontaneously cut off. But what was done was done, and there was no way I could turn back. I had no choice but to accept the decision I'd made and do whatever I needed to do to make it work.

Those first few months were HARD! I couldn't figure out how to keep my new head of hair moisturized, so most days it was dry and brittle. I also struggled with discovering the right products to use, so I ended up spending so much money on stuff that just didn't work. On top of that, the texture was rough, I had no curl pattern, and my husband didn't like.

It was just a mess, a whole natural mess!

In the beginning stage, I felt so uncomfortable being without my longer hair. I really wanted to kick myself and wear a hat every time I left my house.

Although the transitioning process was extremely frustrating with trying to manage two hair textures, if I could have reverted back, I would have. I mean, the transitioning process was tough and my hair was badly damaged, but I had become comfortable in dealing with it. I learned to make it work.

Can't we be just like that in life? We can know that a situation is bad, but rather than facing the adjustment to something new, we'd rather hold on to it as it is. Even though it's causing more damage and stunting our growth, we will still choose comfortable complacency over a new normal, because we are too afraid of what life will be like without the very thing that's hurting us. In a sense, we want both familiarity and freedom, but it just doesn't work like that. If we ever want to grow in life, there are times when there has to be a cutting away. It's impossible to experience newness while keeping a grip on what is old and damaged.

So, yesterday, I was thinking about how it's been a year since that seemingly dreadful choice I made and found myself standing in the mirror, looking at what had actually happened as a result of me making the decision to cut my hair.

Will you look at that?! My hair is strong, long, beautiful, and healthy now. I am in love with it! Had I continued to hold on to the hair that was weak and damaged, I would have robbed myself of the opportunity to experience new growth. It has been a journey and it took a lot of trial and error to discover my rhythm, but I have fully adjusted to my new normal of natural hair, and I think I'm rockin' it out!

I wonder, what experiences of new growth are you robbing yourself of because you are too afraid to let go? How are you responsible for stifling your own growth? What misery have you decided to "just make it work," because you're scared of the unknown? What is it that you know is no longer good for you, but comfort is holding you hostage to?

I charge you to let it go. Cut it off so that God can do a new thing in your life. Just imagine the strong, beautiful, healthy life that lies on the other side of what you're too afraid to step towards.

Change is scary, I get it, but remaining the same and struggling to make stuff work should be much more frightening. Jesus came that you might have life abundantly (John 10:10), but life cannot thrive in dead environments.

I implore you to cut off fear.
I implore you to cut off comparison.
I implore you to cut off toxic relationships.
I implore you to cut off unhealthy habits.
I implore you to cut off not loving yourself.
I implore you to cut off anything that is a hindrance to you blossoming in life.

Yes, it will be challenging.
Yes, you will have second thoughts.
Yes, you will want to go back.
Yes, you will want to give up.

But nothing changes if nothing changes. Stick it out and watch what happens.

New growth is your portion, but you must first make room by getting rid of what is no longer providing an environment conducive to growing.

"No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.” (Mark 2:21-22 NIV)

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