Making the Cut

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Cutting my hair was liberation.

Do you ever have those things that you just...don't want to do?  Or more tantalizing, are there things you've been wanting to do but something was holding you back?

In many ways, the past few weeks have been full of revelation for me as I've contemplated and prayed about life calling, how to study well, work well, write well, and how to submit my vocational plans to Christ.

I was struck by several chapel messages at Wheaton recently, which have challenged many deeply rooted beliefs and preconceptions.  Chaplain Blackmon said in one recent message that he sees a widespread campus problem of people defining themselves by what they do, of feeling the need to be phenomenal and prove ourselves.

I've personally felt this in my academics, extracurriculars and personal life.  I think many of us have the tendency to seek out external things to define us and to cloak our identity.

For the past few weeks, layer after layer has been questioned.  One way this was embodied was in a rather drastic, kind of spontaneous, rather crazy decision.

I let my roommate cut my hair with a sketchy pair of paper scissors in our apartment kitchen.

Why, you ask, would I do such a stupid thing?

Because I needed to.  Because letting go of my hair symbolized letting go of much more.

It was a security blanket.

Ultimately, my stubborn unwillingness to cut my hair is what convinced me to go for the cut.  What was holding me back?  Fear. Insecurity. Never good reasons to do anything.  Once I discovered that my hair length symbolized so much more to me, I realized how much it needed to go.  

It defined my view of beauty.

There are a lot of voices saying a lot of things on what it means to be beautiful.  These can be voices you hear from friends and family or the voices we imagine, or even the ones who give words to from the images surrounding our culture.  

But the truth is that long hair doesn't make you beautiful.  Beauty is not skin deep or hair length.

This made me think of one of my literary heroines Jo March who chopped off all her hair in Little Women.  It was a learning lesson for her as she dealt with issues of identity.

This realization about hair and my own preconceptions has led to other questions.

Why do we do things to impress others?

Why are we afraid of change?

I've caught myself again and again falling into this pitfall.  I feel like I need to make the cut, to always make an impression.

One verse I keep coming back to is Galatians 1:10 "For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ."

In my life, I've found it healthy and helpful to purposefully distance myself from certain things if I find them to be distractions.  Once, it meant going a set amount of time without makeup.  But it could fasting from social media or from your phone.

What are you holding onto?

Before and After

This is by no means a won battle.  It's the kind of thing we always fight.  But this was definitely a letting go moment. After all, hair is just follicles growing from your scalp.  But maybe for you it's something different — like your fashion style, grades at school, musical performance or perhaps the career you're pursuing. 

So may your reasons be real and your identity be independent.  Nothing in this world can define you or shape who you are.
Have you ever had a "letting go" moment?

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  1. Gorgeous post! I've actually had some sorta similar growing moments recently, though mine often have to do more with my opinion of myself than others' opinions of me. I've recently realized that there were certain things I was allowing to define me, and they weren't Christ, so I needed to let them go and remember to always find my identity in Him. There's this song we sing at our youth group with one line that goes "I cast my weakness into Your greatness," and I took that and switched it to "I cast my awkwardness into Your greatness," because I was letting my tendency to be an awkward little nerd define me, telling myself that I couldn't be anything but weird and awkward because that's just who I /was/.
    But that's not who I am. I'm a daughter of the Lord, saved by Christ, a bond-servant of the Master. And it's high time I started acting like one. :)

    Again, awesome post! Thanks for it! :D <3
    (BTW, you look great in both pics, but the short hair really becomes you. :D)


    1. Thank you for sharing, Alexa. I've been there. I know what it's like to put pre-set ideas of identity upon myself and feel like they define me...even the label of "writer" can eclipse all else if it slips away from being grounded in Christ. It's something I know I'll always battle. One song we've been singing a lot at Wheaton goes "From my heart to the heavens, Jesus be the center, It's all about you." Singing that has really reminded me to keep Christ the center of my school, my relationships and the way I view myself. :)

  2. Ooh, I really love this, and I love how the deep comparison between cutting your hair and letting go. (Also, as an aside, I really like your new hair cut.) I know I personally have so much trouble letting go--I fight every single bit of change I can, and it's nice to be reminded that often letting go can be the most freeing thing ever. :)

    1. Thanks Liz - I'm still not super used to having it short now! But change is so good and refreshing!!

  3. This is great! (I love your haircut; it's so pretty). I've had lots of "letting go" moments and it's terrifying, learning how to trust God that way, but change is good...and I'm figuring out that the scariest changes have been the ones that have helped me the most.

    1. Yes, yes, yes! I find that when I get too comfortable, I stop growing. It's so healthy to be challenged and yet it hurts more. But I find that it makes me re-evaluate my priorities and commit to what really matters.

  4. Your haircut is adorable. I'm getting my haircut next week -- about your length -- and I need to remind myself that it's just HAIR if it doesn't turn out. :p
    Letting go? I have to remind myself every day that it's in GOD'S hand and not mine.

    1. Amen! And yes, that's something I've been reminding myself. It's just hair!! It doesn't matter that much! It's been really freeing.

  5. Ooh, I like your haircut! It's interesting how we can put certain value into things that ultimately become values that are not healthy to maintain anymore. I should probably do some soul-searching to find some of my own—my own letting go moments are either very short and not that significant or relate to Frozen somehow. Still, this is a lovely post about challenge and choice. Thanks for sharing your story with us!

    And, by the way, thanks for stopping by Sometimes I'm a Story!

    1. Hey Heather! Thanks for sharing. I think you're right about how we associate values with things — often this can be good but if it comes to eclipse what really matters then we need to step back and gain perspective. At least I know I do. ;)