My hair is falling out.
And you should know that it’s not like when a few strands come loose here and there, but more of a by-the-brush-full, by-the-handful, falling-out-something-fierce sort of rate.
In fact, I’d venture to say that I have about half the amount of hair that I had a year ago.
You haven’t been able to tell because I’m getting better at hair spraying a piece here and there to cover where it’s thinning on my scalp.
Also, I bought clip-in extensions a few months ago just for fun. I didn’t realize I’d end up wearing them because I felt like I needed them. Mostly I thought I’d get them to be a brunette version of Faith Hill from the “Breathe” music video in 1999. Her hair from that video is still making impressions on me 17 years later.
So much for that plan.
A friend sent me a picture the other day of a super cute haircut that she tried to get (but alas the stylist went a little Edward Scissorhands and cut more than she should have.)
Anyhow, I stared at the picture longer than usual…trying to imagine it with my head and brown hair instead of blonde.
Because as my hair keeps falling out, it’s getting stringy looking being as long as it is.
I haven’t cut my hair off in over 10 years. Aside from trimming to keep it healthy, I’ve been growing this mane basically since I graduated college.
It feels like part of me now.
I know, I know, it’s just hair…but it’s different when you make a choice because you want to versus because something has forced your hand.
The doctors say it’s something called “dermatomyocitis,” an autoimmune disorder that has caused me to wrestle with a horribly itchy skin rash, muscle fatigue, weakness, and hair loss for months. I think I have other words for it. They don’t sound official.
I cried at the doctor’s office the other day when she told me this stuff isn’t going away anytime soon. I also cried when they made me step on the scale and I’d gained 8 pounds in one month from taking strong steriods to calm the angry rash and inflammation.
So I’m making some lifestyle changes to help address the symptoms, get off of strong meds as much as possible, and more than even those things, I’m sitting before a God who I KNOW is still good and asking Him to show me his kindness and hope in the midst of frustrating junk.
Listen, I’m not asking you to feel sorry for me or to compare your struggle, but I am saying…there is gonna be JUNK that we have to deal with and we can either sit around for days crying about our thinning locks, or dangit, we can look for a new haircut!
If I stop looking for the blessings, if I stop being curious about what God could have for me EVEN IN THIS, then I am certain that I will miss out on pieces of the Kingdom that He wants to show me.
Is my vanity struggling….sure. Do I still avoid brushing my hair for days at a time because I know that every time I do more hair will come out?
But can I allow this present struggle to chart the path forward in my pursuit of God? No.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God… For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. – Rom 8:18-21, 24-25
Our disappointment does not overthrow the inherent goodness of God. And our present afflictions are not the definers of our faith either.
But how do we move through them? How do we stay curious about what God could be doing when the present does feel crushing in this way or that?
Part of living with a Curious Faith is learning to look at our lives through the clear lens of Christ… even when what we’re looking at feels hard, or scary, or broken.
Because the certainty of our faith isn’t found in where we’re going, but in whom we are following.
So we make tweaks along the way that allow us to focus on WHOM we’re following, not where we are presently walking.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
French author, Marcel Proust, said that, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”…
or maybe even….a new haircut.
***PS. I have a hair appointment in a couple of weeks, so make sure you come back so you can see my new haircut!
***To dig into this and more, my new book Curious Faith: Rediscovering Hope in the God of Possibility releases March 1. And if you PREORDER NOW, I’ve got a slew of fun gifts for you when you go HERE and enter your receipt of purchase!