Disclaimer: *This is a story about hair. As a normal, adult human who is aware of my own life and the world, I understand that there are much, much larger problems in the world than having issues with hair. Some people don't even have hair, so it's a very nice thing, but bear with this unimportant story about superficiality and extremely small problems for a deeper message.*
I have forever and always wanted pin-straight, blonde hair, ever since I was just a tiny lil' lamb. But I have very much the opposite. I'm brunette with a full and crazy head of curly hair. The story of my hair is a sad little story. I chopped off my long curly waves one day when I was in middle school and added a bunch of bangs and layers and crazy things. Unfortunately, that was the year of side bangs and was also right on time for when I was scheduled in life to get super awkward and self conscious. Then, I discovered the straightener, and for the past ten years, I've straightened and curled and done whatever I could to make it the least natural possible ever since then. There's a strange, ironic, and dysfunctional relationship you develop with your hair when you hate it with all of your little heart but you still pour your time and money into it and care way too much about it.
You might not hate your hair, but as most people, there's probably something about you are the fondest of.
For me, it's the crazy stuff on my head.
I was super harsh on myself in high school, and I really hated how I looked. I had super cute friends who were really pretty and trendy, and I was really shy, insanely self-conscious, and always comparing myself to them. Not a good combo for the high school version of me.
I was in a really bad and abusive relationship, and when that ended, I got into a super self-destructive mind-set and felt like it was totally all my fault, and maybe if I was more beautiful, he wouldn't have done what he had done to me. So from then until pretty much now, I've been ridiculously obsessed with trying to look beautiful. I've been through all the phases, let me tell ya'. I got eyelash extensions, went blonde, got a weave, wore those eyelash strips that are super hard to put on, fake tanned, you name it, I probably have tried it and discovered that it's really hard or extremely expensive. And the truth is, I thought that if I could just get one more of those things, I would be beautiful. If I were tanner or had longer lashes or longer hair I would suddenly be beautiful and love myself. Needless to say, it's a recipe for disaster and it failed miserably.
A couple of weeks ago, I was at a ministry dinner with a pastor from Uganda. After his talk, he prayed a prophetic prayer over the group. I'll be real, at first I was totally freaked out. Ugandans pray a little bit differently, and everyone was talking and praising and praying all at the same time, and I was opening one eye, looking around to figure out what kind of crazy Pentecostal thing was happening up in there. But it wasn't crazy or Pentecostal, it was really beautiful and Jesus kicked my little doubting, overly-skeptical butt and I got a lot of healing from spiritual oppression in my life. We all prayed together and then the pastor prayed, he encouraged us to pray, he prayed for us, and God removed a lot of nasty burdens I had. Praying and actually listening to God works, go figure.
One of the things I got a major break in was this crazy burden I've been carrying around about my appearance, years and years and years worth of baggage. It sounds crazy and ridiculous, but I felt this crazy, liberating freedom from wearing my hair naturally. I just didn't do it for a week, for the first time in a decade. It was amazing, and super weird, but really great! It's still a huge thing I have to work on every single day with Jesus and I have to be so, super aware so it doesn't become a stronghold for me again, but it feels like a really nice breath of fresh air.
Everyone has something they hate about themselves. Or, maybe you've worked through those issues and your stronghold is rooted in a different place. It feels like you're drowning. It's overwhelming and heavy. It's burdensome and ugly, and it makes you think you are the one who's going to fix your problems. The truth is, the only one who is going to fix all of your deeply rooted issues and lift your burden is Jesus. It seems simple, but it's something that's easily forgotten. You can't fix your problems with material items. Money, make-up, work, spray-tans, it can't fix you. Those aren't bad things. They become bad things when they're made into idols and problem solvers in our lives.
Jesus is the ultimate burden-lifter and freedom-giver you will ever find. Everything else is a quick-fix band-aid. The problem for me was, I knew Jesus's burden was light and mine was heavy, I knew He was the only thing that would really help me, and I kept telling him to take my junk, but I wouldn't let go. It took me three years to figure out that if I wanted him to take the things that hurt me so badly and deeply I had to actually let go, and let him take it when I asked him to. It's a freedom you'll never want to lose.
KYLE LOVES TORI PHOTOGRAPHY