No pain, no gain. As I glanced around a salon full of black women sacrificing time and tender scalps in the name of beauty, I realized that hair can teach you some things about faith.
1. Patience is required. I was in a braiding shop, and those intricate styles can take up to 12 hours. Yet we wait. Why? Because we know that quality takes time. Someone is braiding your hair into a hundred tiny pieces. If you can’t hurry microbraids, why do you expect God to rush your major life issue?
We also wait because of the promised end product. We can visualize what our hair will look like afterward, and that vision keeps us grounded in the beautician’s chair until she finishes. Habakkuk 2:2 says “write the vision and make it plain, that he may run who reads it.” Have you lost sight of your vision?
2. Do something while you wait. Women walk into the salon with IPods, cell phones, books, and magazines. If you don’t find something to do, you will literally feel every moment that you’re in that chair. How much easier would waiting for our blessings be if we kept busy?
3. Sit still. Fidgeting only annoys and distracts the beautician. You willhold your head at the angle that she chooses, or she’ll tug on your hair until you comply. She’ll do it gently at first, but her pull will grow a little harder with each reminder. Don’t try to resist the direction God is leading you in; there are always consequences for your stubbornness.
4. It will hurt. The braids have to be tight in order to last, so expect pain. We endure it because we know it will look good and we want to wear the style as long as possible. Your anticipated blessing is more precious than Senegalese twists, so isn’t it worth some discomfort?
5. All styles are not created equal. You may admire another woman’s hairstyle, but it’s no secret the time or pain it required. Life is not as transparent. Don’t question why God has blessed someone else in a certain way. You don’t know what they endured for that blessing.
6. You can’t see what the beautician is doing. Usually your back is to the mirror or your head is turned at an angle that makes it impossible to see her actions. You simply have to trust her to do what she does best, without your oversight. How much better could God work on your problem if you didn’t have it under a microscope?
7. You learn young. Little girls sit in the salon alongside grown women. It doesn’t take them long to learn the drill, and they carry it through life. Sitting for a 12 hour appointment at age 24 is easier if you had some three hour appointments at 10. Learn to be patient in your current trials because those in your future will require an even greater level of endurance.
8. Encouragement helps. “You’re done.” One woman said this to another right before the beautician finished her hair. The braiding was complete, leaving only clipping, shaping, and other finishing touches. The client knew that, but the other woman told her as a way to remind her there was light at the end of the tunnel. When was the last time we encouraged our brothers and sisters in faith to hold on just a little while longer?
There’s something else that happens in the beauty shop, but very infrequently. Once in a while, you’ll see a woman plop down in the chair and give these limited instructions: “Just do whatever you think is best. I trust you.” Chances are, the woman has been going to this beautician for years and they’ve built a relationship. She knows what beautiful work the beautician has done in the past, and that the beautician wouldn’t steer her wrong. When was the last time you said those words to God?
Whatever you need in life, take a lesson from the salon. Just sit back and let God hook you up.
SheryLeigh is a woman who loves God, words, and people. She is currently living and loving as an author, blogger, poet, and spoken word artist in the Washington, D.C., area.
A communicator by education and trade, SheryLeigh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Howard University and a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University.