Friday, October 3, 2014

Abundant Life and Suffering Too?

How do those 2 things come together? Many Christians chose life because what they were dealing with was much worse then what Jesus was offering them. Course, many believers chose life having no idea what they were doing until they did it. Yet, who made the decision to choose life and when finding out what that consisted of, decided to go back where they had nothing?

Choosing life as opposed to death consists of having a completely different life style (Deuteronomy 30:15-20 AMP). Yes, there are rules to live by on a regular basis but death has its own boundaries as well (Romans 8:8 AMP). Is it changing the life style that is scary to those that haven't made a decision yet? I find that interesting. Let's uncover the scariness to reveal why that emotion even comes about and in so doing we will also answer the entitled question: Abundant Life and Suffering Too?

Oddly enough, this topic came to me while I was whimpering about my hair. My hair journey consisted of both: abundance and suffering. Why? Because I didn't recognize the voice that was giving me wisdom. All I knew, at the time, was my hair keeps reverting in the humid weather. I need something to stop it from doing that. The products for me to achieve that goal, at first were weak and smelled like burning tires laced with cat urine. It took almost 6 months for me to stop using those products....well, along with people asking what's that smell when I would enter the room and remain for more then 10 minutes. Eventually, I found the products that did keep my hair from reverting. But then, there came a new elixir. It not only keeps the hair from reverting it also offer the hair to remain bone straight. Now, the word bone in front of straight absolutely has no purpose other then to emphasis to the consumer who wants straight and silky hair. Of course, I gravitated that way as if I was lifted from my feet and placed right in front of the product. I couldn't wait to try it. The results were amazing. My hair was glorious. It grew so long and was easy to manage. I could wear all of the different hairstyles with ease and envied by so many. Going to the hair salons, all of the operators asked to be the ones to do my hair. Many of them were scissor happy but it really didn't matter, it took a few short months for my hair to grow and be back where I was even before I met those scissor happy fiends. Seriously, I was in my own little world, skipping along this path with a knowing that I didn't need to use so much product and to lighten up on the heating tools.

"But its so nice and pretty", spoke louder then common sense. Over 2 decades of changing perms, stylists, heating tools with no rest in between took its toll. I was at work and one of my co-workers started brushing off my back. When I turned to ask, she said, "you must be shedding. It isn't much." Shedding? Animals shed. But every time I came to work, she or someone else would do the same thing. I then started to check myself closely by grabbing the ends of my hair and pulling downward. I opened my hand and there was a handful of hair. This is shedding? I kept grabbing the ends and pulling until there was nothing else in my hand. I looked in the mirror a little horrified. I calmed myself by saying over and over again that it was fine. It must have been dead split ends. A few more years passed. I looked in the mirror and saw the faint glimpse of my scalp looking back at me. I don't think fear is an adequate description of what I was feeling when I saw that which should have been hidden by thick, glorious, silky, and bone straight hair. I recall a slight whimper that sounded like, "oh no!"

Fast forward, I have drawers and a linen cabinet filled with different combs, brushes, natural products, cremes, conditioners, shampoos, essential oils, elixirs, vitamins, minerals, and supplements all promising to do this, that and the other for my scalp and hair. I have researched, bought books, clipped articles and continue to hope that one thing is either going to work or do a better thing then the other thing (Hosea 4:6 AMP). I have changed my diet, I drink more water, I brush my hair while lying down, only comb my hair when wet, but haven't relinquished the grooming tools entirely which was the advice from someone else who only uses her fingers. I have eaten spicy food because it's supposed to encourage circulation in the body and in so doing cause the hair to grow (I know, right?). I have a recipe that I used for almost a year of hair adrenaline where I seeped black tea with garlic, onion, cayenne pepper, 5000 milligrams of biotin (crushed) jojoba oil, olive oil, and coconut oil was supposed to be the thing to use. None of these things worked. In fact, I have learned that too much coconut oil makes my hair feel like straw, hot oil treatments need to be washed out thoroughly, co-washing is not washing your hair but adding more product to it, and vitamins are not for topical use. This experience and what I took from it lasted for the better part of 6 years.

In those 6 years, I began wearing a ponytail to cover the thinning of my hair. Covering the ends
helped the length to grow out but where the ponytail was positioned, caused for that spot to thin as well. I have retired that hairstyle and using heating tools about 8 years ago. I have allowed for the perm to grow out about 7 years ago and had to calm myself from being tempted to go back several times. I relapsed once. Last Autumn, I wore a wig in public for the first time. I hated it!!! It took too long for me to feel comfortable with it and all awhile I felt it was a matter of time before someone pulled it off of my head. After all, when I wore my own hair, people thought it was a wig and instead of asking me, they would come and pull my hair. When I screamed ouch, not one apology - not one. So why wouldn't I believe someone would do the same thing?

Last week, in what seems to be a regular thing, I was doing more hair research and came upon a video where a woman was losing her hair in patches. She was so distraught. She claimed that she was going to allow for her beautician to take over the task of doing what her doctor signed off as being a case of alopecia. The beautician proceeded to shave this woman completely bald. Afterwards, she gave her some products that she was trying to market. Within 6 months, the woman had an even amount of hair all over her head. She was so pleased; however, I was not moved to purchase yet another failed promise or cure all for one. I had enough. I spent too much and I am tired of it. What I did take from that video was to shave it all off and treat my scalp rather then the hair.

Is that prophetic? In the last days that there would be women having bald heads? My crowning glory...I asked what happened Father? Why has it come to this? Well, in my mind anyway. I knew and could see the framework that shaped this journey and I had no one to blame but myself. You see, its how we minimize what we do for the moment. Back in the day, it used to be said to live fast, die young, and leave a good looking corpse. The reasoning behind that was for the person not to be conformed by anyone else's rules. No regrets, take chances, and anything you want to do - go do it! The reasoning sounds good, but is it? Without wisdom, what sounds good can lead to hurt, harm, and danger. Who wants to be strung out on drugs seeing no light at the goal in sight? Who hoped to be an alcoholic, drug dealer, gang leader, bank robber, extortionist, and/or executioner? Never are those positions written on a resume, neither has any child wrote a report on such aspirations in grade school; nevertheless, some neighborhoods wreak with the stench of them.

The analogy of my hair journey shows what many of us go through in our lives. The purpose for writing was for you to see where you are and to stop to go back to pull up that root system and sow better seed. Its going to take time for you to reap that harvest but it took time for you to get to where you are now. I knew when I began using all of those chemicals on my hair that I would have to stop to allow my hair to rest (just like my body), but as the years passed, I kept making the promise to myself and breaking it because I liked what I saw. It was only for a moment and now, I have to deal
with it (Romans 8:13 AMP).

Some of you liked the feeling of being loved for a moment (sex). The after affects weren't so nice (no relationship), and the end result didn't feel as good (disease). The responsibility of that decision didn't go away (unplanned pregnancy) and eventually you will have to answer some pretty tough questions (paternity).

Others went to a party for harmless fun. The gang was taking shots and your buddy gave you one (acceptance). Not even liking the taste of liquor, you did it because everyone else was doing it and you didn't want to be the one to put a downer at the party (compromise). Before you knew it, 1 turned into 20 and they said you were the life of the party (camaraderie). They had to tell you because you don't remember a thing until you walked outside to begin your day only to see your car in a mangled mess and blood on the fender (confusion). You call your buddy to ask what happened last night, he says he doesn't know but you can tell he does and he hangs up on you (rejection). The police pull up to your residence and asks for your name and if that is your car (fear). Because if it is, they need for you to go to the police station with them to answer a few questions (solitude).

Or a decision was made to make a little extra money and there was no other way you could see clear then to do a little drug run for some quick cash (problem). In asking around, you are introduced to a gangster from the old school. This isn't what you wanted (bigger problem). The dealer doesn't care especially now that you know who he is and where he works. He puts you through a test to see if you have the moxie to handle the course (problem is growing). He tells you to take some of his guys to a particular house to pick up his bags (mountain of a problem). There are 7 guys and they are all big (mountain with giants). They all talk as if they have your back. When you get to the place, you have to wait outside and the guys tell you what the job is about. They all pull out their guns from various places hidden on them then ask which one would you be more comfortable with (monumental problem).

You see, the suffering is choosing to do different from what your flesh would have you do (Galatians 5:19-21 AMP). Many times it will take work to do it. All the while your flesh will tell you to quit or give it to someone else to do. Your flesh would have you listen to foolishness and make you think it is a better idea then to do the right thing. Your flesh will justify laziness. The suffering is overcoming those ways, thoughts, and actions. Changing your habits by walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25 AMP). Along the way you learn when choosing life God is right there with you and will walk you through it. It won't feel good at first because you have to overcome what your flesh did. Its a lesson learned and one you are not soon to forget. Life is good. The problems are only tests that can easily be resolved when choosing life. That means when in doubt, ask God, find scriptures that are similar to what you are asking for. Speak those verses....activate those words. That's choosing life.

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