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Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Confession

"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."
-- Romans 7:15

Dan and I might claim to be crazy but here's the truth -- we're struggling just as much (or maybe more?) than everyone else. In my heart, I want to be "crazy," I really do. In practice, it's just so hard. Just when I think I'm making some good progress, my wordliness rears its ugly head and reminds me exactly how much I am a product of the affluent, stuff-loving culture I live in.

Here's a sad but true real life example for me... 

When Dan and I first started down this crazy path, I told him that a couple of things were going to have to be off-limits, especially my hair. Yes, my hair. I am just not ready for homemade hair cuts and do-it-yourself color products and so forth. Sorry.

And then a few weeks ago in a rare moment of inspiration, I decided that maybe I really was ready. A coupon arrived in the mail for the newly opened SuperCuts down the street -- $6.99 for a haircut. I decided to try it out. I just wanted a little trim, nothing fancy and the lady was able to handle that just fine. I even bragged to some girlfriends that night about my bravery and great cost savings.

And then I decided to continue this "craziness" by getting my hair colored at a place way less expensive than my usual salon. And it is way less expensive for a reason -- the stylists are students. I've had several friends use this place with great success. I'd been to SuperCuts. I was ready and even excited. I was envisioning the blog post already... with some catchy little title like "Cutting Costs."

But oh my word, this one did not work out as planned. I walked out of that place looking like a zebra from the neck up. Yep, my hair was stripped. I came home and cried (yes, over my hair!!), my husband tried to comfort me by telling me that he had no idea what I was talking about (I sort of suspect that Dan was truthful in this -- he never sees the stuff going on with my hair) and I lost almost an entire night of sleep worrying about my new look. Seriously.

The student salon, knowing I was not pleased with the new 'do', called and asked me to come back the next Saturday so they could fix it. I agreed. And they did not fix it, I actually think they made it worse the second time. And they still charged me for both appointments. And so when all was said and done I still had to go back to my old salon (and pay them) to have my hair colored/fixed. And ultimately, this ended up being the most expensive hair-experience I have ever had in my life.

Now that the hair crisis has been paid for and averted, we can all get in a good laugh and move on, right? But here's the real confession -- I just feel sick about the whole thing. Happening simultaneously with my so-called hair crisis, there was a very real crisis taking place in Uganda. Not a crisis involving a bunch of foolish, wordly, rich people problems but involving hunger, poverty, death and disease. 

While I cried over my hair, there was a story unfolding in a village in Jinja, Uganda that was really worth crying about. Nabakoza wasn't able to blog about her story -- she doesn't have a computer, has probably never heard of the internet and she was too weak, sick and neglected to even sit up. And meanwhile I'm blogging about and crying over my hair. I am so ashamed.

I do take some comfort in knowing that Paul, a giant of our faith, also struggled with not doing the things he wanted to do and still doing the things he hated. Some days it just seems like a losing battle -- I mean, how much can I really disentangle myself from the things of this world? I don't know, but I'm pretty sure that tossing up my hands and giving up is not the answer. I'm also pretty certain that I won't make better choices and live a less wordly life just by committing to "do better."

My only hope is to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus... to immerse myself in the Word, to live a vibrant and active prayer life and to constantly seek His will and direction for my life. One of my favorite hymns goes like this:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

May it be so in my life Lord! Help me to seek You and to want You alone. You are the real and only treasure of this world.


Melissa said...

I love how real and transparent you are. You are living crazy just in this realization that you cannot live crazy. The most radical, crazy thing is realizing your NEED for Christ and realizing you can't live crazy or radical without him doing it in you. It is Christ living in us to compell us to love others. Thanks for sharing your story of your hair, I can totally relate to this story so many times in my life. Hope to see you soon! I think your neat! (:

Julie said...

I can really identify with this post. My husband and I were having a conversation about this exact thing earlier this evening.

I have been wanting to contact you (I sent you a message through the 60 feet email address) about a non-profit ministry my friend and I are starting to help adoptive families raise money. My friend is actually in Thailand right now preparing to bring their precious little boy home. You can visit our blog at http://coveredandsharing.blogspot.com/ We still have several aspects of the blog to work on, but you can look at our "Store" (SUPER cute, handmade hooded towels) and the fundraising and FAQ information. We would love to be a part of your adoption journey! If this sounds like something you are interested in, please email us at coveredandsharing@gmail.com. We are located in central Alabama so we're almost neighbors. :)

Joshua Goodling said...

That is DEFINITELY a struggle for everyone who is trying to live for Jesus...dealing with the "affairs of this life". We want so badly to just say "I give up this world" and POOF - all of our worldly desires would be gone. But the sad truth is - we have to deal with them on a daily basis.

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands,
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand.

Than to be a king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin’s dread sway,
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

James 1:27 Family said...

I think zebra striped hair sounds cool. I wish you would have kept it for Sarah's party on Saturday. :)

Isn't it great that the only two who matter... Jesus and Dan.... don't give a hoot about your hair? That's what I always have to remember. If Jesus and my husband are OK with my sweatpants and purple eye shadow, then all is well.

There is freedom and true beauty is falling away from the world's definitions of style and fashion. And you, my friend, have always been beautiful. You are beautiful on the inside and outside. I love you very much and I love your heart and your honesty.

I'm thrilled that you are my eternal friend.

Much love,

Jane said...

I would cry over zebra hair too. I am a fan of cheap hair cuts, but maybe $6.99 is a little too cheap - lets try a $20 hair cut and see how that goes. hang in there - your doing a good job.
Jane -

RACHEL said...

I just found your blog and love it. I am also wishing I were crazy and adopting from Uganda! I can't wait to see what God has for you in the future.

Michelle Johnson said...

Shelly, I am loving this post. I also struggle, struggle, struggle. We are trying to down-size in many ways to free up more for 60feet, for The Raining Season in Sierra Leone, orphan ministry, people ministry in general. Today I felt oh so guilty spending $25 on milkshakes, lip gloss, slushies, etc...from Wawa for the van load of kids I had in the car. When you consider that much of the world survives on 1 or 2 dollars a day, it just doesn't feel right. I constantly re-evaluate what we are doing, and why. Hopefully, God's spirit will continue to lead and guide, and even make us feel guilty on occasion.

Anthony said...

I think the relief you are looking for is in the next few verses of Romans as Paul talks about that this "old self" inside him is not the real him...he even says it a couple of times (it's the sin living within him), and then he follows it up in Romans 8:1 when he says "Therefore, there is now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." So don't get too taken out by this...it's obvious by the "effect" of your life and your transparency that your truest desires are to worship and please God, so keep moving forward because your heart has been circumcised unto God...you are something new and the "new" real you wants to do good, just like Paul.

Sara Otis said...

Your honesty is refreshing Shelly! For some reason hair cuts have always been an issue for me as well. Thats the one thing I have never even thought about spending a fortune on. But you have convinced (or convicted) me to give it up this month. I have had my eye on a place that gives 3mil haircuts...thats about a dollar fifty. Thanks for the honesty, it does the world good.

Nancy said...

I love your posts. Thank you for sharing. You're right, we can't just give up. We just have to keep looking to Jesus and hope we keep becoming a little more like him along the way.

Heath said...

Shelly im so obsessed with you! :) We were just talking about this exact same thing in my small group a couple of weeks ago. What is it in us that constantly draws us into frivolous things such as our hair?? (im blond. lived in africa for a year. went to a 'country club' place in arusha to have it done professionally. im with you.) i think its that we care so much about the here and now because its what we know. its so hard to keep our hearts and minds set on the eternal!! But like Paul, we want to sooooo badly! Ahhh im so thankful for Jesus! And because He loved us we can love Hannah, Joseph, Neema and hundreds more! Keep sharing your heart because its beautiful! xoxo