Saturday, January 11, 2014

Notes From My Daughter - Pride & Beauty

My Daughter
Occasional notes from my 20 year old daughter. I never know what to expect when she writes, but it's usually a pleasant surprise.  Read on!

Another Note on Pride! Yes! And I will finish this series soon, but I'd rather go through it thoroughly than promote the notion that there is a shortcut to dealing with this stronghold. Now if you have a problem with the gaps in between my posts, I don't blame you (honestly I am sorry college is a beast and I'm still learning how to schedule my life properly).

 If you want insight on dealing with pride in a more consistent and timely manner I only suggest you do these things constantly: worship, pray and study the word of God. In doing these things you are "asking, seeking, and knocking" and the Lord is faithful to answer. I'm only showing you what He showed me overtime and while I am grateful for the lesson, and the ability to write, it is ultimately God who does the changing and provides revelation. He's a better writer than I am, He even has 66 books that have been on the best seller's list for centuries! I've only been alive for 20 years and I will never beat that track record.

However In my 20 years of life, God has used the aspect of change to teach me more than I could learn if I were to remain the same. God-led experiences are humbling and always provide a truthful perspective to whatever you face in life. One circumstance in particular is when this happened to me is when I decided to cut my hair off.

With Hair!

One morning I woke up about 15 minutes before my class, at this point I could still make it on time because my class was only 5-10 minutes away from my dorm. So I rushed out of bed, put on some clothes, threw on my glasses and as soon as I saw my reflection with 20/20 vision I stopped. I looked a mess. I tried little things to improve my appearance like swapping my bulky glasses for contact lenses.

"Better" I thought, but when you start off terrible better just takes you from looking. I looked at my clock and I had 5 minutes until class started; with those 5 minutes I thought "let me try and fix my hair and then I'll look good enough to go to class."

Now every woman with sense knows that getting your hair to look decent in 5 minutes is a bit unrealistic unless you're really skilled. Any black woman with natural hair knows you've lost your mind, but due to my Jamaican sense of time and my unhappiness with how I looked I proceeded to try to give myself a makeover.

It was then that I clearly heard God speak to me, in the midst of my confusion and frustration I strongly felt the Holy Spirit convict me "Why do you care what you look like?" and I promptly responded "I don't, but other people are going to think I'm crazy if I walk out of my house looking like this."

And right then and there in my freshman dorm room I had an "aha moment". Most people have an aha moment and change, I however kept on pulling and brushing my hair even though I just had a revelation. To be clear, I never worshiped my hair, I worshiped people's opinion. It held me like a mother holds a child to its breasts, making me feel secure whenever I cried. To start weaning me off this attachment would take an adjustment in my perception and identity. The thing about worship is whatever you worship you will allow to define you and at this point in time my identity was in the opinions of other people. When you worship God, He defines you.

It was now 20 minutes into my 50 minute class and I was still in my dorm, trying to look presentable. Even though God spoke to me already, I realized how serious the matter was at this moment (I had a Matthew 21:28-32 moment of delayed listening). I broke down, wondering what on earth was I still doing in my bedroom and how did my priorities get so screwed up. Why did it feel like I had to look a certain way to at least be considered good enough? I wasn't aiming for beautiful goddess but I didn't wanted to walk around looking like a troll. Once more, God spoke to me:

"Cut your hair Gabby"


"You've always wanted to cut your hair"; ( this is true, you can ask my mother I was a scissor happy child), "so why not?"

"I would be happy, but everyone else will…."

I didn't finish my sentence because there was nothing more to say. I realized I was basing my identity on conditional appreciation and not the love of my heavenly Father which is crazy because I'm made in his image. What does the opinion of another creation matter?

So that day I semi-committed and cut off 3 strands of hair, lol. (I had to do something to represent that I was going to listen). The only reason I didn't cut it all of immediately was because I wanted to figure out how to donate my hair. That same day, I went on a blog and saw a post about a woman who donated her hair. Feeling confirmation, I committed to cutting my hair in the summer when it would be long enough and giving it to charity. The actual ACTION of physically letting my hair go was for me representative of me caring more of what God thought than anyone else. I actually let my dad cut my hair since I thought he would be the only family member willing to do so. I went into the bathroom with 5 ponytails of thick hair and asked him to do it for me because I couldn't do It myself.

After he cut them all I said "Daddy, do you still think I'm pretty?" he looked in my eyes and he said, "You are beautiful."
New Hair do
I could only imagine if that's what my earthly father felt, how much more did my heavenly Father have delight in my obedience? This is not to say I'm obedient all the time, or that I'm perfect (you can even see my delay and hesitance in this story). However, in that moment of finally having short uneven unprofessionally cut hair I felt more beautiful than ever because I saw myself the way God saw me rather than thinking about anyone else.

Your identity has everything to do with how you behave, how you believe and whom you trust. When your identity is not in God it is so easy to be attached to sin and to be proud to the point where you are unwilling to change. Change is not even a thought, you don't see the beauty in it and you are unable to see the flaws in your ways. You are blind and that is why pride comes before a fall.
Change can happen immediately, through a long process, or by combination of the two. No matter which route it occurs by, be willing to let God make changes in your life. God is the only one who has the authority to say "I am who I am" and though you are made in his image, you still fall short and it's important throughout life to LET GOD make you look more like him every day as He is the only one who defines your image. Be open to his change. Be willing to see his vision. Beauty is made by God and he sees it perfectly so let him take you and show you what he has designed for your life.

Now that you've heard one of my stories here's my challenge to you:

  1. Pray: Ask God where your heart is hardened, where you lack understanding. "8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."- 1 John 1
  2. Repent: Repentance literally is a turn, and change. It genuinely comes from the heart when you see how sin really works and how much more you want God. It's responsibility for your wrong yet also a decision to live differently.
  3. Action by Faith: There has to be at least one thing you can do to change right now. Ask God one thing you can do to take a step in His direction. And then GET UP AND DO IT, find an accountability partner, and move swiftly. Don't let the thought sit there, be brave enough to bring it to a reality. Change is a choice and your choices are under your control so use them wisely.
  4. Repeat: You may have been consistently one way before, but now consistently walk in Faith. The difference is with faith LIFE IS PRODUCED and you can do more with it. Your growth plants new seeds. So continue in the faith, and see what God means when he says he can do exceedingly abundantly more than you could ever dream or imagine. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9
Psalm 139 is a great chapter to meditate on especially for the issue of identity.
Has it been all smooth sailing ever since I cut my hair? No. Once God matured me in how I viewed beauty and security he opened up my eyes to many more places that I invested my identity in. Our culture doesn't work in a vacuum and the devil doesn't just attack you one time and walk away, it is repeatedly ingrained in our mindset that our value comes from things outside of our creator and that's a lie.

This whole hair experience was a beginning for me and was a pivotal point of me understanding how God uses change for our good. The challenge I gave you all is the same one I am doing myself, but I am encouraged because I know my God is faithful and that He has the true vision of who I am and who I will be. My identity is secure in Him.

For curious minds, although I am growing my hair out again, I definitely plan to cut it again in the future. It's a blessing to have more freedom and I do not regret AT ALL cutting my hair, hence why I plan to do it again.


  1. What a great post! You are so wise beyond your years! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Lord yes .... Young and smart and female...I agree with Faith about you being wise beyond your years!! Great series!


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