Hair was always an issue, growing up. MY hair, that is. You see, I had naturally curly hair, and that was not cool way back when. So I worked hard to get my hair straight. Way hard. My mom was even in on the whole thing. It all started when I spotted “Uncurl” at the local drugstore, this amazing magical product. It worked perfect every time. It was a whole-morning ordeal, but I didn’t mind. Not one bit. I didn’t even mind the strong stinky potion, as long as it did the job.
This twice-a-year event took place in the basement on newspapers spread all over the floor. After mixing the potent chemicals and draping a towel across my neck, the ritual would begin. Hanging my head down and covering my eyes tight, my mom would spread the cold goopy stuff all over my curly locks, working it in, making sure it covered every last strand. I loved how it felt, heavy on my head, as it did its amazing thing. Staying bent over until my back could stand it no more, it’d finally be time to wash it out. Then after blowdrying . . . ta-dah! My new hair would be stiff and long and straight. I was always overjoyed.
I wore curlers the size of orange juice cans to bed every night. I had the system down. I’d scrunch my pillow under my cheek, letting the curlers hang over the edge, and sleep peacefully through the night. Amazing, huh? Anything to get it right.
I loved my straightened hair, in spite of a few bad hair days. When my hair looked great, I felt great. When it didn’t, I didn’t. That’s when I thought, why does how I feel about myself depend upon my hair? What a relief it was when I later learned the truth. That is . . . even though we all want to look our best, what’s important is what’s in our heart.
1 Samuel 16:7 says, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
And what’s most important in the heart? That we love God, feel good about ourselves, and we’re kind and caring to others. Wow! Now isn’t that awesome? That we don’t have to compete or be anyone other than who we are, bad hair days and all.
So keep following your dreams, and on days your hair isn’t looking quite how you’d like, remember that true beauty radiates from the heart.