Puberty probably had something to do with it — that time in every person’s life when too much anti-acne cream can short-circuit the brain. I was thirteen, weighed 85 pounds, and planned to be mistaken for a supermodel one day.
Just because I didn’t like the shag carpet in our den didn’t mean I didn’t choose a haircut with the same name. You see, Scarlet, Ann, and Martha all had shags. Their mothers had taken them to city hairdressers, who’d transformed their childish locks into chic looks. And believing that one hairstyle fits all, I planned on the same transformation.
My mother’s beautician, Neva, had never heard of a shag and was afraid to attempt it. She was a sweet lady but had been doing my mother’s hair the same way for thirty years. What could you expect from a woman who operated a one-chair shop in a population that equaled my weight? Hip wasn’t in Neva’s vocabulary. Her new-fangled equipment included a 1950s chair dryer and multiple pink sponge rollers.
Undeterred by Neva’s hesitancy, I asked around the community and found a cosmetology student learning all the latest styles. I hastily booked a cut when I discovered she had a subscription to InStyle Hair. This was going to be awesome.
When my mother and I arrived at my appointment, I realized that the address led us directly to the would-be stylist’s home. That should have been my first red flag. When she asked that I bend over her bathroom sink for my wash — that should have been my second. When she used her textbook as the how-to guide, I should have escaped quickly. But then again, I was thirteen. I was due a bad haircut.
As you might expect, I exited that day looking more like Danny Bonaduce than any female member of the Partridge family. But, it didn’t seem to nip my adolescent desire to find myself by looking like someone else. I went through a Cher phase, where I ironed my hair straight. I went through a Farrah Fawcett phase, where I winged my bangs and flicked my big hair. And I went through a Dorothy Hamill phase, where I looked like the stylist used a kitchen popcorn bowl as her guide.
At thirteen, I looked around me rather than above me for my identity. I had not yet asked my Creator, “Who do YOU say that I am?” I didn’t realize how fearfully, wonderfully, and uniquely He had made me to be (Psalm 139:14).
No matter our age, it’s good to turn to the One Who gave us fingerprints and say, “Who did You make me to be? What distinctive personality have You given me? How do You identify me when the three of You speak together?” Expect to be shocked at His words. For the character He bestows is always so good, acceptable, and perfect that we may have difficulty believing it initially.
The One Who formed you also calls you by name (Isaiah 43:1). You are chosen to be God’s own possession to mirror His image (1 Peter 2:9; Mark 12:17). He wants you to know your mysterious Kingdom identity so you may accomplish what you were created to do (Matthew 13:11: Ephesians 2:10). Thankfully, this hardly ever necessitates a particular haircut — especially not a shag.