Beauty Tips From The Beatitudes
Where’d that hair come from?!
When one of my 20-something girlfriends called recently and said, “You gotta come over and tell me what to do, I have a huge problem!” I raced to her side to hear what I assumed would be life altering news. Then she dropped the bomb: “I woke up this morning with an inch long hair coming out of my chin – what’s wrong with me?!”
Having friends of all ages and stages of life is the best. I learn as much from my 20-something aged friends, as my 80-year-old friends! Their depth, their wisdom, their passion about things may be varied, but trying to understand their passions, their fears, and their idiosyncrasies is how we get to see each other’s heart, and world, and honestly, for me, grow closer to God.
I’ll admit, recognizing the diﬀerences in their responses to how they see life highlights the generational diversity of my closest friends. What one deems as urgent another would disregard and find un-important.
We are all gifted and equipped diﬀerently.
When we look at how God mixes diﬀerent flavors of friendship with varying gifts and views of the world in one giant bowl, knowing that the end result of this recipe will turn out perfectly seems so counterintuitive. Should we expect these aphorisms in life, when we live following Jesus?
From the world’s perspective, the question is usually why be in relationships that cause us to give up our own expectations?
Isn’t this exactly what Jesus told us in The Sermon on the Mount, when He proclaimed the memorable statements in The Beatitudes? When we are in pursuit of perfect relationships, He uses The Beatitudes to show us where to start. First it must be pursuing Him. We see His heart and the desire for us to know where His kingdom is found and who will inherit its fullness!
God desires for us to love each other, by loving the values and virtues of Jesus’s kingdom. We need to do this together to be kingdom-builders. The Beatitudes are not trivial promises of an easy life or assurance that we will live a life full of good health, great friends, comfort and hairless chins.
We looked in the mirror together…
Yep. There it was. A curly, kinda coarse chin hair. I assured her that it wasn’t actually as bad as she thought. It was only about 3/4 of an inch long.
She looked at me with pleading eyes. “Can it be removed? Will it come back? Where did this hair come from?”
I told myself she was looking to me as a wiser, older friend, whom she trusted to speak truth into her life. I was hoping it wasn’t that she had seen hairs all over MY chin, so she KNEW I could relate.
I had two choices:
1) Admit I knew how to deal with this hideous monster because, I too, had dealt with the exact same thing; OR
2) plead the fifth.
If I told her the truth that I’ve been removing hairs from my chin for years, would she ever trust me again, because I hadn’t warned her? If I told her that hair shows up in all kinds of places that you don’t expect after the age of about 25, would she be reviled and disgusted and not want to be my friend anymore?
We all have things in our lives that we think will cause others to run. To be reviled. Sins we must face.
Life that is not in pursuit of mourning, meekness, or mercy and persecuted for righteousness is surprised when we wake up one morning and a small mess in our lives has exploded and grown big enough for others to see.
But the truth is, just like the hair didn’t really surprise us and show up over night, neither does sin in our lives. It had a tiny sprout at one point. From the perspective of the world, there’s absolutely nothing blessed about facing these sins. Like the hair, we need to get to the root of the problem. Jesus challenges us repeatedly to realize his way is full of surprises. His surprises show up to those who experience hardship and those who forgive, for those who together seek His will, His way.
No one wants to have the weird or messy things in their lives exposed. Most of us are reluctant to look when we see messy front and center. We avert our eyes and our hearts from messy.
We looked at the hair together.
I felt her desperation. I decided to come clean and tell her that this was something I knew well…my darling, 20-something aged friend was relieved. We could deal with it and there was something better to come.
In The Beatitudes there’s the complicated “it’s now and not quite yet” reality of the kingdom of heaven; we are blessed now for things we haven’t yet experienced fully.
I confessed how when I found my first hair I wanted to stop anything from ever growing out of place again and used Compound-W on my face.
Yes, that’s right…the stuﬀ that comes in a bottle to burn away warts, and is clearly marked with a cautionary label stating to never put this stuﬀ on your face.
If only I’d had someone to confess my messiness to at 20 years old. How many hairs in my life could have been removed without scars left behind?
I showed my friend the 30-year old burn mark on my face from trying to deal with my hair alone. I never wanted anyone to make my same mistake. When we try to deal with messiness in life alone, it isolates us and allows us to fall into the trap of believing we can handle life alone. It causes self absorption. Isolation.
I’d been dealing with some chin hairs of my own and, frankly, I didn’t really want to look that closely at them. But it’s so good to get out the magnifying mirror and remove them with the help of a friend.
My fear of letting someone in to see my messes reinforced my inability to believe in His mercy.
We must stop believing that whatever messes we have in our lives are special or unique and no one else will understand. No sin is a special sin, they’re all: God-belittling, Christ-mocking, Spirit-despising sins.
We must stop pretending like there are no future consequences to our actions. No putting selfish desires first. No engaging in activities that bring shame to the gospel.
We must start thinking and acting like God-honoring, Christ-praising, Spirit-glorifying believers of Jesus. For the love of God and his church, we must adore The Beatitudes, and demonstrate what it looks like to counter the empty pursuits we value so dearly.
We were perfectly designed and created to walk through life alongside each other.
The Beatitudes, Jesus proclaims, are the beauty of a renewed world, and renewed relationships that we fail to recognize or imagine. He draws us into the counterintuitive in relationships so that we continue to explore their depth.
Pulling out one chin hair did not change my friend’s life. My expectations of her emergency phone call disrupted my life. It caused me to pause and examine all of the ways I need to love her and be in her life…to be “for hair removal together!”
I desperately need God to be in my life plucking out the messy hairs one at a time. To guide, to encourage, challenge and have my expectations disrupted, so I can live in light of his eternal kingdom.