If you're going through a season of growth, read this

5:30 am Unknown 0 Comments

“Are you growing your hair?” 

Lately, people ask me that a lot. And it frustrates me. 

I’ve been growing my hair for three years now. I’ve been growing it ever since the day that I walked into the hairdresser and in response to his question, “What are we doing today?” replied, “Let’s shave it all off.”

I shaved my long hair off for the cancer shave-a-thon. Xylon had just started his second year of chemotherapy. I wanted to do something, something that felt tangible, as a sign that we were in this together. 

I wasn’t brave enough to sit in a shopping centre and let a stranger put a razor through my hair so instead I went to my trusted hairdresser, Richard, and asked him to shave my hair off and to bag the lengths to be donated for wigs. 

Richard ran his fingers through my hair. Then he suggested instead of shaving it all off, he should cut off ponytails on the backs and sides, and then shave everything else except a long fringe. He explained how it’s the top of a person’s head that takes the longest to grow. 

I think Richard knew how slowly my hair grows and took mercy on me. After diving my hair into four sections and cutting as close to the skull as possible he placed my 15cm ponytails in a ziplock bag. The next day I would take them to be donated for wigs. 

I walked out of the hairdresser that day with three quarters of my head shaved. I missed my ponytail like a phantom limb. I returned from my lunchtime hair cut to an office of collegues who all had nice things to say about what I’d done. 

And right there and then on that March day three years ago, I started growing my hair. 

Only three years later have people started to ask if I’m growing my hair. My hair is now just past my shoulders, 15-20cm longer than the day Richard cut four ponytails off at my request. 

I think internal change is a little like growing my hair. It can be slow and take years before anyone notices change. 

At the moment I’m learning how to love well, read well and run well. These changes are so slow. Sometimes I don’t even notice them in myself. 

I’ve been growing my hair the whole time but people around me haven’t noticed, or at least they haven’t commented. It’s only after three years, and a lot of growth, that any one begins to comment. 

Even if you’re trying to change something really hard right now, and you’ve been learning to respond differently for a really long time, don’t lose heart. 

There’s a bible verse in Romans 5 that reminds me that out of struggle character grows. 
And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness.

Sometimes I think we live in a world where things come so easily that we forget this simple life principal that it is through endurance our character is shaped. 

If I want a carrot I go to the shops buy a bag and 5 minutes later I can eat it or cook with it. Not so long ago if I wanted a carrot I would have to planned to plant it in the right season, nurture it and then pull it from the ground at just the right time. Something as simple as a carrot would require 2-3 months of struggle before I saw evidence of what I’d sewn. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is, just because other people don’t notice your good changes doesn’t mean you aren't changing.

Even if no one comments on my hair growing it won’t change the fact that my hair now reaches just below my shoulders. 

Even if no one comments on the inner work I’m doing to love well that doesn’t mean my character isn’t being shaped. 

Growth doesn't have to be validated to be true. Perhaps the most powerful inner changes come through quite struggle and go unnoticed by all but a few paying close attention. 

Growth counts, even when the only person noticing it is you. (tweet this)

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