Forced to cut her own hair during quarantine, Claire McGarry realizes the negative effects of cutting out good patterns in our lives.
During quarantine, I had to cut my own hair four times. Fortunately, I have a great stylist, and just followed the pattern she’d already created. Besides, my hair is short and wavy. All I had to do was add a little product, scrunch it to curl, and any unevenness just got mixed into the whole.
My hair actually looked pretty good, making me think I could permanently skip those $50 visits every six to eight weeks. There are so many other things I could spend that money on.
Unfortunately, everything changed after the fourth haircut. Even during the previous three, there was no way I could layer behind my head. I'd just been cutting a straight line across the back each time, completely blind. That fourth time, I'd cut away the last vestiges of the pattern my stylist had set. The bottom curled under, but the long, unlayered hair on top began sticking out. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t get it to look right.
They followed emptiness and became empty. (2 Kings 17:15)
That’s what happens when we drift away from healthy structures and patterns in our lives, be them going to church, daily prayer, exercise, eating right, or going to bed on time. The positive effects of these good habits carry us for a while, and we start wondering why we had to do them in the first place.
Little by little, we drift, until the drifting becomes our new pattern. We pride ourselves on the fact that we’re actually doing pretty well on our own, bucking the system. We make the subtle decision to continue on as is, doing our own thing.
That is, until we wake up one morning, and find we've cut away every last vestige of the good patterns we used to have. That's when it all catches up to us. Suddenly, our bodies feel bloated and achy, our minds are sluggish and scattered. Worst of all, our souls are unsettled and irritated. We can’t make anything look or feel right again.
As soon as quarantine restrictions were lifted, I called to make an appointment with my stylist. She won't be in for another few weeks, but I can't wait to sit in her chair, knowing I'll be in good hands as she cuts the right pattern back into my hair, making it look right again.
It's the same when we drift away from what is healthy and good for us in our lives. Simply resuming the good habits eventually gets us back on track. More importantly, returning to God and prayer puts us in good hands, soothing our soul, and making everything right again.
Copyright 2020 Claire McGarry
Image: Pexels (2020)
About the Author
Claire McGarry is the author of the Lenten devotional "With Our Savior," published by Creative Communications for the Family/Bayard, Inc. and All is Blessing: Finding God in the Tensions of Life, to be published by Our Sunday Visitor in the fall of 2021. Her freelance work has appeared in various Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Focus on the Family magazine, Catechist magazine, These Days devotional, and Keys for Kids devotional. The founder of MOSAIC of Faith, a ministry with several different programs for mothers and children, she blogs at Shifting My Perspective.