Do you remember that book Dear God, It’s Me Margaret? Written by the incomparable Judy Blume, it was revolutionary at the time as it addressed all of the angst that comes with being an adolescent girl. From training bras to feeling like you were the last one to get the big ‘P’ to dealing with boys who went from being just pesky to being pesky and yet strangely more appealing. I have vivid memories of feeling the heat rise to my cheeks as the main character in her desperation chanted, “I must, I must, I must increase my bust”.
Mostly I was just flabbergasted because I was one of those odd ducks who really didn’t want to develop and frankly abhorred the idea of growing up in general and the thought of purposely trying to ‘increase your bust’ seemed beyond my comprehension.
I also remember the day when my mom and I sat on the couch in our family room and she read out loud to me the book ‘Fearfully and Wonderfully Made’. This was ‘The Talk’ moment and I was more than relieved when it was over and I could go back to playing Barbies.
Now, even though I pouted when my mom insisted I start wearing a training bra (I vividly remember sitting out on the curb in front of my house and thinking that this radical change must be so obvious that the people in every single car that drove by just knew that I was wearing a bra!) and even though I couldn’t wait to get off that couch when ‘The Talk’ was over, it by no means meant that I hadn’t absorbed all of this new, shocking information.
But, no where, not in any single book or Teen Beat Magazine or 6th grade health class did they ever mention chin hairs.
And I cry foul!
Really, someone should have warned me. Chin hairs are not ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’.
As if it isn’t bad enough that I’m nearing 40 and still have the occasional pimple (yet another thing that I should have been warned about), I regularly find myself horrified when the light hits my face just at the perfect angle to reveal a coarse, black nubbin of a hair (or two!!) sticking straight out. Usually this happens at a time when I cannot locate a pair of tweezers which frankly I’ve come to realize should be with me at all times. Like people who have to have an epipen with them in case of an allergic reaction.
Tweezers are my epipen.
I’m quite certain that throughout the course of history as the Bible was translated, they left out one very important verse. When God is handing down the consequence of their sin to Adam and Eve and He informs them that they will now have to toil the earth for food and have pain in childbirth they forgot to include ‘Thou shalt be cursed with chin hairs’.
The other morning as I once again reached for my trusty tweezers, I realized that one particularly annoying chin hair always grew back in the same exact spot. It was relentless. I plucked, it came back. And sometimes it would even bring a friend or two.
And as I contorted my arms into all sorts of interesting positions trying to get just the right angle to pull that sucker out, I realized how much that chin hair was like sin.
No matter how many times the light is shined on the sin in my life and I recognize it, ‘pluck’ it out, put some makeup on it and go about my day, it seems to come back again and again. Usually in the same place.
I like to think of myself as a ‘quick study’, someone who catches on to things pretty easily.
And yet, I find that over and over again, like a stubborn chin hair, there are sin areas in my life that I think are resolved and yet continue to resurface.
(I just realized that chin and sin rhyme. Coincidence? I think not!)
Ahem…getting back to the point here…
Through recognition of my sin, confession and the receiving of forgiveness I’m made new and whole. The slate has been wiped clean.
“If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 1:9
But, even though the slate has been wiped clean, it doesn’t mean that it won’t get written on again. It’s in our nature as humans after all.
I’m so, so grateful for the grace that is extended to me over and over again.
And yet, while that grace and forgiveness is given to me unconditionally, it doesn’t excuse me. We often get caught up in this idea of nothing being required of us when it comes to our relationship with the Lord.
But I think that can become a crutch.
Hear me when I say this, there is a point at which I must get up from kneeling before the throne and start walking again. And I must walk as one who has been made new.
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed'”. 1 Peter 2: 24
The definition of insanity is essentially doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. We sin, come before God, confess our sins, receive forgiveness and then go on to do the exact same thing again.
Yet we know that we cannot change through our own power. So, what’s the answer?
Honestly, I’m not entirely sure. I never promised you all the answers here people! 😉
But, what I am sure of is that in order to be truly ‘made new’ I must be willing to allow God to be the Master ‘Plucker’.
You see, if I really wanted to do away with those chin hairs forever I realize that I could just do laser removal. Zap those bad boys!
But, my guess is that once I zapped one area, another one would pop right back up. Like in the form of long nose hairs or something.
And that’s the way sin is. We might conquer one area of sin in our lives, only to realize that another has surfaced.
It would be easy here to ask, “Well, why even bother then?”
Why not just let those hairs grow willy-nilly?
Well, for one thing, I’d probably end up in the circus or at the state fair where people would win prizes trying to guess the length of my chin hair.
And, for another, frankly I’m supposed to continue to grow in my faith.
Hebrews 5:12 says, “In fact, though by this time, you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food.”
I don’t want milk anymore. I want solid food!
I want God to take out those tweezers and pluck away!
Will it sting? Yes. Will some of those ‘sin hairs’ (like how I did that there?) try to come back? Yes.
But, if I’m truly being ‘transformed’ then they should pop up less and less.
And even when they do, I’ll know that their purpose is to serve as a reminder of my need for…
…and tweezers! 😉