On the Other Side of the Part:A Good Kind of Comb Over

In my last post I wrote about believing what God has said about me, about us, and not struggling against what He has said is true about our new nature. I’ve been practicing telling myself that I am what He says I am in spite of the way I feel, or what I think. Have you been practicing too? Well, let me tell you what I’ve learned since then. Maybe it will resonate. 

You may remember me saying that I’ve been growing out my hair. (Men, don’t tune me out here. This isn’t a beauty blog! Have you seen my photo?!) Since I turned forty some years ago, my body has been inhabited by alien life forms unsatisfied with the current state of affairs. My hair, for example, has become grey (under that Nice-n-Easy114), curly, and terribly unruly. I often dry it out straight, but in spite of my best efforts, and those of my hairdresser, I have a receding hair line that is sprouting little wispy “baby” hairs that stick straight up. I mean straight up. When I walk it’s especially comical because those hairs wave back and forth with the breeze, wandering from one side of my natural part to the other. No matter how I dry it – on one side of the part or the other – it makes no difference. What does happen, though, when I get the part slightly off natural, my head feels like a cat that’s been rubbed backward. If you’ve ever tried to part your hair differently than normal you know the discomfort. If you’ve never tried it, try it right now. Yes. Reach up and rearrange your hair until you’ve completely hidden your natural part. Can’t stand it, can you? Takes everything in you not to shake your head until it falls back to the natural default, right? This is how it feels to believe Jesus instead of you. It’s like living on the other side of the part.

So what I’ve learned is that this discomfort is a litmus test of sorts. Believing Jesus goes against everything natural in me and it takes concentrated effort not to shrug off my faith and go back to the natural state of affairs. When I’m most uncomfortable, I’m exactly where I should be. When I’m carelessly comfortable, I’m in trouble. When I’m living on the other side of the part, it is necessary to be completely focused on the help and strength of Christ not to shake off the discomfort, but to stand in awareness of it and persevere in spite of it. In Christian speak you might call that “surrendered”. It’s a posture that pleases Christ. And it doesn’t demonstrate personal weakness or helpless vulnerability, but rather, strength of faith. It is a willingness to live in a state of discomfort for His sake. Like having your hair perpetually parted on the other side.

Anyway, I just thought I’d mention all that so that you know you have a kindred spirit in your uneasiness. There is nothing natural about this Christian experience. We are confused if we think it should be easy. And who will save us from this wretched body of death…and this unnatural part in our hair…but Jesus, the Christ, for whose sake we endure all things. Comb it over, brother and sister, and press on!