I recently got my hair cut by a stylist that I’ve never been to before. Talk about faith and adventure, but I was optimistic. Besides, its just hair. It’ll grow back. I was excitedly anticipating this cut because it’s been a while. Though my long curly locs are beautiful they can also be cumbersome. Not to mention the added heat of wearing a natural scarf every day in the middle of the Georgia summer. I can pull them up but at this length messy buns and ponytails are heavy.
Long story short the resulting cut was much shorter than I had anticipated. I’ve had my hair cut too short before. No big deal. It’ll grow back and my hair grows pretty quickly. I told myself I was okay and went on about my day. About 30 minutes later a wave of anxiety hit that I couldn’t shake. It felt like a combination of nervousness, fear, and a dash of paranoia. I sat in my car for a few minutes to determine if there was any potential threat nearby or if this was all in my head. I concluded that it was in my head. Where was this coming from? I should be happy. I was on my way to get a smoothie. I love smoothies. I was on vacation. Who doesn’t love vacation!? I just got my hair done…cut. My hair is cut. My hair is cut too short. My beautiful curls are gone. It’s too short. It’s too different. I wasn’t ready. I don’t like my hair.
Was I that upset about my hair? The answer was yes…and no. My hair was just a trigger. It was just another thing that wasn’t going according to my plan. I had plans for my vacation. I was going to work on the marketing for my Resigned at 29 merchandise. Specifically, I was going to start running internet ads so I can make some money. I was up late the night before reading blog after blog trying to figure out the best way to make that happen and essentially got nowhere. I was also supposed to draft a post but at that moment I didn’t have the inspiration. What if I don’t get the inspiration? I’m on vacation now but it’s back to the real world next week where finals are lurking. This class has been more difficult than I had anticipated. I wasn’t doing well and I was disappointed in myself. The class is on leadership. I plan on writing a book on leadership someday. I already have the title. But I’m doing poorly in this class so maybe I shouldn’t write this book. Maybe I can’t write this book. Why did I think I could write this book? I’m not qualified to write this book. Speaking of unqualified, the job I interviewed for hasn’t called me back yet. They think I’m unqualified too. I’ll never find a new job. My brain just reeled on and on and on. Each negative thought another rung on the anxiety ladder.
All of these thoughts represented emotions that I pushed aside and didn’t allow myself feel in the moment. Just like my haircut I told myself I was okay and kept it pushing. Being on vacation allowed me to slow down enough for everything else to catch up with me. The haircut was a reminder of all the other areas of unmet expectations and failed anticipations in my life. All seemingly little things but big things are made up of little things. Atoms and quarks matter. (Pun intended). Quantum physics is about a bunch of little things. When you put them together it forms a big thing so complex that the average person can’t comprehend it. Don’t sweat the small stuff but don’t ignore it either. Little things in a car can turn into major issues if they aren’t handled while they’re small. The same concept applies on a mental and emotional level; that’s how people blow head gaskets. I heard a psychologist say a while back that no one ever really “snaps.” Just because we don’t see the build-up doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
Before I went on vacation I had someone ask me how I felt about something at work. I simply said, “I don’t have time to feel.” I realized how unhealthy that statement sounded but it was true and I couldn’t think of anything better to say. I took a few courses in Christian Counseling a few years ago. One of the most important take aways is that God gave us emotions for a reason, even the negative ones. Allow yourself the feel the emotion. Acknowledge it. Then let it go. Take care of emotions while they are small. When we suppress our emotions they tend to amplify. Like a child vying for your attention. The more you ignore them the more they act out. And like an unruly child, your unchecked emotions are annoying everyone around you.
But I have good news! For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. What I mean is little things have the power to produce big positive results too. Fact: Amazon started in a garage…with dial-up internet (pause for dramatic effect). The Bible says not to despise small beginnings. I’ve said it before, even a single drop in a lake will still make ripples. I have to remind myself of this truth when things don’t seem to be taking off as quickly as I’d like. Just because Resigned at 29 doesn’t seem to be making ripples doesn’t mean it won’t. This is just the beginning. And if this isn’t the thing, its the thing that will lead me to the thing. I can have confidence in this because I know all things work for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose [Romans 8:28]. I’m writing this to encourage you as I encourage myself. In this so called game of life, take the time to feel then get back on the field. Selah