I write this in the immediate wake of a new hair cut. Haircuts are something that most human beings usually feel pretty good about. The feeling of freshly cut ends and the possibility of breathing new life into your hair styling routine are a simple pleasure for most.
My haircut brought more than just new styling possibilities, however. Because it is my first major haircut since high school, I faced a weird fear that I would be cutting off my identity when I cut off my hair.
I’ve always had very thick, naturally wavy hair. No leave in beach spray for me! My hair has always attracted comments like, “Oh you have such beautiful long hair.” And if I ever mentioned cutting it to any friends or family they would say, “Oh Alison, your hair is so pretty, why would you want to cut it off?” The subtext was telling me that I would be cutting off my beauty or feminity if I cut off my hair. Over time, comments (though positive) and fear caused my hair to feel like part of who I was.
Eventually I got annoyed and decided to cut it off. Guess what happened when I did? Nothing. I didn’t suddenly become a different person. I am not my hair. I am still Alison Brook. Hair is just one more way I express myself creativity.
I learned something important about my identity in Christ through this experience. The Bible says that we are “new creatures” in Christ. Like I did with my hair, sometimes Christians associate too strongly with our sins and mistakes.
My sister struggled for years with drug addiction and went through the 12 step program in order to get clean. In meetings she introduces herself as, “Kimmy, addict.” The 12 step program has been great for her, but she expresses a similar temptation to associate too strongly with her past.
As a Christian I can see the validity to remember that I am, “Alison, a sinner” but I dare not stop there. Though Christ I am “Alison, redeemed.” Through Christ and His robe of righteousness I am able to associate with a freedom I could not achieve on my own.