So, I was in the shower one day and my eyes fell to the shampoo bottle I was holding – Damage Rescue it said. If only it was that easy, I thought. The trouble is when your hair is as damaged by life as mine is, it takes more than a shampoo and conditioner to set it right – it takes a good haircut!
Sometimes life is like that- a quick easy solution in a pretty bottle tells you all will be well but inside you know that it’s going to take something a little more drastic to deal with the dryness, the split-ends of brokenness and the dull lifelessness you’re experiencing.
You see, most of us just deal with the symptoms of our dysfunction- we want someone to hand us a bottle which will smooth over the broken relationships, over the depression, the low self esteem, the panic attacks, the eating disorder, the self harm behaviours without ever dealing with the root causes of the problem.
But just like healthy hair comes from a mixture of good diet, exercise, rest and regular haircuts, so a healthy life comes from a mixture of the same things.
We need a good diet of the Word. Let’s not immerse ourselves in the pages of countless magazines that tell us we will never measure up to the unattainable standard of this world. Instead immerse yourself in stuff that feeds you the truth of God’s Word and encourages you to absorb the nutrients of what He says over your life. Don’t be religious about it but have a healthy balance of what you put into yourself and you will see the fruit of it on the outside.
We need to exercise- don’t just read the Word but do what it says. James 1: 22-24 says this in The Message: ‘Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.’
We need rest; we need peace, and not the kind of peace that is dependant on whether our life is going well or not. We need to tap into God’s peace. He promises that when we roll our cares onto Him, when we give our anxiety, our fear, worry and panic to Him, He will replace it with His peace. (Philippians 4:6-7) His peace surpasses all understanding in that it overrides the circumstances we may find ourselves in. Though we may face a storm, His peace can place us right in the eye of that storm- the most quiet and peaceful place, right in the centre of His rest. So often we want the storm to be calmed but God will sometimes let it rage and calm us instead.
We need regular time in His presence and to trust Him with a pair of scissors! He will shape our lives, our hearts, our minds, as we choose to give Him access to our innermost being. When we have the courage to come out of hiding and to place ourselves before Him, as we draw near to Him, His promise is that He will draw near to us. This usually means allowing Him to cut off negative thought patterns, allowing Him to teach us to forgive and cutting off bitterness and destructive behaviours. He will cut off shame, control and independence, rebellion, hardness of heart and disappointment, but only if we give Him permission. He will do all this if we seat ourselves in His chair and trust Him enough to cut what needs to be cut so He can reveal our health, our strength and bring out the beauty within.
When it comes to Damage Rescue, shampoo will never be enough. So, I put the shampoo bottle down, smiled to myself and phoned my hairdresser…
Arianna Walker is the Executive Director of Mercy UK.