For Halloween this year, I dressed up as the character, Joy, from the recent movie Inside Out. I’m definitely a glass-half-full, optimistic, smiley kind of person, so her character resonated with me (as did the lesson she learned throughout the course of the movie.)
Along with her smile that lights up a room, Joy also has bright, electric blue hair. My hair is naturally dark. Very dark. Practically black. And, although I do have to regularly color my hair to hide my grays, I wasn’t planning on making a permanent change to blue. I was all about the character. For a night. No need to live the dream for the next six weeks.
I was so glad I went to a costume shop to purchase temporary hair color spray. Thankfully, their staff was trained and knowledgable about their products. As I looked at the various shades of blue and was explaining what I was trying to accomplish, the sales associate questioned me.
“You know you have to go white first, don’t you?”
“I’m sorry….WHAT did you say?” I had NO idea what she was talking about and thought, for certain, she misunderstood that I was trying to go to a bright shade of blue.
“White, ma’am. You have to make your hair white first. Your hair is too dark, and the blue won’t show up like you want it to. You can’t achieve a bright blue from spraying your dark hair. The only way it works is if you go all-white first. Only then can the blue become as bright as you’re hoping to make it.”
“Wow, really? I had no idea. None! I never would have dreamed to go in the opposite direction first. Thank you for educating me!!”
I had to laugh at my ignorance. I think she did a little bit too. It just didn’t occur to me that there may have to be a step in between where I was and where I wanted to go. I had already strategized about going directly from Point A to Point B. It would be quick, simple and effective. Or, so I thought…
I continued to think about this process of change as I drove home that day, as well the next few days. It became a real live, interactive experience on the evening of Halloween as I began to transform my deep, dark brown to stark white. White…not blue like I wanted….but white. It was a bit nerve-wracking.
I couldn’t help but think about how many times life makes us comfortable. How many times do we find ourselves in a place that we don’t think will help us? How often have I looked back on life, only to realize I had to experience something that was the opposite of what I thought I needed, in order to achieve the end-goal I had wanted all along?
How many times does God use those uncomfortable, uncertain and nerve-wracking times to shape us, teach us and transform us?
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28)
So many times in my life, I can see how the Lord has used the times of most discomfort for the greatest use. It’s widely accepted that we grow most in times of adversity. Even in that adversity, God has plans for our good. Our experiences, learning, growth and faith are impacted and used to transform us closer and closer to His likeness.
Just like my hair color-change was a process, so is life. It’s a journey. One that doesn’t always neatly go from Point A to Point B. And that’s okay. It’s okay, because we can rest assured that God has plans for us; plans to use each and every piece of our lives – the good, the bad and the ugly – for our benefit. Each experience flowed through His fingers to help transform us toward the end goal.
We have to remember that He sees the whole picture.
While we often panic and lose faith in the moment or day or month, God already knows He has it worked out. For our good. He’s cheering us toward the finish line, in full glory, while we stumble and wonder if we’ll ever get there in one piece. We can be confident that if we just keep running, we’ll reach the end. We know this, because He’s mapped out our race for us. He promises us the finish line, full of the same glory! We just need to trust the direction of the road He’s laid before us. We just need to keep running (Hebrews 12:1) with confidence in the route and process.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6)
We are a work in progress. Our lives are in the midst of the journey. It’s not over until it’s literally over — when Christ returns and we are made whole. Complete. Fulfilled.
As I began to cover the white of my hair with blue sprays, my trepidation and concern quickly turned to relief and excitement. It was working! This major detour from my dark hair was exactly what needed to happen for the blue to appear this bright.
Someone did. Someone always does. He is worthy of our trust.
Funny how a Halloween get-up can make me think about life and faith. I love how God shows up. Not always as we might expect, but always with us. Even on Halloween. And, most certainly as Joy!