Monday, July 28, 2014

Are Your Roots Showing? - A little ramble on dye jobs, highlights, touch-ups, and transplants

In this day and age, females of increasingly younger ages are likely to have at least one experience with coloring their hair…if only by way of a box of Kool-Aid. Women and girls are often willing to try just about anything to get a new and different look, setting themselves apart as unique and interesting. 

Just take a look at these quotes from some famous folks, and you'll see that there's a lot of insight to be gained from how we view our hair.
  • “Some of the worst mistakes in my life were haircuts”  — Jim Morrison
  • “If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle.”  — Hilary Rodham Clinton

And my personal favorite, from the great Hollywood actress, Joan Crawford, “I think that the most important thing a woman can have—next to talent, of course—is her hairdresser.”  Sultry, edgy, and intense Joan had a point. 

Your hairdresser can really make or break the statement you make out in the world.

For myself, I'm pretty into my mane. I never feel quite right with a dull coif, and since I'm blessed to have inherited my grandmother's "young" skin, I never feel good about letting my 51 years show through my gray hairs. After lots of trial and error, I decided to let my hairdresser make a dramatic change in my hair color. 

Although I lived nearly 50 years as a dark brunette, when the gray started coming in faster than I could color them, I started increasing the intensity and number of my highlights. I am now, officially a blonde. I have the drivers license picture to prove it! (And no, you absolutely CANNOT see the picture!)

But here's the deal, if I don't keep vigilant watch over my 'do, and if I grow too poor or too cheap to keep up with the demands of new growth…my roots begin to show. It can get very ugly in a hurry…kinda like a clumsy ombre.  

It's pretty much the same with my Christian walk of faith as a disciple of Jesus. If I am not deliberate and diligent in attending to my spiritual growth, it doesn't take long for me to become undisciplined, unkind, unforgiving, and unloving toward others. My dark roots of sin begin to show. 

That's the thing about being a follower of Jesus. We are not called to be sinners—dyed and highlighted to look like saints. Our faith should emerge from having been transplanted from a life filled with conflict, sin, unforgiveness, and unrepentance, to a life of joy, obedience, forgiveness, and transformation.

Here's how Paul says it in a letter to the Ephesians:

Ephesians 4:22-24New American Standard Bible (NASB)

22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old [a]self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new [b]self, which [c]in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.


  1. Ephesians 4:22 Lit man
  2. Ephesians 4:24 Lit man
  3. Ephesians 4:24 Lit according to God
To the Romans, Paul says it even more clearly and directly.

Romans 12:2New King James Version (NKJV)

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
The basic command being forwarded by Paul in these verses is a consistent, intentional pattern of being not only reborn, but also being re-formed, and re-newed…again, and again, and again until that mysterious and awesome day when we meet Jesus face to face. 

There's grace to cover our imperfection, and freedom to choose obedience over disobedience (or vice versa). There is not, however, an opt-out plan that allows for disciples to live in a continuous "no-fault" state like a divorcee. Ultimately, we're either transplanted and transformed into something new with strong roots to endure, or we're going to get eaten up, dried up, or crowded out before long.

***** ***** *****
The parable of the sower, which is found in three of the four gospel accounts of Jesus' life and ministry, explains these differences comparing our faith in Christ, and it's intended growth, to seeds that are intended to grow and bear fruit. 

Matthew 13:3-8New American Standard Bible (NASB)

And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell [a]among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.


  1. Matthew 13:7 Lit upon

The fact is, when it comes to growing a good, hearty crop, much has to do with the roots. There's no long term "posing" if you're a farmer. It will become painfully obvious to everyone that you may have left the city, but you're no farmer. 
Ineptitude may make for a lot of laughs on an old television show like Green Acres, but in real life an inept farmer can lose every last cent, and the farm too if the crops don't take root, grow up, and get harvested. There's no hiding that kind of failure for long.

Not to mix metaphors, but isn't it a lot like that with our dyed, highlighted, and touched up hair? Short of a complete hair transplant, no brunette can be a perpetual blonde, and even then the brunette DNA remains unchanged. 

No matter how good your hairdresser is, you cannot be a natural blonde without a truly miraculous intervention by God. And even if you should be the recipient of such a miracle, you'd still need to care for your hair to ensure that it is kept regularly clean and cut. It needs consistent attention to not only look healthy, but also be healthy…so it can grow.

People who color their hair will tell you that even touch-ups are insufficient for maintaining a good-looking head of hair. A few times a year it's necessary to completely re-do the base color for highlighted hair, or re-do a full head of color for hair that is colored without highlights.

Whether we're talking about hair coloring,  farming, or Christian living…EVERYTHING has to do with the roots. You can't skimp or cheat for long, or your lack of care will show. Your roots will be exposed.

In light of Jesus' teaching, we need to examine ourselves honestly. 

I have to look at myself and ask some super tough questions:

Are my roots showing? Are they the roots of a truly transformed soul that has grown deep into the love and truth of Christ? Or are they the dark roots of sin that have been left to grow wild? 

Am I just pretending at being a disciple of Jesus—covering my sins with some dye and a few highlights, maybe doing a few touch-ups once in a while? Or am I inviting God search me down to my roots and transform anything He finds grievous or offensive in me

When He reveals the truth of my condition, do I make excuses, and try to put off His efforts to prune me back? Or do I stand at the ready before before His pruning shears, anticipating new growth, healthy fruit, and a great harvest?

The answers to these questions are probably never more evident than through the lens of my responses to conflicts with the people I love. Sigh.

When I am unwilling to settle differences and solve problems on God's terms (love) with God's end (reconciliation) in mind…my dark, sinful roots show, and after awhile even a few touch-ups here and there are insufficient to disguise my rebellious nature. 

Sure, I can choose to highlight my finer qualities to keep the focus away from my unsightly roots, but that is not genuine care for my soul…or the souls of people I claim to love. More than that, occasional touch-ups and highlights don't demonstrate true love for my Savior, or His love for me.

How about you? Pray. Ask God to search you down to the roots. Ask Him to do whatever it takes—even pruning you back—to ensure that your roots grow down deep into His love, so that even your enemies, and the people with whom you find yourself in conflict, can see Jesus through you.

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