Here Comes the Bag of Hair
I absolutely love movies.
I am a hopeless romantic.
I love sports!
And, I am a big, fat dork!
So, when a movie combines three strong attributes of who it is to be me, it makes me one happy girl! A few years ago, a movie came out called “Fever Pitch”. A romantic comedy that paired corporate woman, Lindsay (Drew Barrymore) and hilarious regular-guy type public school teacher, Ben (Jimmy Fallon) – this movie was essentially based around their quirky new relationship and Ben’s addiction to the Boston Red Sox.
(I sort of feel the need to insert a disclaimer here that this movie does contain a little bit of language and sexual maturity, so just because I love it, doesn’t mean I recommend the characters’ moral behavior or that you should watch it with your teenager!)
Anyway, so as Lindsay and Ben begin their fun and silly romantic relationship, they discover how compatible they are and begin to fall in love. Lindsay takes their relationship to the next level by introducing Ben to her closest friends.
They all immediately love him!
Except for one friend who is generally in competition with Lindsay to see who can have the most success in work, life, relationships, etc.
This friend thinks he is too good to be true. There must be some sort of major flaw they are missing! This causes the other girlfriends to begin speculating if maybe he is a convict, a dead-beat Dad or worse.
Lindsay thinks they are all acting ridiculous.
But, then they remind her of what happened to one of their other friends. She had been dating a guy for months and everything was going great. He seemed like an amazing catch! Then, one day she was at his apartment helping to pick things up around the place. She went into his closet and found a huge garbage bag containing all of the hair and nail clippings from his entire life!
Lindsay dismisses her friends and their lunacy and their relationship continues happily.
Until baseball season begins.
Ben is literally obsessed with the Boston Red Sox and although Lindsay has seen his apartment, which looks more like a gift shop, she doesn’t fully understand the depth of his love for this team. Ben sits her down and wants to explain just how much the Red Sox take over his life when they are in season.
As Lindsay sits and listens to Ben begin his confession, she can tell she is about to receive some very bad news. She mumbles to herself something that I always remembered –
“Oh great, here comes the bag of hair.”
I love it.
That phrase, while quirky, represented the moment she felt like she was about to learn the deepest, darkest secret about Ben, that she did not want to know!
Well, my friend, here comes my bag of hair.
Ready or not, here it comes. (deep breath)
I have been gripped by fear off and on my entire life.
I do not mean that I have been somewhat afraid of a few things. I mean, I have been paralyzed by the thing.
It has affected every single area of my life in a negative way.
Every single one.
And I have been so scared shocker! to talk fully about it for so long, that I have danced around the subject, given broad glimpses toward it, but have never been brave enough to outright admit it, except to my very closest of friends.
Over the course of the last (not quite!) thirty-three years of my time here on planet earth, I have been so consumed with fear and worry that it has literally made me sick, cost me time and money, and impacted relationships in a way I’d hoped it never would.
But, friend, hear me now – God is truly delivering me from it. And it feels so stinkin’ good!
Just to give you a few examples of how serious of an issue this has been, I am willing to bear my soul a bit for you. I do this in the hopes that those few people out there who satan has tormented in this way can, for a moment, feel like they aren’t alone anymore. To God be the glory.
This was how my life has been, off and on, for years now –
If traveling with family and the proposition came that I ride in a different car than my kids, my immediate thought would be “No! Because then I know we will get into a car accident and I will have to watch them all die right in front of me.”
When Ryan and I were dating, in college, I would surprise him sometimes by coming over to his apartment unannounced. Every single time I did, I would pause at the door, take a deep breath and brace myself for the virtual certainty that when I opened the door, I would find him making out with another girl. It didn’t matter that he had not once, ever given me any reason to doubt his faithfulness. In fact, loyalty was one of the qualities that I admired most about him. It didn’t matter. I was convinced. By the way, this wasn’t cured once I got a ring on my finger. Nope. Baby weight, insecurity issues and fifteen years of laugh lines and stretch marks have only deepened that fear.
As a child, I was terrified that something awful would happen to my Mom. She even recalls numerous times when I would have nightmares and run into her room crying “Mama, don’t die and leave me!”
When I had my first child, seven years ago, I was completely certain that he would die from SIDS. Like, certain of it. I woke up multiple times every night just to put my hand on his chest to ensure he was breathing. I did this for years!
Anytime Ryan has been out late at night, or traveling for some reason, I was convinced that someone was going to break into our house and torture me. Modern mathematics simply cannot count the number of times I have played out this terrifying act on a warped movie screen in my head. I always felt I had to be prepared by setting the house alarm, locking all doors, then locking my bedroom door and wedging something up against it until he got home. I also did this when I would shower at my house when I was home alone with the kids. Despite it being in the middle of the day, it didn’t matter, I felt vulnerable. I had to be ready.
For those of you who have only known me the last few years, this may come as a shock to you, but believe it or not, I used to actually be a pretty healthy person. That is almost laughable now. But, really, it’s true. I had allergies, and got the occasional sinus infection, but overall, besides my ankles made of paper mache, I was pretty healthy! Yet, I often would picture something horrible happening to me. Like, having an aneurysm as I was driving down the road, causing a multi-car pileup and leaving numerous families ruined. I know, crazy isn’t it? I couldn’t just picture something bad happening to me, I went over the top and assumed it would ruin many lives.
I think I’ve pretty much given you a glimpse into my fearful world. Please still like me. I can honestly say that I wasn’t like this all the time. Some days were fine. But, it was something that was always there, lurking just under the surface, so that the slightest threat could cause it to jump out of the water and bite my currently faithful head off.
I functioned in life without letting too many people know of the grip that fear had on me. But, the older I got, the more kids I had and the older they got, the more danger they faced and the harder time I had with it. It boils down to this – I was losing the “control” that I thought I had on things. Talk about laughable. That is beyond laughable.
Through wise Christian counseling, countless Bible studies, the safe places I had in my most precious friendships, and reading numerous books about this junk, God has done some serious work. I mean, serious. Like Extreme Home Makeover kind of work. He has leveled what used to be my way of thinking, and been rebuilding it bigger, better and more full of faith. I have had a lifetime of sudden change and insecurity that, over time, caused quite a sense of dread. This is not His will for His children.
He has given me so many revelations; I hardly know where to begin. But, I will try.
1. Satan, the enemy of our soul, the father of lies, has but one job, friend, and that is to ruin us for Jesus. If he can, he wants to keep us from ever trusting God with our eternity, but even if he can’t do that, he will spend every second trying to keep us completely useless for Jesus while we are here on this earth. Be assured, you have an enemy. He is real. And he not only knows your weaknesses but he aims directly at them with every fiery attack he can.
2. I am not in control of much, really. It’s actually funny to think about how little control I actually do have in life. If you know a control freak then you know someone who is gripped by fear – whether they admit it or not. I believe that fear and worry are intertwined in a twisted dance between needing to control my life and the frightening thought that I can’t. This dance can consume a life if we let it.
3. I either trust God, or I don’t. Friend, you either trust God, or you don’t. Period. There is no grey area there. Trust me, I’ve tried to paint it grey with every rationalization you could imagine. But, that is a simple truth. Simple doesn’t mean easy, it just means simple. I am a selfish and prideful person. And every single time I have been gripped by worry and fear, I have literally looked at the face of my Creator and said “I can do this better than you. I have a better plan. Move aside.” Ouch.
4. The Bible is the one and only true Word of God. It is not an ancient, irrelevant collection of stories designed to evoke emotion from me on Sunday mornings. It is alive and active. It is relevant and helpful. It is inspiring and personal to just me. And to just you. It is the only offensive weapon we have in our fight against evil. (Eph. 6) The only one. Use it as such.
5. God desires good for us. He really does desire us to live a blessed life. He allows bad. After all, we live in a sinful world. But, nothing comes to us that has not first gone through His sovereign hands. That can feel like a blessing and a curse. Because bad things do happen to good people. It stinks, but it’s true. My life has moments in it that were so scary and tragic that you’d think it could only happen in the movies. But, if you are going to trust Him with your life, you have to trust that He can use even the worst of things for your good and His glory. (Romans 8:28)
I do not say that in triteness. I say it with every fiber of sincerity that I am capable of. And I want to be clear when I try to dismantle the falsity that so many Christians claim – “God will not give you more than you can handle.” Friend, that is not true. My life can attest to it. I have faced FAR more in the last few years than I could handle. Far more. I have been in such dark, lonely, desperate situations that I knew with certainty I couldn’t handle even on my very best day. And my world hasn’t even been rocked like other’s have. I’ve never buried a parent. I’ve never buried a child. I’ve never lost a baby. I’ve never lost a spouse. Although I have faced grief right in the face and stood alongside my family and friends as they have most assuredly faced more than they could bear.
Unfortunately, I think this is one crossroad in life where Christians turn from God. They face something traumatic and think, Wait a minute. I thought I wasn’t supposed to face anything this bad. If God didn’t protect me like He was supposed to, maybe He really isn’t real.
The verse that people so often misquote is:
1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
Did you note the importance of the words there? He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. You will be tempted. And you will face more in life that you can bear. But, you will never face more in life than GOD can bear. That is the key.
One commentary I read put it this way – “God has promised to supervise all temptation which comes at us through the world, the flesh or the devil. He promises to limit it according to our capability to endure it – according to our capability as we rely on Him, not relying on ourselves.”
The same is true for trials in life. We will face some that we cannot imagine getting to the other side of. It seems impossible. But, may I remind you of what a virgin mother was told by the angel when she asked how in the world she would conceive a child – “For nothing is impossible with God.”(Luke 1:37)
Our lives are filled with people who can attest to having faced something they couldn’t handle. The Bible is no different.
Sarah was ninety years old and felt the first kicks of a baby inside her belly.
Abraham walked up a hill with his one and only son with the intent to sacrifice him.
Jacob woke up the morning after his wedding with the wrong woman lying next to him.
Peter voluntarily stepped out of a boat and onto a raging sea.
Martha and Mary grieved the death of their brother, Lazarus for days before Jesus came.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into hotter circumstances that you and I could imagine.
Mary Magdalene not only grieved the death of her Savior, but then stood outside His tomb only to discover someone had “taken” his body. (Praise God that His body wasn’t taken away, it was raised up! Amen!)
These aren’t made-up stories. These are factual accounts of real-life people who walked this dusty earth just like you and I do now. I can say with certainty that they didn’t face these things thinking to themselves, Oh ya, this is not big deal. I can take care of this one.
They were scared. They were intimidated. They were ill-equipped. They were weak. They were selfish. They were unworthy. They were me.
But, by relying on the strength only God can give, they made it. They got to the other side of the thing by the strength and grace of God alone.
And I want to follow in their footsteps.
Maybe you think I am a lunatic for being as fearful as I have been over the years. You’re probably right. But, maybe you know what it is like to be gripped by something with such fierceness that you often look at your own neck to see if anyone can see the impression of grip marks you know must be there. Maybe you’re gripped…
By your past.
Whatever it is, you have a hard time picturing your life without it. It seems to be just the way it is. It defines you. It defeats you. It darn near kills you. You know you cannot handle it and so you let it handle you. I don’t say that with condemnation, friend. I say it with familiarity.
Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly.
And allowing the enemy to keep you all gripped up, ain’t abundant living at all.
I still have moments where I feel the all-too-familiar welling up of fear within me. The difference is that I quickly recognize it and give it to Jesus. Like, real quick. I know if I keep it long, it has the tendency to grow too quickly. But, now I am not defined by it. I am not consumed by it. I just let Jesus deal with it.
Think of it this way…
Jesus lives in your heart. When satan comes banging on the door to reek havoc, just don’t answer it. Let Jesus answer the door, so that satan will have to turn away and think Hmm, I guess I had the wrong house.
Friend, I don’t know about you, but I want to be the kind of person that when I take my very first steps out of my bed in the morning, satan says “Oh shoot! She’s up!”
Here are three books that I have read cover to cover numerous times over the years. They contain Scripture for healing your life. They contain wisdom from people who have been there. And they contain practical advice as to how to live this life for Jesus. May they bless you as they have blessed me!
“Get Out of That Pit” by Beth Moore
“So Long Insecurity, You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us” by Beth Moore ( I personally think this should be REQUIRED reading for every woman out there, no matter your age! If you are a woman over the age of 18, you are insecure about something! Period. If you say you aren’t, then you are lying and clearly insecure about anyone thinking you are insecure! I’m just sayin’!)
“Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyer
my friend Gaby sent me and I just have to say that I walked that fearful path as you. what a sweet release it is when you finally stop just saying “let go, let God,” and actually do it 🙂 amen. here’s to life lived fully.