About a month ago I trimmed my hair, about 1/8″ off, a few split ends, one strand at a time. But still against what I had been taught. About a week ago I wore my hair in a braid, down, for the first time in public in years. In a church that allows no physical contact between unmarried men and women, I have begun to feel more comfortable with a nonsexual embrace or tap on the shoulder, and even went out to eat with a virtual stranger in a public restaurant this morning with few qualms, although he apparently recognized that I was a bit tense.
There is nothing wrong with these things. The hair trimming may have been done in the wrong spirit (I wanted to break with the traditional teaching, and that was a lot less obvious than pants) but still, there was nothing wrong with it in and of itself. I don’t think that God would send me to hell for what I did, anymore than I can imagine him not loving me simply because I might not go to that church.
Why is God so limited in so many people’s lives? God is infinite, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent… and yet its as though we expect him to fit in a tiny jewelry box and sit in our pocket. A genie in a lamp rather than a loving Father.
When my chaplain friend prayed with me, I saw through that prayer a love, faith, and trust that was almost completely foreign to me, and I realized I had been robbed- robbed of my identity in Christ. When a statement was made on a support group board about being a “precious child of God” the thought was reinforced. Knowing this, am I breaking away from something or bridging to something better?
I’ve been told for so long that listening to ideas that are not Apostolic like “we” are is to let the ideas of the devil in. But the devil wouldn’t remind me of the grace and mercy of a loving Father, wouldn’t remind me that I’m a child of God. The devil wants us condemned… and condemnation is exactly what I now feel free of. I don’t have to look over my shoulder or consider what others might think about every word I say, how they might twist it or who they might repeat (or misrepeat) it to. I still wonder how I ever thought that I was right in living for people that way. I don’t want to live for people, I want to live for God. That, in the end, is really the only way to really live.
Tomorrow I go to chapel. A safe place, for me. Tomorrow night I go to a living nativity. For the first time in years, I am really getting the opportunity to celebrate the birth of the One that saved me. How odd it is that I was not allowed to really celebrate His birth. Shouldn’t Christians, of all people, be most apt to celebrate His birth, His death, and His resurrection? What better way to celebrate our life in Him?