I’ve noticed something happens when the mirror reveals the first intruder. There, standing in all her glory, upright upon the head, is a strand of hair proudly displaying itself in a different color. Okay, I suppose every woman might not enter into an inward struggle with the appearance of the first grey strand; but I predict more do than don’t. That first sighting seems to create the opportunity for women of any age to pause and ponder: where did this come from?
Without a doubt, I know it was my thought when that little grey traitor exposed itself in the center of my head. I was in my late thirties when the grey began its invasion. I was in my early forties when I began supporting the industry of hair dye. Clairol and I began a steady relationship; upon which, I became very dependent.
I believe the Lord began to disclose this dependency while on vacation last December with family in Florida. Having given up coloring my own hair many years ago, the timing of this vacation would cause me to miss my regularly scheduled hair appointment: leaving almost six-weeks between root touch ups. It seemed to me as though the Florida air made my hair grow at an incredibly rapid rate, as every morning I'd wake to longer roots of grey. Clairol came through for me once again upon discovery of a coloring pencil for hair! Thank you, Clairol! This allowed me to conceal what I didn’t want anyone to know was there.
Then, 2020 hit and there was another intruder: COVID. Life shut down and I was back to using Clairol Medium Golden Brown hair dye to cover up those grey hairs once again. I was confronted by truth one morning as I stood at the mirror and realized the grey was beginning to take over. It was becoming difficult to hide what was beneath the boxed hair color, and the thought of living out the remainder of my days as a grey-haired woman began to challenge me. I’m not ready to be grey, I thought and throughout that day more thoughts came...
Are you afraid of being grey? If so, why?
Do you fear what people will think? What they might say?
Do you fear growing old?
Do you fear how grey hair will change in your appearance?
Are you afraid people will say, ‘Wow! Did you see Kolleen? She looks SO old with grey hair!’
On and on the voice whispered until I finally gave my answer—YES! Yes to all of it! I did not want to surrender to the possibility of what a head full of grey hair would do--to me! Even though I know women who have allowed their hair to change gradually and naturally and look fabulous—I feared what others would think rather than appreciating that the Lord says, “Grey hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life” (Proverbs 16:31, NLT). I was comfortable in my brown hair.
Because I am someone who has always cared way too much about what other people think, I began to take polls. Should Kolleen allow her hair to go naturally grey or continue to color? Whew! So many differing opinions, but many pollsters offered great advice. Debi’s advice was good when she said, “don’t call it grey, call it silver and you should embrace it.” Numerous friends shared their personal stories of how they learned to embrace the change and it sold me! I would do it!
But just when I thought I had settled this, my inner voice taunted me with doubt, so one morning the Lord and I had a chat about it. It didn't take long for me to see that this struggle went deeper than the color of my hair. This had to do with me becoming a more authentic me. The me that refuses to hide behind a box of hair color because she’s afraid people are going to say she looks old.
Now, listen, I am not trying to imply that God is opposed to hair color. I would never do that. If you color your hair, please do not think I am insinuating you must stop. I do believe, however, God opposes any obsession we have that hinders us from accepting how he designed us to age. Should we take care of ourselves? Absolutely. But, did you know that the beauty industry has a value of $532 billion dollars? We are spending boatloads of money for surgeries and procedures that help prevent the signs of aging—why? What is driving us to do this? I know what was driving me--fear! The Word of God reminds us, “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety” (Proverbs 29:25, NLT).
Peter gives us insight into what God wants us to care about, "Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God" (1 Peter 3:3-4, NLT). Fear was driving me to care more about the outward than I did about the inner. I don't want to do that anymore.
And so, there you have it. I am going to step out of my comfort zone and join those who have paved the way before me by embracing their silver. I was tested in my ability to accept the challenge when someone recently said, “You look more like a grandma now with grey hair.” After a pause and a deep breath I replied, “That’s great, because I am a grandma!”
Here's to 2021 and the year of embracing and activ8ing the new me. You can choose to do this, too, when you choose to #beYOU--Authentic. -Kolleen
Happy New Year from the Activ8Her team!