This is a freedom story told through the journey I’ve been on with my hair (I know it sounds implausible, but there is a story in the bible related to hair you know) so read on if you want to see how they connect…
So, for a long time I have had straight hair in a bob and the availability of straightening irons that actually did a good job was a dream come true for someone who was born curly! Anyone relate?
Who knows we are never satisfied with and always want what others have, in the hair department anyway (come on admit it). It’s never straight enough, the right sort of curly, too thin, too thick, frizzy etc. Well that was me!
As a child I had long wavy/curly hair and I hated it, I just wanted to look like everyone else!!! I begged my mum to let me have my hair cut from half way down my back to a radically short cut (razor cut up the back) and in the end she relented, but not as short as I wanted it. I remember then feeling like one of the cool kids! I had no idea about being happy being myself or that it’s good to be different, but just desperately wanted to be part of the crowd, like most teens.
Hair styles have come and gone over the years and I have tried many of them; the perm (it was the 80’s), the Rachel (come on everyone watched Friends in the 90’s right), the sleek Bob (a nightmare for us curly girls) and so many different colours along the way, you get the idea.
My love for the bleach started early in my teens when my auntie put a few blonde highlights in for me. I was instantly hooked!!!!! The thing is it could never be blonde enough, until I went full head blonde in my late teens and then again in my 40’s. I have spent many years with a full head of blonde hair (and loved it btw). It didn’t seem to matter how many times I bleached it though, the roots just kept coming back through, I really thought it would just give up eventually, but sadly not!
So fast forward a few when the GHD’s landed (yes there was a time before they were on the planet), and suddenly the straight hair of my dreams was within my grasp! Couple the straight bob and the blonde and you have a marriage made in heaven, or so I thought.
But, when I look back I realise that it was incredibly high maintenance, costly and stopped me doing things I wanted to (like going out in windy, wet or damp conditions (which pretty much rules out most weather in the UK), beach fun, swimming and generally anything that could bring on the frizz!) Don’t even get me started on being too hot and the curls coming back underneath the top layer of straightened hair. 😡 So obviously exercise was out of the question for me (phew!)
During this time of straight hair and bleach when I was living my best hair life another thing was happening (here we go for those not really interested in the hair bit)…
God started to move in my life and I was really starting to want more of Him and basically waking up to the things of the spirit.
During this period of about 5 years God slowly rewired my thinking as I read lots of books and did a life changing course called TSM (Training for Supernatural Ministry). Basically I started to understand who I was, who He was and what that meant for my life if I was going to follow Him at any cost.
It meant living a different lifestyle to the one I had been living which meant stepping out in courage and looking for opportunities to love those I encountered every day through many different expressions. Sometimes that might be chatting to someone and making them feel seen and heard, paying for someone’s coffee, buying a stranger flowers, giving someone a word of encouragement or asking someone if they needed prayer for healing and then actually praying with them right there and then in the moment. It could basically look a million different ways, but the overriding aim was to love like Jesus and look for opportunities to stop for the one.
During this time I started to notice that I was always drawn to prophetic people and loved hearing them talk about how they heard God’s voice and how they gave words to people. My kindle library testifies to my interest in this area and I went through a stage of eagerly desiring the gift and wanting to learn all I could about it. At the time I would also have said that I didn’t hear God’s voice and it was just something I was interested in and didn’t even understand that God was waking up something inside me.
Now I am being honest when I say before I started reading about it and doing TSM I had so many misconceptions about the prophetic and didn’t realise everyone could hear God’s voice! I thought it was just for ‘special people’ set apart by God. I didn’t realise how God speaks and that He speaks to all that follow Him
My mind was blown!
It started me on a journey of discovering that God speaks today, that He speaks in a million different ways, He is interested in relationship, it’s all about the process as you pursue Him, it’s in the little things, it’s in the big things, it’s as you go about your everyday life that He wants to get your attention, it’s not just for ‘superstar’ Christians on a stage but it was for me and it’s for you too!
So, you may be wondering why I started this blog by writing about my hair and don’t worry I’m coming back round to that…
First a bit of back story…
I am a highly sensitive person and cry/feel deep emotions all the time, especially when I sense Holy Spirit or I feel God’s heart on something and I didn’t realise I was a HSP for the longest time (it’s a journey right) and that this was who I was created to be. I honestly thought there was something wrong with me and felt ashamed to be ‘overly sensitive’ and so easily upset by stuff. I had for years been a bit of a joke (and I came to be able to laugh about it too) but I still found the mickey taking hard and it added to the shame I felt about my emotions. I often felt I had stuff to share (at church) but had been holding back anything I felt God say because I might cry as I spoke (mortifying) or I might not bring a word in a way that I felt it should be brought (basically with authority in a clear and firm voice like I saw others doing) so I didn’t share anything for the longest time and probably appeared quite timid. If I did get up I would often have a trembling voice and may have to stop mid-sentence to get myself together, which left me feeling embarrassed and I felt that people wouldn’t take it seriously because I didn’t have this ‘prophetic voice’ that I imagined in my head coming out of mouth, if that makes sense.
But, with the help of doing TSM I started to step out in hearing God’s voice and sharing what I felt He was saying. This looked like increasingly sharing on a Sunday am at church or for people as I felt led. Well here’s the thing, when I shared from the front I often did cry or have emotion in my voice and I may have been tentative (jittering nerves) but I was being obedient and I knew God was proud of me for stepping out. After sharing I would always sense Holy Spirit’s presence very strongly as He affirmed me and celebrated me. Now interestingly over this time, I had a few words from people, some I knew and some I didn’t and there was a theme in them all that went basically something like this…
‘STOP HIDING BEHIND YOUR HAIR’.
I was slightly offended if I’m honest and this is what I would say to God…
But, I’m not hiding, I am stepping out more regularly (am I hiding?)
I love my hair (I’ve always wanted straight hair, even if it does cover half my face)
You don’t mean I need to change my hair, do you?
Now I don’t think me actually changing my hairstyle was God’s point because He also gave me words about not wearing black all the time too, the general feeling was that He wanted me to stop hiding who I really was and start being my true self.
In many ways I now realise my hair symbolised how I felt; trapped and held back from doing things and it had become a great mask to hide behind. I realise too when I was bringing words, I would often have my hair half shielding my face which felt comfortable, but I wasn’t prepared to change anything at that point. I didn’t even understand how to.
So I continued as I was and then fast forward a bit and God physically moved myself and The Lovely Mr B (Tim) to Bedford where I had been very involved with the TSM ministry for 5 years. I thought I was going to get stuck in to doing all the ministry ‘stuff’ I love but God told me to be still and wait.
Now that was unexpected, and I was to be fair pretty cross and disappointed with God. I didn’t understand why after all the years commuting to do ministry that when I was actually physically here I would stop serving in the very area I loved. But I was obedient and in the waiting time He started to do some more work in me and gradually I shed another layer that had kept me held back. That layer was partly about fear of man and about using my voice to prophesy.
As I write this we are currently on holiday in Wells next the Sea (Norfolk) and its been an interesting 12 months since we were last here. I have reached the decision to step away from my teaching career after much prayer and waiting and am starting to feel excited about what God wants me to do next. The lock down season has been a fruitful time for me and I have used it to actively pursue God and hearing His voice in the still and quiet has been such a sweet time. I have taken many risks in the prophetic to send words or give words to people and have regularly asked God to show me His heart for others. He has been so kind giving me lots of confirmation that I am hearing correctly and this has really grown my confidence. I am starting to feel free and excited about what next.
Here we go as I segway back into the hair journey (thanks for bearing with)…
In the last year or so I have finally embraced my curly hair and am enjoying the freedom it gives me and I realise I am ready to be seen and no longer feel the need to hide behind it. It symbolises being truly myself and being able to be seen as me and not having to measure up, be good enough etc. I am totally going after pursuing God’s heart in the prophetic and what He wants to say. I am learning that sensitivity in the spirit is a beautiful gift and embracing it, I am going after the extra 10% when bringing a word, I am learning that accuracy is not the number one aim but ensuring the one who is receiving the word is left feeling loved and known by the Father.
I am going to be really honest, but it has taken me a long time to get away from listening to the lies when it comes to the prophetic. The biggest lies being that I may not hear anything from the Father in a moment when I step out and I will look stupid, that what I bring won’t be accurate, that I’m not as prophetic as so and so, fill in the gaps here for yourself if it sounds familiar. Even in typing this out I am choosing to break agreement with lies around my voice, not hearing God and not being good enough. If anyone can relate, I encourage you to take those lies and break agreement with them right away.
The enemy always waits at the door to your destiny so I am taking lies as they come and now see them as a signpost that I am on the right path and the enemy doesn’t want me to step out so I will!
I hope anyone reading this is encouraged to press in and to go for it when they hear the still small voice of God who is speaking all the time.
As followers of Jesus your birth right is to hear His voice. Take a risk and step out today and leave someone knowing that they are loved, valued and seen by the Father. There really is nothing more beautiful than seeing someone realise this and it makes my heart sing when I see someone moved by God.
This is His promise to you…
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.