A Quick Note:
Hi there, dear friends! We know that some of you have noticed that our March posts have been arriving in your inboxes a little differently this month, and we wanted to let you know that we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled posting when April arrives! After more than six years of blogging here at (in)courage, we thought we’d celebrate our book club and give our regular writers a “spring break” of sorts in March. One of our favorite things to do at (in)courage is hear from members of our community, so even if you aren’t reading Fervent along with us, we hope you’ll enjoy meeting some new friends — and seeing some familiar faces — on these pages as we spend this month together in prayer. We’re so grateful for you, for your grace and encouragement and loyalty to us here in this corner of the internet.
Strategy 3: Your Identity (pages 55-70)
What My “Big Chop” Taught Me about My Identity in Christ
A few years ago, in an act known as the Big Chop, I cut all the chemicals out of my hair. I went cold turkey and made a clean break from the chemicals and pressing combs used to straighten my hair and force it to comply to a standard for which it has not been created. It was a big move, and it left me with just a fuzz of hair and a feeling that my head was on display in a world that might not treat it so kindly.
Over time, my hair began to grow back. It has taken its time, and I had to learn how to care for my natural hair as it grew in. For decades, I had subjected my hair to hair-straightening rituals that made my tight coils lay flat to my scalp and blow in the breeze. But that is not the way my hair was created by God to behave. My hair grows in tight coils that shrink when wet, but can also be twisted and cornrowed and picked out into a gigantic afro. I was missing all of this when I kept trying to make my hair be something it isn’t. I now know something I wish I’d been able to see, many years before: What God did when He chose my hair for me, is really quite stunning.
What we do with our hair is a personal choice. Whether we choose chemical straighteners or braids or weaves or wigs or bald heads or finger waves is not the point. What is the point, is embracing the person God has created you to be. Priscilla Shirer states it like this as she introduces us to “Your Identity: Remembering Who You Are,” the third prayer strategy in her book:
“If I were your enemy, I’d devalue your strength and magnify your insecurities until they dominate how you see yourself, disabling and disarming you from fighting back, from being free, from being who God has created you to be. I’d work hard to ensure that you never realize what God has given you so you’ll doubt the power of God within you.
You were created by God, exactly the way you are, on purpose. He is not surprised or disappointed by you. The enemy would like nothing more than to have you try to force yourself into a false expectation of what’s acceptable, the same way I did with my hair. But God is calling each of us to step into the person He created us to be, and to pray from that vantage point.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: When we begin celebrating the person God created us to be — not boastfully or pridefully, but as worship to God — we honor Him with our praise of His good creation. My relationship with my kinky, curly, coil-y hair has served as a gateway to claiming my true identity in Christ. For you, it may be something different. But know that God wants us to be confident in the person He made us to be, approaching Him boldly and clearing space for His great love and plan for our lives.
For Friday, read Strategy 4: Your Family (pages 71-92)
What truth do you need to wrap around yourself today? Do you view your weaknesses and flaws as the sum total of who you are, or do you see them, as Priscilla said on page 65 “the part that is primed to display God’s glory”?
Deidra is a national speaker and writer who works to build bridges and tear down the walls that divide us — in our culture, our neighborhoods, our hearts, and the Church. Engage the conversation with Deidra and her community at her website, DeidraRiggs.com, each month at incourage.me, or @deidrariggs on Instagram (her favorite) and Twitter, and follow on Facebook. Deidra is the author of Every Little Thing: Making a World of Difference Right Where You Are.