When I was 15, life was tough. The boy I liked didn’t like me. And the boy who liked me wouldn’t leave me alone. My basketball coach didn’t care if I had asthma (or short, chubby legs). My friends and I were accused of being a clique. And my mom was always on my case for something.
Life was tough, I’m telling you.
Looking back, of course, I can’t quite summon the angst and anxiety of that freshman girl. It’s not that what I worried about wasn’t important; it was. But those things carry a different importance this far down the road. For example, it’s hard to remember just how desperate young, unrequited love can feel after being married for 10 years.
What I can recall, however, is the rock bottom feeling of being completely overwhelmed with life. Partly because the feeling was so strong then that even 16 years isn’t enough time to completely dull its pain.
Partly because in the deepest, most insecure part of my heart, I’m still 15.
And while that means I still occasionally have outrageous meltdowns that result in tears and tantrums and a crying hangover (yes, I know I have issues, thank you very much!), it also means I remember an episode from my freshman year of high school with unusual clarity.
The bathtub was clean and smooth. I knew without looking, because I’d been the one to scrub it. As exhausted as I was, I’m not sure it would have mattered anyway. I slid down the wall and curled up under the hot, pounding spray.
The tears began rolling, building speed and numbers until they seemed to replace the shower itself. My whimpering turned to sobbing, the gut-ripping kind that hurts more than it helps.
“I can’t do it. I just can’t do it anymore. God, I can’t.”
While I remember the crushing defeat and searing pain as clearly as if it happened this morning, I can’t tell you all the things that were hurting me that day. Yes, a boy was involved. And homework, I’m sure. Possibly a fight with my mom or a friend. And most definitely, my hair.
My hair was a big problem that night. The winter air and cold water had done their trick on my scalp, leaving me with itchy, mortifying flakes of dry skin.
And I couldn’t make it stop. I couldn’t fix my hair. I couldn’t fix my heart. I couldn’t fix my life. I was broken.
But something happened as I sat in my bathtub, sobbing my heart out and turning bright pink under the water. For at least one moment, perhaps for the first moment, I let go. I stopped trying to fix it. I stopped trying to be perfect. And I started letting God work.
I’d like to say that I remember this episode because, even more than the day I officially confessed my belief in Jesus and asked Him to forgive my sins, that moment was when I truly understood what it means to lean on God.
Honestly, though, I might have forgotten all about it if not for the miracle that occurred right there in my bathroom.
I had been battling my itchy head of hair for several weeks at that point. But from that day forward, my dry scalp was gone. Even when I switched back to my regular shampoo.
I know it sounds crazy, and maybe it is, but it’s true. And even though the last thing my poor head needed was to be soaked in a scalding hot shower, it turns out that was exactly what my heart needed. And God was generous and merciful enough to work on both my heart and my hair.
Since that shower, I have broken down many (MANY!) more times. And God has picked me up many more times. I guess it’s the way I’m made or the way I sin or something, but it’s what I struggle with: trying to do it all, trying to be perfect, trying to fix everything. Trying.
But God says, “No.” He says, “Rest in me.”
And sometimes, He says, “Here, I fixed your hair.”
Do you struggle to give control to God? Or the tendency to want to fix everything yourself? How has God reminded you to rest in Him?Leave a Comment