Last week I came to the conclusion that I needed to remove my acrylic nails. I'm not sure how long this will last, but for now, I know it is what is best for my family. By working full time in ministry and completely dependent on God's blessings, God began to show me small areas in my spending habits that could be eliminated or reduced to relieve some financial burdens in our household.
This is a lean season for me and my family, and honestly, that is okay. My husband and I have agreed that we are going to ride this season out all the while giving God praise, paying our tithes and diligently serving His Kingdom. As God is teaching me how to budget (and stick to it!) He is also showing me how my spending habits reflected an almost idolization of hair and nails.
Every since I was a college student, I HAD to have my hair and nails done. These bills were always worked into the budget, and if I didn't have enough money to pay my 'real' bills AND get my hair and nails done; then my hair and nails won the budget battle. I didn't stress about being behind on my car note or rent money, as long as I had a fresh weave and manicured nails, I was happy!
Whoa! Talk about priorities being out of order.
When I began working in ministry full-time I realized that I couldn't live how I once lived, so I cut back on a lot of things, however, I still creatively inched space in the budget to get my hair and nails done. I tried to be budget-conscious by not getting the fancy nail designs on every finger, waiting 2.5 weeks instead of two weeks for a fill-in, I didn't get the 6AAA grade hair weaves, but I still made sure -- my hair and nails were done!
That is until recently.
God began nudging my heart, and showing me how my hair, nails (and even lashes and fancy clothes) had become an idol. It was almost as if the 'real' Kacie were hiding behind these things and even worse feeling that I needed these things to BE the woman God had created me to be. God desired to do a work in my life and needed me to understand that my identity was in Him and not in the weaves, clothes, nails or anything else. In order to show me these things, He needed to strip me of them.
Last week, when I got my acrylic nails removed my real nails were so brittle, dry and weak. They had been shielded by the artificial nails for so long and had no strength. The nail technician tried to shape them as best he could, but they all split and cracked minutes after leaving the salon. I realize this is part of the process.
After any stripping, removing or pruning, you are going to fee weak, exposed and vulnerable, however, the stripping process is necessary in order to grow strong and be healthy.
Maybe you find yourself in a season where God is stripping things from your life. Positions, titles, material things, or even relationships that you may have thought you needed; and like the process of pulling velcro strips apart, God is pulling and stripping those things you once thought you needed. Many of these things have been attached to us for so long, that no way does it feel good -- however, it is necessary!
As I close, I must say that the stripping away process works best when you are willing and submissive to God's plan. Either way, God's purpose, and plan will always happen whether you agree or disagree (it's just easier for you to agree and submit!) I could have made the decision to ignore God's nudging and firmly plead my case to my husband on why I needed to spend hundreds of dollars every few months, however, I've learned that its best to just submit to God's plan. Not only is God teaching me discipline in managing our household finances, but He is also teaching me how my identity rests in Jesus Christ, and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (with or without the weave, nails and fancy clothes). I guess you can say, in this season I am receiving a 2 for 1 lesson.
If God is stripping you in this season, allow Him to do it. It is true for your good. The stripping process may make you say, "Ouch!" a few times. (Honestly, I've had to check myself during some tough moments when I wanted to just throw my hands in the air and buy the weave and get the nails) however, I know this season in my life is for my good. Plus I want to pass this test, you know what I mean? I can't afford to go 'round and 'round the mountain, again and again. I want to learn everything God is trying to teach me, so I can be mature in Him (and never, ever, ever see this season again!)
So I say to God, "Strip me Oh Lord. Do whatever is necessary to make me more and more like you. Purify me. Develop me on the inside. Strengthen me, take away anything that is not like you. So I can be stronger, wiser and better each and every day!"
Kacie Starr Long is an author, talk show host and the proud wife of Alfred T. Long Sr. When not writing, Kacie enjoys sewing. She is the founder of Sew Hope, a sewing school for previously incarcerated men and women. Connect with Kacie at www.InspiredOverflow.com and via her YouTube page for more inspiration and encouragement.