Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A word of knowledge and wisdom

through two unlikely women in a nail shop


Today I have my monthly appointment with my dear friend and hairdresser, Ada Alfonso (pictured here with me) at Continental Hair. She's going to give me fresh highlights and make me feel beautiful as I prepare to go and speak at the Inspire Conference in Orlando Thurs-Sat.

I promised yesterday that I would share the "divine appointment" of how I started going to my hairdresser. I also told you it was a testimony that might set some of you free! Sit back, get a cup of coffee, listen, learn and be blessed.
When I came to Tampa, I was having my hair done by someone, we'll call her "Linda" at a place we'll call "Hair Connection" (both made up names for the sake of her anonymity). Linda was a Christian, even attended our church at one time, but was very critical, and therefore - draining. She had a negative word to say about church stuff and people and seemed to always see the glass half empty. Everytime I'd leave Hair Connection I had a headache, I was so tired of listening to her. But I felt like for some reason I should stay. Like many people dealing with such a person, I felt I was one of "the only ones" in her life who would be there to listen, so I did.
At the time I believed maybe God would use me to be an agent of change in her life...maybe I could make a difference. She would make critical remarks and I would try to come back with patient, positive answers. I tried not to be exasperated and just come back with a steady gentle dose of God's Word or nice words about others. I learned a big lesson that seldom do or our actions change such people who have this problem. We are better off removing ourself from critical people but I was naive about this at the time and thought, "if I stay and be a force for good, maybe she'll see the light and change".

I kept going to Linda every month as my hairdresser and each time I'd leave feeling horrible. This went on for at least a year and a half or so. My hair looked pretty good but my spirit was DOWN.
If I said, "did you hear, so and so got saved?" she'd say, "Hmmmm...wonder how long that will last?"
If I said, "so and so is pregnant and we're so excited!" she say, "Don't you think she has enough kids already? And the ones she has just run around the church out of control..."
If I said, "So and so sang a solo at church last week and it was incredible" she'd say, "yeah, she has a good voice but her skirts are always too short."
If I said, "Linda, we had an awesome service Sunday and seven people were saved!" she'd say, "yeah, but I heard the Smiths left the church..."
I mean, really it was THAT bad. She was like "Debbie Downer" from Saturday Night Live with a good dose of a religious and critical spirit thrown in. Always a negative comeback. But still I stayed thinking I was going to be the Christian that was going to be part of her breakthrough. Dumb, dumb, dumb. She was Debbie Downer, I was Dumb Deanna. (LOL)

SoI kept going to Linda even though I walked out of the Hair Connection each time feeling like my head would explode from all her critical words. I stayed and believed things would change and maybe I'd make a difference.

Meanwhile I was noticing my friend Lisa's hair. I had been noticing her hair for a long time. She has fantastic color and style. I knew she got her hair done by a woman named Ada and she was crazy about her. She said, "really, you need to have Ada do your hair at least once." I hesitated because I felt like to do so would be giving up and maybe God didn't want me to give up -- Linda might change.

Lisa encouraged me...even said, "I will give you a gift certificate to go to Ada if that's what it takes to get you away from Linda, and get you to try Ada!!" Still I hesitated. I even called Ada once to set an appointment, left a message on her machine, then chickened out. I know....crazy.

I told Lisa I'd pray about it.

And I really did.

This was a big deal to me because I don't like "giving up on people" and have always been one of those people who believes in "hanging on for your breakthrough." But I've learned on some things, God wants us to break away, not necessarily break through. For some of us, our breakthrough IS in breaking away. I prayed about it and each month would still make my appointment with Linda wondering with angst if I really should have. Meanwhile God was trying to give me a nudge out of there, but I was too naive to see it. Or maybe I was too proud. I have to be honest, I thought, "Linda might change, and I'd be a part of that change in her life."

Well, my close friend Lisa would ask me, "what are you waiting for? It's time you get out of there and start going somewhere else to get your hair done!!!" I guess I was waiting for God to send a lightening bolt as a sign. He never sent a bolt of lightening but He finally did send two unsaved ladies to give me a word of knowledge and wisdom vicariously in a nail shop.

I was sitting in my nail salon getting a fill and my manicurist was working on me and for a few moments I was just sitting in silence listening to everything around me. Two ladies I have never seen before were at two other tables, having their nails done. Through some of their converstion I gathered that it was quite probable both were unsaved. They were friends, chatting back and forth during their manicures. Sitting there silently listening while my manicurist filed and drilled away, I heard the following conversation between the two women:

"Hey, are you still going to Linda, down at the Hair Connection?"

"Oh no! Are you kidding? I stopped going there months ago!"

"Really? So did I!"

"You're kidding!!! Why did you stop?"

"I left her and went to another hairdresser because each time she did my hair I left with such a headache from all that negativity I just couldn't take it anymore...I had to get out for my own mental health..."

Instantly God intervened on the conversation and spoke to me loud and clear and said, "WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED, DEANNA? GET OUT!!!"

Those two unsaved ladies basically delivered a word of knowledge and wisdom to me! I walked out of the nail shop, called Ada for an appointment and the rest is history. My friend Lisa actually did end up giving me a gift certificate. She was so pleased I was finally making this switch, she and Bernie treated me to my very first appointment with Ada. I'll be ever grateful. Not only did I gain a hairdresser, I gained one of my very best friends. I have gone to Ada for over three years now. Ada is one of the most incredible things to ever happen to me!!! Not only does my hair look great (complete strangers stop me and ask about my hair) but when I leave her shop, I feel spiritually on top of the world. God didn't just give me a hairdresser - he gave me a kindred spirit, and a phenomenal friend. To read more about this precious gift in my life, click here.

Maybe you have been waiting for a very contentious or critical person in your life to change. Realize, they seldom change, at least because of anything another person does. Only God can change such a person - it won't be you. Only God can change a "Debbie Downer" or a "Linda". By staying around them you are not helping them, you are only hurting yourself. Realize that contention and dissension is listed in the Bible as one of the “seven things that God hates.” (dissention or contention among the brethren) If God hates it, why do we make ourselves subject to it? And particularly if someone like this is in the church, the Bible gives very specific instructions-- Titus 3:10 says: "Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him."

In my case, I didn't warn once or twice. I just hung around for a year and a half waiting for someone to change who only God could change.


Sometimes your breakthrough comes through breaking AWAY.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this...I needed to hear it!!!

Anonymous said...

This is GOOD! I am at a point in my life that I have to be surrounded by only positive people. It's to restore my health. Docs say I have to de-stress not distress! Dh and I have even made a mutual agreement not to let any unwholesome words come out of our mouths in our home from now on.
Murmuring, complaining, and "reacting" to pressure all 'stress me' too much and when I hear others doing it I get uneasy. Timely blog PD.

I have a hairdresser like yours and she is a good friend! Oddly , someone had said something really ugly about her (an accuser of the brethern statement) but I ignored it and still went to her shop. It's been 9 years now and not once have I left there down or discouraged! She's a prayer warrior, encourager, and ministers to me every interaction. We are blessed! 2as1