Growing up in our current world filled with oppression, health crises, and political divide, it sometimes becomes difficult to rely on our religious beliefs. Adding college to the equation only makes the walk of faith more challenging as we begin to navigate on our own. No matter how strong we portray ourselves to be, all of us have had challenging problems where we wanted to give up in the heat of the moment. Maybe it was the challenge of raising your GPA. Perhaps it was fighting off the “Freshman 15” to keep yourself within the image of the “perfect body.” Maybe it was peer pressure that eventually led to drug or alcohol addiction. Maybe it was battling depression and anxiety from all the stressors being thrown at you. But who did you turn to? A family member? A close friend? In actuality, we turn to anybody we can think of to get us out of our tangled-up mess. We just want to get our situation straightened out as quickly as possible.
Our desire to get out of our tangled situations is similar to a home remedy known as the Fuller’s Earth hair mask. Fuller’s Earth is a beauty product used in many herbal skin and hair care products because of its wide range of properties. The product functions as a quick hair straightening technique when combined with an egg white and a tablespoon of rice flour. However, the hair only remains straight for a short time. Likewise, when we reach out to people of the world as solutions to our problems, they are merely hidden, only to resurface again later. What we think of as our solution only results in a bigger problem later. We find comfort in getting advice from Pam, but sometimes it’s only a matter of time before Sally, Joe, and Lisa know as well. They may pray about our situation, but it’s important to know that everybody doesn’t have it in their heart to pray for you. Instead, they pray against you. In comparison, Fuller’s Earth technique only does justice to a certain extent. However, the beauty of hair care products lies in the fact that you have many options to choose from.
Many years ago, there was a popular hair instrument known as the hot comb. Like Fuller’s Earth technique, the hot comb straightens hair and gives it a smoother texture. It involves a longer process than Fuller’s Earth, but the results last longer. Not only does it straighten hair, but the heat gives the instrument a higher level of power that allows it to straighten hair from the roots. It is healthier for women’s hair than chemical relaxers, and it gets closer to the scalp than flat irons. A young African American girl would sit in a kitchen chair while an ammonia scent filled the room and her small nostrils. On the stove would be the hot comb, sizzling to perfection, just as her hair soon would be. All that fills her mind is the anticipation of Mama running the iron comb seamlessly through sections of her hair, a three-hour-long process that she often dreaded. However, to prepare for picture day at school the next morning, Mama had to get the job done. Like the hot comb, only God can get to the root of our frizzy, messed up, tangled situations. The hot comb process is similar to God’s way of delivering us from our challenging dilemmas. Allow me to lay it all out for you and give you ways to stay grounded during your college journey.
- First, Mama sees your messy hair and notices it’s time for it to be straightened. In life, this is called the RECOGNITION of your condition. You have to acknowledge that you’re in a tangled situation and want to make the needed adjustments to get out of it. (2 Corinthians 4:15-16)
- Next, preparation has to be done. Your hair has to be washed, dried, and also grown out if it has been chemically treated as it is unhealthy to apply heat to weakened hair. This is called the COMPOSITION. You have to evaluate yourself, your environment, and the people you surround yourself with. Focus on positivity and eliminate negativity. Surround yourself with those who uplift you and have ambitious goals as you do. (Proverbs 12:26-27)
- Then, Mama brings a chair into the kitchen so she can begin straightening. This is known as the POSITION. Discover your true purpose in life and how God will use you. Then, surrender your problems unto him. Many times, we as college students gravitate towards majors/careers that will give us the most money and guarantee a lavish lifestyle. However, when you are living the purpose that God planned for you, the rewards obtained will be greater than any monetary possession. (Isaiah 41:10)
- Afterwards, Mama applies a heat protectant such as avocado or sunflower oil. This is called the INHIBITION. You must shield yourself in the armor of God and declare to the devil that he can no longer steal your joy. Find peace of mind and distance yourself from toxic energy. Repossess, retrieve, and reclaim your happiness. (Ephesians 6:11-12)
- Next, Mama heats the ceramic metal comb using heat from the stove. This stage is called the IGNITION. Just as the stove flames ignite and give the comb its special power, God will give you the power and strength to fight through your situation. Know that you cannot be stagnant and must do more than just pray. Really develop your relationship with God and seek ways to serve him. Find a local church or get involved with faith-based organizations that may be on your college campus. (Isaiah 40:31)
- Then, Mama states, “You have to be still to prevent the hot comb from burning you. But, if it burns you, the results will outweigh the pain.” This stage is the TRANSITION. God is saying to be patient because he is always on time. Be strong, for the pain that you are enduring cannot compare to the joy that is coming. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
- Finally, Mama has to wrap your hair when it’s straightened so that you don’t return to that frizzy, messed up, tangled situation. This is known as the ADMONITION. You must preserve your walk of life that glorifies God so that you are less likely to encounter similar situations. Stand strong before others and radiate positive energy. Counsel others. Donate when able. Volunteer to help those in need. (Matthew 5:16)
Now, I have questions for you. Are you ready to get that tough situation straightened out? Which path are you going to take? Are you going with Fuller’s Earth, the temporary solution, or will you go with the hot comb to get to the roots? Are you willing to withstand the heat, or will you take the easy way out? Don’t be afraid to use the hot comb technique because there is no problem that God cannot solve. With Him, ALL things are possible! Your college journey is what you make it. Don’t wait until you have reached your goal to be proud of yourself. Instead, be proud of every step you take towards reaching that goal! Good luck with your journey and future endeavors!