It was a busy Saturday afternoon in the salon–hair dryers buzzing, water running, phones ringing, endless chatter from the ten stations, TV in the background droning on about current events. In the middle of the bustle was a young girl waiting for Grandma to get her hair colored. You could hear the video game sounds coming from the device in her hand as little worms on the screen wriggled to their destination against time to beat the clock.
But in the midst of all this normalcy was something so strange, that it captured everyone’s attention. A young woman was getting highlights in her coal black hair for the first time ever–a long process indeed. But the odd thing was, the boyfriend that accompanied her. And I do mean accompanied as in wouldn’t leave her side during the hours-long process.
Because of the abundance of bodies packed into the small space, a make-shift dryer station was set up in the middle of the floor and the young woman was sitting under the hood. Her stylist was hoping the heat would accelerate the lightener trapped in the multitude of foils in her hair, thus turning the black hair light. All pretty normal stuff. But the tall, willowy figure glued to the woman’s side, wearing her backpack and taking up the little space available for the stylists to move around, was extremely abnormal.
Every few minutes he would bend over to have a private conversation with the mystery woman under the dryer, who kept her head down, but her body language revealed complete panic. He was overheard saying, “I will be with you every step of the way.” He clasped her hand for most of the afternoon, but when he dared let go, she gingerly reached up in search of him. Although the cup he was holding once had some sort of fancy coffee drink in it, he would lift it to give her a sip from time to time as she tried to coax the few drops left in the bottom up through the straw.
She was nicely dressed and had long, thick, beautiful black hair, but for some reason wanted light silver highlights. It was impractical, unrealistic and for some reason, needed her boyfriend to act as a service dog in order for her to cope with the process.
I witnessed him hover, coax, reassure, hover some more, and even check what was happening under the foils himself when the stylist went to the back room for a moment–a huge no-no. I wondered what in the world was going on with this couple that I shared the same space with for two hours. At one point the stylist instructed the woman to move to the shampoo bowl, a mere six feet away. But the boyfriend had
disappeared outside for a moment. She stood, looked toward the door for him to reappear. When he didn’t, she sat back down in the same chair. Only once he came back in did she move to the shampoo bowl.
Even though she walked right toward me, she never raised her head. In two hours of being seated next to this woman, I never saw her face. Not even a glimpse.
I had brief conversations with other clients, the stylists, and even the little girl playing the video game. As a woman would finish getting beautiful, those of us still going through the process would compliment how lovely the finished one looked, even if we had to shout it across the salon. That’s just what you do!
But as the afternoon wore on, everyone watched the mystery couple. All sorts of thoughts went through my head–was she a human trafficking victim? Did she have a crippling anxiety disorder? Or was he the issue? Did he treat her this way to have control over her? Yes, if you are thinking it was none of my business, you are right. Yet I couldn’t deny the sorrow I had for her. She seemed so trapped, so caged, so crippled. Nevertheless, I saw it for a reason.
I left the salon that day and never did see her face. She had moved to the blow dry phase and boyfriend was still hovering.
Leaving the salon it was imperative to show off my freshly coiffed hair, right? So I did a little shopping. The stores were crowded and it forced me to park at the end of the lot. Walking back to my car, I noticed something equally as abnormal as the salon experience. People who were 40-50 feet from the nearest person were wearing face masks. It was 90 degrees and one person, far from another human being, had a black covering that wrapped completely around his head and all that was visible were his eyes and top of his dark curly hair.
In every direction I watched as shoppers who were 20, 30, 40 feet from the next human being, in sweltering heat, had facial masks on that were so large and so tight, it gave me the same disturbed feeling as I had at the salon. I observed as those who exited the stores alone walked to the end of the parking lot and, apparently, never even considered removing the cloth from their faces. Some even got in their cars and drove away with the mask intact. Again, if someone wants to duct tape and staple a mask to their face, it is none of my business. Yet I saw it for a reason and it seemed highlighted to me.
When I got in my car, these words came up in my spirit, “Filled with fear.” To be filled with something means there is no room for anything else. When someone fills your glass with water, you ask them to stop before it runs over the top. That was it! What I saw was people filled with fear. No room for anything else. Their fear was flowing over the top of the glass. And if we aren’t careful, the fear flowing off of others can splash onto us.
How does fear get entrenched in people like this? 2 Timothy 1:7 AMPC says, For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.
There is revelation in this verse as to why we might not have a calm, well balanced, disciplined mind–God has not given us the spirit of fear. Somehow, somewhere, we open the door to a spirit of fear.
A spirit of fear is what causes someone to become timid, then a coward, then consumed with cringing panic. There is a progression. We don’t just fall from Faith Mountain to the Pit of Fear in one fell swoop. When fear is allowed in, faith becomes contaminated. When fear is allowed to set up camp in the mind, the walls of faith are breached. If we don’t recognize what fear is doing to us, then acting fearful and making decisions out of fear will eventually become normal.
I will say it again, a spirit of fear can not just bust into your mind and take over if you are a born-again child of God. Somehow, somewhere the door gets cracked. When fear is tolerated, faith becomes contaminated.
Sometimes people use their own mouths to incite fear. “If I go on that roller coaster, I’m afraid I will have a heart attack. If I buy a new car, I’m afraid I won’t be able to pay for it. In this economy, I’m afraid of losing my house. If I go see that movie I will have nightmares for a week.” Proverbs 6:2 NKJV says, “You are snared by the words of your mouth;
You are taken by the words of your mouth.” These kinds of sayings might seem harmless, but they open the door and invite a spirit of fear to come on in.
So here is the litmus test: if you want to have a sound mind and not be a puppet manipulated by a spirit of fear, you must keep the door to fear closed.
Let’s keep it simple and Bible-based. If fear has a grip on you:
- 1.) Resist fear. Stop answering the door when it shows up. Just because others may do fearful things and act in fearful ways, it does not have to come on you. Resist! James 4:7 AMPC “So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.”
- 2.) Stop owning it. Stop saying you are fearful, stop claiming it. Disown fear. Break up with it! If you catch yourself behaving in a fearful manner, speak 2 Timothy 1:7 over yourself. Say, “I have not been given a spirit of fear. I have a strong, disciplined mind. In Christ Jesus, my mind is filled with faith! I’m going to behave in a rational manner!” You have been given the helmet of salvation. I like to say it this way, “I have a saved brain.”
- 3.) Jesus admonished His disciples to come away with Him. It was the answer for overload, stress and burnout. He wanted them to make good choices, healthy decisions and not just follow the crowd. He told them this in Matthew 11:28-30 AMPC: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. 30 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” Our trust, in order to thrive in this world, should be first and foremost in God. You can only place your trust there when you “learn of Him”.
This was Jesus’ advice for thinking rationally, walking in a healthy state of mind and being filled with faith, not fear. I stand by it. How about you?