I keep breaking my pinky nail.
Yes, that’s right – I keep breaking off my acrylic, pinky nail. Call me what you will – ratchet, extra, or anything of the sort. I will tell you that my nail beds grow like little squares. They look like tiny pieces of bread, and they just keep growing outward, so I get acrylic nails. I don’t have to mess with them, bite them, fix them, or ever paint my nails in the car like I know some of you do! Why I feel like I had to justify my nail choices to you is another question, but back to the point: I keep breaking my pinky nail.
The entire thing – the acrylic and my actual nail ripped right off.
It happened in February as I was cleaning my bathroom. I was on the phone with my best friend, Chelsea, when my nail got stuck in the door handle of the washing machine. I sent her a picture after we got off the phone and she replied, “Sis how did you not react on the phone when we were together?!?!? That looks so painful!”
It was painful, and it was bloody, gross, and ugly, and I did not want to draw more attention to something that I do to partially cover up something that I think is ugly about myself.
There, I said it.
Part of the reason I get my nails done is because I love it and it’s a treat to myself, but also because I am covering up something that I truly feel is not attractive about myself. I want to make a part of myself better with something fake.
Wait. It gets better. Remember how I told you both my real and fake nail ripped off?
Well, I keep getting a fake nail put on it and it has now ripped off 4 times. Finally, my nail technician told me “Natalie, I can’t keep covering this up.” Not only do I want to make a part of myself better with something fake, but I want to cover it up right now.
I drove home that day and started thinking to myself, why on earth can’t I just let this poor nail heal and grow back naturally? The Lord spoke to me and said, “Because you don’t want the process of it being exposed, and you want it to look perfect right now.” That is absolutely the truth. I was so interested in the appearance of my flesh, that even my pinky nail was something I had shame over, so much so, that I was damaging the natural nail itself. Galatians 5:17-20 (MSG) says this:
“17 For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day.
18 Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence? 19 It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; 20 trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits…”
Sinful self-interest is the root of my problem here. My natural instinct without Christ is to lean towards “frenzied, joyless grab of happiness” and “all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants.” If my sin manifests in something as minor as my nail repetitively ripping off, then how else is it manifesting? I have seen this as I have obsessed over losing weight, getting to a certain size, and looking a certain way. All of these desires and joyless grabs of happiness are symptoms of a deeper sin-problem within me.
I want gratification, and I want it now.
My natural instinct is to cover up the parts that I am ashamed of, and what the Lord has taught me is that true healing does not take place when I do this. If I am going to get where I am called to go, and be who I am called to be – like Jesus Christ – then it is time to look myself in the mirror, and stop covering up my shameful pieces, and hand them over to him. Healing, true healing, comes when we are exposed. It takes time, and sometimes it can feel embarrassing to address the idols in our life, like my acrylics, but my goodness when we let Christ take root and address our sin – we can finally have victory, and Jesus says, “shame off you!” There are far more serious situations and consequences of sin that I have experienced in my own life and that Christ has healed me from, but this repetitive desire in me for perfection has been illustrating issues much deeper within me.
During my silly nail saga, I have been on a journey of becoming healthier, and I became so frustrated with not losing weight instantly, this theme of “joyless grabs of happiness” came filtering through my heart again. I had to stare in the face the choices I was making – choosing an unhealthy relationship with food. If I wanted to be healthy, I had to be in for a journey.
Not many things of substance happen instantly when it comes to growth. The path to discipleship – it is lifelong, and when we are out of perseverance, Christ gives us His Spirit to fill us afresh so we can continue walking.
Paul gives us this truth in Galatians 5:22-23 (MSG)
“22 But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard – things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, 23 not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.”
When we remain in Christ, we develop a “willingness to stick with things”… Now THAT, sister, is the God we serve. We can come to Him broken, ashamed, and selfish. He turns our hearts toward Him and gives us fresh willingness, compassion, conviction, and self-discipline. Thanks be to God, when we desire instant, Christ takes our hand and says “Why don’t we journey a while?”
About the Author:
Natalie Glover loves Jesus and is from Pittsburgh, PA. She currently lives on a sheep farm with her husband, JB. She is a minister and worship leader at New Community Church, in Wexford PA. Natalie loves to drink coffee, meet new people, learn, and teach women of all ages!