I drove through the parking lot slowly and stopped in front of the vacant store front. Where did it go? I doubled checked my surroundings to make sure I was in the right place. I pulled into an empty parking stall and walked up to the locked doors. As I peered through the windows, I saw that it was true… the place where I had gotten my hair cut for more than a dozen years was gone. There were small remnants of the paint decor still visible on the walls but all the mirrors had been taken down. There were no sinks, no chairs, no cash register. The place was completely vacant.
I had seen the same hair dresser for those 12 years as well. The idea of having to start over with someone else was not what I had in mind that day. What I loved about my hair dresser was that I never had to make an appointment, I could just drop in and usually within 30 minutes or less my hair was washed, cut, dried and styled. She was amazingly fast. Not only that, she knew me. She knew my hair. She knew what I liked and she just did it. I loved it every time. I’m not sure I’d even know where to begin if I had to explain what I wanted to someone new.
I had several errands to run that day so I continued to check them off my list while I contemplated my hair dilemma. I thought about ways I might track down my stylist but I wasn’t sure where to start. I had no idea how long ago the store had closed or how to get a hold of her. With each errand I gave up a little more hope. I just wasn’t sure I’d be able to find her and frankly I didn’t have time to look. I couldn’t wait another week to get it cut.
The place that had closed was a part of a chain. I remembered that there were two other stores in the area. One near my work and the other near my home. As my hope unraveled of finding my hair dresser, I decided I would just go the one near my home and start over. If I had to start over at least it will be convenient to start over close to home.
There was still one more task on my list I needed to get done. I needed to mail a package. My original plan had been to go to a postal annex place close to my work. I had used them the week prior and was impressed with their customer service. But since the hair dressing dilemma had thrown a wrench in all my plans I decided I was much closer to the local post office. So off I went.
I pulled into the parking lot of the post office and took the package from my back seat. Before I left my car I sensed a nudge in my spirit. It wasn’t strong but it was nagging. My own words echoed in my head. “You said you were going to that other postal place.” I rationalized my decision to myself. “Yeah, but I’m already here.” Still the nudge persisted. Enough so that it stopped me in my tracks. Was this a God thing? Did He want me to go to the other postal place for some other reason? It was so persistent that I put the package back into the car, left the post office and drove several miles to the other postal store.
My experience at the postal store was nothing spectacular, I sent off the package and went back to my car. “Well, Lord?” I asked. Nothing. “Was there something I was supposed to do there?” Nothing. I pulled out of the parking stall and as I made my way through the parking lot I saw the other haircut store. I had already resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to find my hair stylist. I had already decided I would go to the one near my home, not this one. So, now what? Finally I decided, “Well, I’m here now I may as well go in.”
The gal took me right away and I sat down in her chair. She was polite and made small talk as she cleaned up her station and began to get me ready. She asked if I had been there before. I explained I used to go to the store that was now closed and I mentioned my hair dresser’s name. Her eyes lit up. “I know her! And I know where she went.” Now my eyes lit up. Then she asked, “Do you want to see her instead?” I said yes and before I knew it she was on her way to the front desk to make a phone call. As she looked up the number she asked me my name. When I told her she said, “She told me about you! She told me if Chris Wolff ever came in to my store that I should tell you where she was!” Within a few moments she was on the phone with my hair dresser making an appointment for me. And… about 30 minutes later, I was sitting in my hairdresser’s chair getting my hair cut. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier or more thankful for a haircut in my life.
It was the nudge that made the difference. I do believe it was from the Lord. And I believe He cares about who cuts our hair! It would have been so easy to rationalize it away. I had already done that! The post office was more convenient! The hair cut place near my home was more convenient! Trying to find my hairdresser was too much of a hassle – not convenient. But that wasn’t what God had for me. He had a blessing waiting for me. He prepared the whole way. It was amazing to hear my name come out of this perfect stranger’s mouth. She didn’t know me but she remembered my name. God did that. He prepared the way for me. I had given up. But that wasn’t His plan. He had a blessing in store for me but I had to be obedient to His nudging.
Obedience to God is not always convenient. In fact, I’m not sure it ever is. If it was I think a lot more people would be doing it. But when we attend to the nudges of the Holy Spirit within us God will come through. He will bring us His blessings. He knows us. He knows what we like. He knows every detail about us. He knows our name. And He has a plan that He has prepared for us in advance. We just need to follow Him. At times that means giving up what is convenient and rational… His ways are not our ways.
Lord, help us to pay more attention to the nudging of your Spirit. Only you know how many blessings we have missed by engaging our rational minds instead of being faithful in following your lead. Give us the faith to pursue you wholeheartedly in everything we do. And help us to pay attention to the opportunities you give us to share you with others… even those who cut our hair. Thank you for knowing us so well and desiring to bless us. In Jesus’ name, amen.