• Stephanie Ehmke, MA, LPC

Rogue Whisker


“Here’s my instruction: walk in the Spirit, and let the Spirit bring order to your life. If you do, you will never give in to your selfish and sinful cravings.” Galatians 5:16 (The Voice)

I love facial hair… on men. I know, it’s an odd sentence to begin with, but I honestly couldn’t figure out any other way to enter into today’s thoughts. Ever since my mid-twenties, I’ve begun getting these little annoying hairs on my chin. Ladies, maybe some of you can relate. More than anything, they are just irritating. Sometimes while working, without realizing it, I will reach up to touch my chin and feel one of these hairs poking out at me. Most of the time they are too small or short to do anything about so it just becomes an irritation until it becomes long enough to pluck. Other times though, I’ll reach up and find one that is ridiculously long. What!? How in the world could I have missed that while getting ready in the morning? While not ideal, I’ve come to accept these “facial inconsistencies” as part of life, womanhood, and hormones. I remind myself, it’s just hair and it’s removable, so take care of it and move on. Getting older is certainly not for the faint of heart and in each new decade, I’m finding that I have to adapt my thinking about my ever-changing body. But every now and then something happens that arrests my progress. In my early forties it was a comment made, innocently enough by my husband, but one that infuriated me. I can’t remember where we were exactly, but I was rubbing the bottom of my chin with my thumb, irritated by a new hair that popped up. “What are you doing?” he asked. I sighed as I responded, “Oh, I get these annoying hairs on my chin every now and then and it just bugs me until I can pluck it out.” Leaning towards me, he raised his eyebrows and crinkled his face in mild disgust as he chuckled, “That’s not a hair, that’s a whisker!” I tried to argue, “No, it’s not. It’s a hair.” He just smiled and shook his head, “If it’s rough and on your chin, it’s a whisker.” The conversation ended there, but this idea of having “whiskers” plagued me for a while. I can laugh at the conversation now, but at the time it was so embarrassing! The closer I get to the Lord, the more aware I am of how far I am from his holiness. I’m not being self-deprecating and honestly know that this side of glory I will never be perfect. Still, I want to continue to be better so my life can hopefully point others to him. One of the ways in recent years that I am working towards living better for God is by how I do or don’t justify ugly, (let’s call it what it really is) sinful behavior. In the past, there were certain things that would pop up in me like anger, jealousy, resentment, bitterness, or envy, and I’d justify leaning into these things and responding poorly because of them. I saw these actions as “irritating hairs” in my life, but the truth is they were bristly whiskers that needed to be dealt with and removed. As human beings, we are so skilled at self-deception and minimizing our faults. We need people in our lives who can speak truth to us regarding the blind spots we have in ourselves, but let’s be honest, sometimes it’s just hard to hear. And if I’m being honest, stirs up resentment. So, what are we to do if we want to hear truth about our shortcomings but get frustrated by them? First, make sure the people you are inviting to speak truth are gentle with your heart. Direct is ok but unkind or harsh is not. Be sure to choose wisely. Second, when you hear something that is hard to take in, remind yourself, “this person cares for me and would never intentionally try to hurt me.” This reminder is far more valuable in these moments than you could ever realize. Thirdly, be open to seeing what you don’t want to see and invite God into the process asking him to give you a new perspective on whatever has been revealed to you. I’m finding when I do these things, my attitude shifts, and I’m no longer frustrated or embarrassed by my shortcomings. Instead, I see them, deal with them, and try to move on. In this way, I am learning to follow the Apostle Paul’s teachings and not give into my “selfish and sinful cravings”.

“Here’s my instruction: walk in the Spirit, and let the Spirit bring order to your life. If you do, you will never give in to your selfish and sinful cravings.” Galatians 5:16 (The Voice)

Just last week, I was leaning into the mirror, tweezers in hand as my husband walked by the bathroom. “What are you doing,” he asked? Without thought or emotions, I replied, “Rogue whisker!” pulled it, and went on with my day. Every now and then our brokenness and sinful nature pop up in unexpected ways. Don’t deny it or minimize it, deal with it and move on. For Your Reflection… What “rogue whisker” keeps popping up in your life that you need to acknowledge and deal with? Ask God to help you and to bring someone along who can lovingly encourage you in the process.

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