A couple of months ago, I decided to grow my beard. I took the decision first because I was tired of shaving every other day. The process was time consuming and I also had to deal with rashes which were always a challenge to me. Secondly, I like the ‘sage’ look. It’s Über cool.
With the beard also came lots of gray. It was as if I had ‘aged’ overnight. Well this was my life and my decision, so I went ahead with it. Most importantly, my wife loved the look. However, what I didn’t bargain for was the reaction my sage look got from people who are not even acquaintances. One lady asked me to cut off my beard. I told her that she isn’t my wife, therefore she has no right to tell me that. A contractor who does some business for me, looked at me with concern on his face and told me to cut if off. I asked why? He said ‘it is not good for you, that is not who you are.’ Since when did he start knowing what was good for me and what wasn’t? It was his reaction that made me start thinking about change. People are opposed to change. They had rather die than change.
The issue here is that this is my life, my face, my choice. What is anyone’s business with how I look? These are not people who have a stake in my life. They have no investment whatsoever in my life. Why are they then so concerned about my look? Why do they want to cut off my gray beard?
It dawned on me that people will do ANYTHING to keep you conformed to their expectations of you. They will keep you at the level they believe you should be. They will do all they can to contain your life just to make it conform to whatever plans they have for you. Several years ago, I was about to start work with a new church. I told the now popular pastor that I wasn’t just a singer. I had a desire to write and speak to people. You know what he said? He told me that as far as he was concerned, I was a singer and if I wanted to remain in his church, I would stay as a singer. I left. That man was trying to cut off my gray beard. Several years later, I have written over 60 books. My books are read in several countries because I ‘kept my gray beard.’ I refused to conform to one man’s expectation of what I ought to be or what I ought to do with my life. I have only one Lord, Master and Commander. His Name is Jesus Christ. When He tells me,‘Praise, Jump!’ I ask, ‘Lord, how high?’
An experiment performed long ago further explains my situation. Several monkeys were placed in a pit. Each time a monkey tried to climb out of the pit, all the other monkeys pulled it down. No monkey could escape out of the pit because there was a communal agreement to stop any monkey from breaking out of that confinement.
People are opposed and antagonistic to change. They will not take steps to change their own lives but when you want to make a change that will transform your life, they will do all they can to discourage and stop you from making that move. Many words of advice that people give you sometimes is not really because they love you and want the best for you. They don’t.
It is because they are opposed to change and would not want you to become ‘different’ or experience something new with your life. They are scared that if you changed church, changed jobs, got a PhD, moved to another country, moved to another city, started a church, got married to that hot guy/lady, started a business, took that risk, or as with my case, grew a gray beard, you would leave them behind in their little prisons of fear and conformity. They are scared that your dream would really come true and you would experience success beyond your wildest dream. You would shatter the illusion and expectation which their little minds dreamed up about you. What is my advice to you? Don’t allow anyone manipulate you to cut off your ‘gray beard.’ This is your life and you should live it the very best way you know to for you will ultimately give account of it, alone, someday.