Tuesday, I posted this picture on social media with text that read, “Sometimes, on a Tuesday, you’re feeling bold and decide to go red and get a tattoo.”
My sweet friends on social media had so many kind things to say, but one comment struck me in particular. A friend commented that she’d wanted to get a nose ring for a long time, but worried how others might respond. She complimented me on being courageous enough to be myself.
She had no idea how meaningful that comment was, not because I was fishing for kind words, but because that nose ring was my own little silent revolution.
2a: a sudden, radical, or complete change. …d: a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something (from merriam-webster.com)
A Story About A Nose Ring That Was About So Much More Than A Nose Ring
I had wanted to get my nose pierced for a while, but I was worried about what people would think and say. I serve in ministry, write, and speak. I’m also from the midwest and , in general, we midwesterners tend to be a bit more conservative. Not only that, but I have some very conservative church experience in my background.
But even more importantly than all of that, in my own journey with Jesus over the last nearly 20 years, I have moved from someone who followed the rules and expectations of religion out of a desire to be seen as “worthy of salvation” to someone who is focused on a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus and a healthy relationship with Christian community.
As I learned to let go of the rules and press into relationship, I also learned to let go of my need to people please. I gave up my need to find my validation through others, to conform, to earn acceptance, and to find my worth through the approval of others.
Instead, I learned to focus solely on my own personal relationship with Jesus and to put my worth only in who God says I am. A thriving relationship with Christian community came as a result of knowing who Christ is and who I am in Him.
It’s been quite the ride.
Now, back to the nose ring. One day, on a road trip back home from visiting one of my very dearest friends and talking a lot about this journey I’ve been on, I stopped to get gas.
As I pumped my gas, I gazed at the scenery around me. Across the street from the gas station and down the block a ways was a tattoo parlor.
When I saw it, my first thought was, “I should totally just stop in and get my nose pierced. I’ve always wanted to. Why not today?”
My next thought was, “What in the world would people say? What would they think? Is that even ok?”
That second set of thoughts bothered me because I feel like I’ve come so far, but I also know that it’s so easy to slide back in to old patterns of behavior.
So I went. Alone. To the tattoo parlor by the gas station in some random town between Franklin, TN and Jefferson City, MO.
It was my own little act of silent revolution against the lies I used to believe.
Remember, revolution means a fundamental change in the way you see or think about something. This nose ring is a visual reminder of the fundamental change that God made in my heart about the way I saw myself, Him, and others.
Sudden and radical are a part of the definition for revolution as well and seem to fit this story. I guess stopping and suddenly deciding to get a nose piercing is a little radical, but it didn’t feel that way.
It felt empowering, like owning my belief and taking a stand against this enemy of “people pleasing”.
I wanted to give myself a physical reminder that not everyone will approve of me and I don’t have to conform to make them, in fact, it’s not my job to try to control how they respond to me or whether they accept me.
Putting such a big value on that had suffocated me in my past. I spent years of my life trying to follow the rules well enough and be good enough so that others would think my faith was genuine and would count me worthy.
By the grace of God I have moved past that into a healthy relationship with Jesus and with Christian community.
So, I pierced my nose.
It may sound silly, but it’s a constant confirmation that there is only one that I look to when determining my worth or the authenticity of my faith, and he looks so much deeper that what’s on the surface of a person. He sees my heart. He calls me worthy, beloved, chosen, redeemed, forgiven, daughter, friend, righteous, and clean. He is sanctifying me every day to make me more and more like Him, because He loves me.
This week I got a new tattoo. I love it. The same basic principle holds true. This tattoo is an outward display of what is in my heart. It’s an un erasable, permanent part of me that immediately tells everyone I’m a believer.
It shows that I am proud of the Jesus I love and that I won’t ever shy away from sharing Him with others.
Not everyone will love my nose ring or my tattoo. Not everyone will understand. But it’s not for everyone, it’s for me. It is another little silent revolution against lies I’ve believed and an altar I’ve set up on my path to remind me of truth.
***PLEASE NOTE, THIS IS MY journey. I’m not advocating for anyone to get a nose ring or a tattoo. I’m just sharing the story behind mine.