Up until about 3 months ago, I could count on one hand the number of times I’d gotten a manicure. I always thought that manicures were for prissy girls with too much time and money on their hands, so I only had my nails done when I was in a wedding and was required to do so.
That all changed just before I got engaged. I knew that a lot of people would be looking at my hand once there was a ring on it, and I began to notice just how jacked up my nails appeared. I am really bad about biting them, so I’ve always had rather manly looking, construction worker hands. That was not the kind of thing that I wanted people staring at.
So ever since then I’ve been getting manicures on a fairly regular basis. And in doing so, God has opened my eyes to some interesting missional opportunities for Christian women.
I came to this realization today as I sat across from a young Vietnamese woman while I had my nails painted. I was listening to my iPod with the headphones in my ears, which served as a kind of barrier between the two of us. Occasionally she would ask me a question or make a comment, but I couldn’t really hear her because of my iPod, so eventually she gave up. We sat across from one another in silence.
This may have been the full extent of the story had the Holy Spirit not entered the seen. As I sat their absorbed in my podcast I began to feel a tugging on my heart, and I considered the situation before me–here I was, a Christian, sitting across from a woman who may not know Christ. I have her as a captive audience for at least 30 minutes, but instead I’m just sitting there listening to a podcast. That’s when the conviction hit.
As soon as I had the opportunity I shut down my iPod and began engaging the woman in conversation. She told me about her family and her life here in America. Then she asked about me, and I told her I was a Christian, and that I was also a minister. We spent the whole rest of the time getting to know one another.
When I left the salon I had not shared the Gospel with her, but I do not consider my time a failure. Why? Because I plan to go back. I just discovered a new mission field.
It’s hard to present the Gospel in a natural, genuine way when you talk to someone for the first time, which is why we need to be intentional about the people with whom we come into contact. It’s much easier to share your faith with someone in whom you’ve invested time and conversation, and I just laid the first brick of that relational foundation this afternoon. I’m now in a position to build on it.
That said, it’s important that we women recognize the missional opportunities before us and take advantage of them. If you like to get manicures, pick ONE manicure salon, pick one girl to do your nails each time, and then go there regularly. Forge a relationship with her until you get a chance to share the Gospel. Keep going back again and again so that you can invite her to church. Find out if her family has any needs that your church can provide her with. Listen to her if she’s having a bad day. Be her friend.
And if you don’t like getting manicures, there are plenty of other options. Pick one place to get your hair done and work on sharing the Gospel with your hair stylist. If there’s one store at which you like to shop, or one restaurant that you really love, drop in often and get to know the people who work there. I personally like taking my students to a pet store where they let you play with the puppies while you talk and hang out, so I’m trying to get to know one of the girls who works there.
Take a look at your schedule and figure out how you can be more intentional about it. Living missionally does not necessarily mean going overseas–it means living on mission. So find ways to set yourself up for these opportunities. Being a girly girl doesn’t have to mean you’re self-focused–it does mean that God has a special mission designed just for you!
Well said, and well done. (After taking off the iPod buds at least! 🙂
Your actions are a classic example of what Bill Hybels talks about in his book “Just Walk Across the Room”. It’s an excellent book that encourages us to be open to opportunities such as these – as well as take the ‘pressure’ of not trying to close the deal everytime we meet a new person.
great post sharon! i actually had a similar thought this past friday as i sat there talking to the girl painting my nails
sharon i have read your blog many times and have gotten to hear your stance on many issues regarding women, singleness/marriage, materialism, etc. however i also have seen pictures of your engagement ring, and for a woman in ministry that talks about all these issues, what do you have to say about the size and style of your ring? i realize this may seem insignificant but i feel as someone that speaks to women about fighting materialism and the lies of this world, it seems hypocritical to me.
I appreciate your honesty–that is a good question, and I have a couple thoughts about it.
My first thought about why I have the size ring that I have is because that’s the ring my fiance designed for me and gave me. I honestly did not expect a big ring! 🙂 So while I am by no means complaining because I love the ring, I didn’t go out to the store and pick the biggest ring I could find. That was not at all the goal. I think there is a part of every guy’s heart that wants to lavish his beloved with the best he can give, and Ike worked hard to provide his very best. I treasure the ring because of the intention behind it.
Second, Ike and I have actually been very clear with our friends that the ring looks a lot more expensive than it actually is. We are blessed to be friends with a jeweler who attends our church, and he worked with Ike to help us find a ring within our price range and without going into debt. Because of the special type of metal he used and the cut of the diamond, we were able to purchase a ring that looks very nice, and it is nice, but I think it looks like Ike spent far more money than he actualy did. My ring actually cost the same amount, if not less, as most of my ministry friends have spent on their own rings on their own tight budgets. Ike wanted to give me something nice, and he worked hard to give me the best he could provide with the little he had, and he did a great job at being resourceful.
In regard to the question of materialism, I have one final thought–while it is not right to love material things, to worship them and be mastered by them, Scripture does permit us to have nice things. Scripture also permits believers to give one another nice things, as Ike did for me. God does not want us to love our possessions, but He does not call us to poverty either.
That said, as a minister I do not spend my money on a lot of nice things because I don’t have that much money to spend. 🙂 But, I do have a few luxuries here and there. One of those is my engagement ring, which I will have the rest of my life, so I don’t feel that it is in conflict with the values that I espouse on this blog, or in my life.
I hope that makes sense. Let me know if you have anymore questions!
As the one who purchased the ring, I would like to add explanation (not defense) to the discussion. When I went to purchase an engagement ring, I had three priorities in mind: (1) The amount that I spend on the ring will not affect my tithe; (2) The amount I spend on the ring will not affect my ability to give when I saw need; but, (3) The amount I spend on the ring WILL affect how I spend my money. Let me explain. In the comment about materialism and the lies of the world, you are correct to acknowledge the fallacy of material objects as ends in themselves. Material objects are not sustaining sources of security, happiness or validation; they will always fail to achieve any of these ends. However, Material objects are effective as a means to an end. In my understanding, women, even more so than men, face lies that affect how valuable they perceive themselves to be. I found the proposal as an opportunity to reflect back to Sharon, what great value she is to me. I know that Sharon would never buy something like this for herself, therefore, the ring is not a reflection of Sharon’s desires but a reflection of my desire for Sharon.
As I mentioned, I did not allow the amount I spent on the ring to affect my ability to tithe or to give, however, I wanted to show that Sharon was of such great value to me, that she was worth re-ordering my financial priorities in order to show that value. I did not want to give Sharon something that did not cost me any sacrifice. In getting married, she will be a greater priority with respect to my time and my energy. She will also become a greater priority with respect my finances. In order to purchase this ring, I did not spend money I did not have, nor did I change the amount I gave, rather, I sacrificed other expenses/luxuries in order to show that she was indeed, a greater priority to me. That said, I used this ring, a material object as a means to establish that she is of great worth to me.
The bottom line is, the ring is intended, for better or worse, to reflect upon my desires, not Sharon’s. If someone is materialistic, it is me.
*smiles at the last post…
Thanks for this blog, as a young Christian woman, i have been thinking of the various ways that i can share my faith with others without feeling so ‘uncomfortable’ or getting into an awkward moment. Though i do not go to the salon to get my nails or hair done, i do visit a few stores regularly.. So i will be definitely thinking of ways to share my faith !