Eyebrows are fairly important features of the face. You might not think this is true because they seem so insignificant, but if you doubt, just take a look for yourself:
But here's my problem... It hurts!
If you are a man and have never experienced this, stop right now, grab a pair of tweezers and yank out a hair from your eyebrow (preferably from the bottom, not right in the middle). Then imagine doing this about 30-60 more times every other week or so. You, sir, might ask at this point, "Why do you do it that way? Why not just shave them like facial hair?" And I would just reply, "Oh silly, silly man. One does not just shave their eyebrows!" (never really aware of where this wisdom first originated but knowing it was heavily emphasized by my mother and my mother's mother and my mother's mother's mother, handed down throughout the generations of women.)
Razor + Eyebrow = No Bueno
Anyway, back to the point (or at least the point leading up to my point). Whether you pluck or wax your eyebrows, it's not really a comfortable thing. I really sort of hate it and put it off as long as possible, and yet I find it to be a necessary evil in order to keep my eyebrows from taking over my entire face. So the pain of pulling tiny little hairs out by the roots, one by one, from this sensitive part of the face, until my brows are red and puffy in protest and I can't stop sneezing (anyone else have the sneezing reaction?)... it's a pain I must endure for the overall good of my face (and partly out of consideration for anyone else who must look at my face).
I promise I'm going somewhere with the eyebrow illustration, but one more picture before I get to my main point.
I am, by no means, any type of gardener or green thumb. Really, I'm not even the type to go outdoors unless there are no bugs, no dirt, and the weather is a perfect 70 degrees with no humidity. But I do love flowers. My sweet mother-in-law, for the past three years (and probably out of pity for me), has come to my house in the spring and weeded my flower beds (that were installed by the previous homeowner) and planted new beautiful things for me to enjoy all summer long (things that don't really require any maintenance, so she won't have to worry about me killing them). And I love seeing all the colors and new life pop up.
We have one bush that usually produces these beautiful white flowers for months every year, but last year it had a rough winter, and I noticed its branches were pretty brown and dead-looking with only a few random patches of green here and there. For weeks, I hoped the bush would just shed the dead branches and the live stuff would take back over. But it wasn't happening. There were dots of green on some of the tips of the dead branches, but it clearly wasn't going to turn into the great flowering bush that it normally was.
So, on a bugless, dirtless, cool spring day, I got my set of pruning shears (which were probably a gift from my mother-in-law, in hopes that I'd start doing my own gardening), and I went to cutting. It seemed counter-intuitive to be chopping off what little green there was in hopes that more green would come, but I knew that the dead stuff was winning and needed to be cleared out, so I snipped and cut and chopped every brown twig I could find until there was almost nothing left of the bush. And for a few months, nothing happened, and I thought maybe I had murdered it. But now it's all green again, and yesterday I found the first new flower had bloomed!
There are some random hairs in my soul that need to be pulled out from the roots. Hairs of criticism. Hairs of negativity. Hairs of self-centeredness. They have grown up around my heart and are trying to change the shape of it.
There are dead branches in my character that need to be chopped off. Branches of selfishness. Branches of pridefulness. Branches of discontent. Ugly little twigs that threaten to choke the life out of the green leaves and beautiful flowers that want to sprout up.
So the plucking is painful, but it is necessary. The pruning isn't comfortable and takes a long time to show results, but it is good. The pluckings and prunings are slowly shaping and transforming my life, slowly trying to mold me into something better: Someone more loving and compassionate, someone more giving and patient, someone more selfless and genuine. I have no doubt it will take a long time. But I'm hoping that no matter the pain it causes or the time it takes, that one by one, little by little, those bad hairs and bad twigs will all be removed, and I will more closely resemble the One who has never been plagued by either.