Hairstylists and Cheap Grace

When we move to a new location, one of the first priorities I make {I shed some light on my vanity here} is to find a new Hair Stylist. My husband seeks out the best Gym and I look for the best stylist. Seems rather trivial and superficial, doesn’t it?

Yet, I must admit that when I feel good about my hairstyle, I feel good about myself.

I have kept a short haircut for many years now. I tried growing out gorgeous, silky, flowing locks, but all I got was an unmanageable head of poofy hair with a mind of its own. I decided to just chop it all off, and go with a shorter look.

I must admit. I had inspiration. My mother. She has worn her hair short ever since I can remember and is blessed with silvery, white hair that suits her very well. She pulls off the short look, and since she and I look a lot alike, I thought I would give it a shot too.

Here is a photo taken on the day of my wedding. Isn’t she gorgeous!

mom and I



However, I have realized that finding a stylist that can cut short hair well, is difficult. There are a lot of ways to mess up a short haircut. Trust me!

Most of the time if I am not happy with my stylist, I will try and find a new one at a new salon instead of switching stylists within the same salon. You ladies out there totally get this.

I am afraid of hurting the stylist’s feelings. What will happen if I book an appointment with a new stylist and my old stylist is there when I show up? How will I explain my sudden change of loyalties? I would rather find a brand new salon than booking with the girl across the room who I have watched time and time again cut a great short cut.

But, at our last assignment, when I was unhappy, I actually muscled up the courage and switched stylists! I even talked with the receptionist about my concerns, shared my fears of hurting the other stylists feelings, yada-yada – before making the switch. All to avoid potentially hurting her feelings.

And, when I showed up for my next appointment, my old stylist was working. And, it was awkward. But, I was courteous and polite and so was she. And, after a few visits, it wasn’t weird anymore.

Crazy, huh? If guys only knew what we go through!


You may be wondering at this point how I happened to be thinking about this. Well, a woman at church stopped me on Sunday and complimented my hair asking me where I had gotten it done. I gave her the salon and stylists names. And this was her response,”Well, you know, I actually go to ______ there, and I don’t want to switch to _______ because I might hurt _____’s feelings.” Boy, did I know where she was coming from.

I responded by sharing with her that I totally understood her concern. But, that I had once switched, and while awkward, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. And, besides, haircuts at this place are expensive. We are paying for it. We might as well be happy with the result.


So, here is my question to myself. Why am I so concerned about what a stylist will think of me if I switch to another stylist in the same salon? Why do I get myself so worked up that I am willing to spend lots of money on a cut I don’t like just so I don’t have to go through the discomfort of switching stylists? Why do I whisper my concerns to the receptionist for fear the said-stylist will overhear our conversation?

It is silly to think that I spend this much time, energy, and concern on such a trivial matter when I don’t give a second thought about hurting God’s feelings, or letting him down.

For example, I let a swear word slip because I am around a friend who will understand if say it, even though I know it is wrong to misrepresent God in this way.

Or, I gossip about a friend, prefacing it with, “I know I shouldn’t say anything, but…”.

Or, I fail to follow through on a commitment I made because, “What harm is there anyway? There are enough volunteers”.

Or, I “vent” about my husband to the girls at lunch because I just need to get it off my chest.

I know, as a Disciple of Jesus Christ, those “minor” sins are wrong. Period.

Sometimes, I don’t give a second thought to letting God down, because, to be honest, you know what voice I hear in the back of my mind?, “Oh, He’ll forgive me anyway.”

YIKES! That is really what I hear.

I am learning that that, my friends, is what Dietrich Bonhoeffer in “Discipleship” calls Cheap Grace.

The Grace and forgiveness that I so flippintly expect, Cost Jesus His Life.

And. I. Just. Cheapened. It.

The Grace that Christ offers is Costly Grace.

In Bonhoeffer’s own words this is how he explains Cheap Grace versus Costly Grace.

Cheap grace means grace as bargain-basement goods, cut-rate forgiveness, cut-rate comfort, cut-rate sacrament; grace as the church’s inexhaustible pantry, from which it is doled out by careless hands without hesitation or limit. It is grace without a price, without costs. (Discipleship, p. 43)

Costly grace is the hidden treasure in the field, for the sake of which people go and sell with joy everything they have. It is the costly pearl, for whose price the merchant sells all that he has; it is Christ’s sovereignty, for the sake of which you tear out an eye if it causes you to stumble. IT is the call of Jesus Christ which causes a disciple to leave his nets and follow him. Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which has to be asked for, the door at which one has to knock. (Discipleship, p. 45)


I just began studying “Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer with my Sunday School class. Our Chaplain is leading us through it.

Until Sunday, I had no idea I was cheapening Grace. I am so thankful for this new understanding. I am sure, as often happens, that now that I am aware of this, I will often see how I cheapen grace.

I don’t want to cheapen the Grace that Christ purchased for me with his life.

Please, Father, instruct me in your way that I may guard myself from cheapening the gift of your son, Jesus Christ. Reveal to me in my daily life how I so quickly and without cost expect Grace. Teach me in your ways, O Lord, so that I may comprehend and know Costly Grace. Amen.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

newly purposed,


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20 thoughts on “Hairstylists and Cheap Grace

  1. Ditto on Valerie’s comment. As I read the hair stylist story(and nodded my head in total agreement), I was trying to imagine how you’d weave faith into it. Whoa! I was taken by surprise by “cheap grace.” Gives me something to chew on…

    • Hi Crystal, Thank you. I would love to join you! Thank you for making me aware of it. There are so many opportunities out there, I get overwhelmed sometimes considering all of the options. I am taking a look now. Thank you for your sweet, encouraging words. ~jana

  2. Thank you for this eye-opener! I, too, commit the same sins you list, conscious of my disregard for doing the right thing. Thank you for your transparency and courage to share your blemishes and kindly reminding us (me!) :) to have the courage and discipline to please God in every moment, not just the ones that are convenient or might be noticed.

  3. Great thoughts, Jana! I’ve not heard of ‘cheap grace’, but I totally agree with what you wrote and don’t want to be guilty of it, either.

    By the way, you and your mom are BOTH gorgeous! :-)

  4. Wow. I was pulled in by your stylist story (can so relate). And then smacked upside the head with cheap grace. Convicted. Thanks, Jana.

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