I began growing the beard in mid-January. I had two purposes in growing the beard: 1) to keep my face warm on my bike rides in 20-30 degree weather, and 2) to see what it would look like after seven years of not having a beard. Well, the beard definitely helped my face stay warm. As for the looks, well, most of the beard was white, while the mustache was brown.
Anyway, on Tuesday while my family was away, I shaved it off after about two months of having one. My oldest son came home, and immediately asked why I shaved my beard. My youngest son saw me and immediately said, "You shaved your beard." Well, my wife never noticed until late that evening. She only knew I shaved, because I said something.
How could she not notice? I don't know the answer. Was she preoccupied in her mind about something? Were her neural pathways so ingrained that her brain could not register something different? She saw me. We ate dinner together, yet she did not realize I shaved.
The next day I attended care group, and two of the women never noticed I had shaved until I said something. I brought it up, because we were discussing how we often overlook sins or habits in our own life which we might recognize in others. How can we do that? How can we not see our own addictions in ourselves? Do we think so highly of ourselves we can't see the truth? We were wrestling with whether we should say something to those who do not their wrong habits in themselves.
Of course, that is probably why people didn't see my smooth face. They were thinking about what they were thinking about. They could not think of anything else. We all do it. We all get so consumed with our own thoughts and our own selves that we do not realize what is going on around us. We can be so self-focused.
Isn't that one of the hardest challenges of following Jesus? We naturally are self-focused, but God calls us to look around and be both God-oriented and other-oriented. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit is this possible.