Headcovering & Complementarianism

Why is headcovering so hard?

(This is a slight revision of my previously published post, since I realized that some things needed clarification. Thanks.)

I’m not going to address challenges other people might have with headcovering, here. I’m simply going to talk about my own experiences.

Why is headcovering so hard? For me, one of the difficulties is the see-ability of it. You know, like when you wear a cross necklace to the grocery store, and then end up arguing with, let’s say, the lady at the cash register (I’m not admitting to anything here, just giving an example). It feels inconsistent, doesn’t it, to be wearing a symbol of your faith**, while your actions speak a different message. Man. You SAY you’re a Christian, but what about the way you act? What about the way you talk?

If you wear a headcovering, there is little margin for error, since everybody KNOWS you’re supposed to be this godly, mature, holy, woman of God.  Well, that’s what I’d like to be, anyway.

I really, REALLY struggle with submission, to put it bluntly. You know that verse that says, “a quiet and gentle spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God”? Well, I don’t have that. Yet. I’m not gentle. And I’m not quiet. What’s the matter with me?

As I understand it, being quiet is really equivalent to having control over what comes out of my mouth. I suppose that if I really think through what I say BEFORE I say it, I might end up deciding not to say it after all. THEN, I’d be quieter.

Being gentle. Is that  like being a human sugar cookie, always sweet and non-confrontational, and never venturing to do anything bold? I don’t know. I DO know that Christ demonstrated gentleness, which is seen in His ability to be IN TUNE with people and what they were going through. He was compassionate, caring and concerned. And, He always did what the Father wanted, and never argued with the Father’s plan. Yet, He was bold in His obedience to the Father, which sometimes (or often) meant going against what the current religious leaders were teaching.

Here’s the thing: I have such strong opinions! I have a hard time keeping them back. You might as well tell a river to stop flowing. My brain is constantly ON, and thoughts keep getting pumped through my nerve pathways. As soon as I get a good idea, well, of course I have to tell somebody! And then, if they don’t agree with me, well, of course I have to tell them that they’re wrong! Right?

Yikes. I’m a monster (I feel). My ego is a giant. My words spray graffiti over the entire wall, when a simple little “penciled note” would have worked just as well, or better. Then, comes time for our evening prayer around the dinner table. Uh oh. There hangs my prayer shawl, over the back of my chair. Clearly, I have to put it on. I would be in disobedience to the Lord if I didn’t. Now I feel guilty. Why is headcovering so hard?

**“a symbol of your faith”: I don’t mean to say that the cross sign came to us from God as an emblem of the Christian religion (though Christ did die on a cross for our sins); rather, we have made it so, and it has become incorporated into our worship, and even into our culture at large. So, I don’t mean to say that the cross sign is biblically mandated; BUT, the headcovering IS. God never said, “You must wear a cross necklace.” But He DID say, “You women must wear a headcovering during prayer and prophesying.”

(Next, please read my post, Straightening, which is the companion to this article.)**

~Ladies, feel free to share your thoughts! What is the hardest thing about headcovering to YOU? What did you do to deal with it? Please, tell us!~



16 thoughts on “Why is headcovering so hard?

  1. Many years ago, before I became a Christian, I learned that the best way to implement practice is to do it step by step.
    I started covering my head at first just during church services; slowly transitioned to Bible Studies, Choir practice and concerts. Finally, I do that during my prayer times. The hardest part is to cover my head during Choir concerts, because sometimes I am the only one with headcovering out of few hundred people and being on stage: you feel the looks from people.
    P.S. I did well in all of my courses: did so well on my exams ( Gloria a Deus). I’m vising my friend and have no access to my e-mail(in case Sanae or Kinuko tried to reach me).
    Thank you for your prayers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your reply, Irina!
      I’m glad to hear that you did well on your exams–thanks be to God!
      I agree that a step-by-step approach is usually the best. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
      P.S. Sorry I’ve taken so long to respond to your comment; I’ve been moving, and like you, have had limited access to my computer lately.


  2. Dearest Jessica,

    Yesterday, I read this post and it has been in my heart since then. Jessica, I want to say that in all of your struggles and efforts,I can see His merciful–very tender–eyes.

    The picture above and your honest heart cry and prayer reminded me of one poem which I cherish. Here it is;

    “Oh, long and dark the stairs I trod,
    With stumbling feet to find my God:

    Gaining a foothold bit by bit,
    Then slipping back and losing it:

    Never progressing, striving still,
    With weakening grasp and fainting will,

    Bleeding to climb to God: while He
    Serenely smiled, unnoting me.

    Then came a certain time when I
    Loosened my hold and fell thereby.

    Down to the lowest step my fall,
    As if I had not climbed at all.

    And while I lay despairing there,
    I heard a footfall on the stair,

    In the same path, where I, dismayed,
    Faltered and fell and lay afraid.

    And lo! when hope had ceased to be,
    My God came down the stairs to me.”

    from Christian Disciplines, Oswald Chambers

    I love you so much as you are and you are my very important friend.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a beautiful poem, Kinuko! Thank you for your reply. It’s good to know that you accept me the way that I am. It’s so hard sometimes, to change the way I behave, kind of like climbing steep stairs. And just like the poem’s author, I sometimes feel like I’ve made no progress at all. I think that God’s supporting hand comes in the form of good friends like you, and the other supportive ladies who have encouraged me through their comments!
      P.S. Thanks for waiting for my late reply!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I usually use headband as covering,so people do not notice what I really do.Because headbands are not Inconspicuous.Only few persons whom I explained the reason know this.Most difficult thing on headcovering for me maybe sharing. I cover my head fulltime,but for most of Japanese women(especially workers,students) fulltime headcovering is very difficult, I know. So I feel I have to be carefull not to put pressure on other christian ladies.
    Headcovering during worship/prayer time like you and Irina do can be most practical in Japan,I think.
    Like in many churches in North America,Europe,most of Japanese protestant churches lost this tradition.Only at Brethren churches,many ladies cover their head during worship.Headcovering is still unknown issue in Japan.Until I read testimonies of you sisters,I have not known this,too.
    Thank you for sharing your thought and opportunity to talk about this issue!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for telling about your experience, Sanae!
      I think that it must be natural for us as human beings to want to fit in with other people. We don’t want to experience the tension of doing things differently than others. I think this is true for all of us, no matter what place we come from. And it is not necessarily bad, either. Perhaps it has something to do with our need for community, and our need to feel that we BELONG. So, headcovering can sometimes make us feel like we don’t belong, and that we are outsiders and excluded from community. It takes courage to be different, for sure! I greatly admire you courage, Sanae. Even if other people don’t always know why you wear a headband, it must still be hard, sometimes. Keep up the good work!
      P.S. Sorry I’ve taken so long to get back with you!


  4. I agree that the “gentle and quiet spirit” thing is definitely a work in progress! It is NOT easy!

    For me, the hardest part of headcovering has just been being alone. While I know several women online who practice it, I do not know anyone in my day-to-day life. It would be lovely to feel more community in this practice.

    We were driving through northern AZ this weekend, and I thought of you! (I’m assuming that’s where you live, from the picture!!)


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Diana! That gentle and quiet spirit thing IS a work in progress! And I also agree, that it is hard to not know anyone in my day-to-day life that covers, though I’ve met several dear internet friends.
      Well, I live here in central/northern Arizona, near Prescott. I was looking at your website about natural birthing the other day, and was amazed at all the information you’ve collected! By the way, I’ve had three completely natural home water births, and they were great! (The first two were typical hospital “natural” births.) My midwife was Paula Matthew, who was my mother’s midwife when she birthed my sister, 20+ years ago! I love Paula so much, and recommend her for anybody in central Arizona.
      P.S. Sorry for taking so long to reply!


      1. Too funny – we were just up there last weekend! Not in Prescott, but north of it (Paulden). I loved all of the wonderful rain!!

        I have heard of Paula Matthew, I believe, and I’m glad to have your recommendation!!

        I really enjoyed being a birth blogger for all of those years. Sadly, that blog is no longer active – though I do cross-post articles that apply. I didn’t intentionally plan to abandon it, but it just happened naturally when we started going toward homeschooling. I had to stop spending all of my free time reading about birth and start reading about home education, so my time just gradually shifted back to my first (personal) blog. I’m still passionate about birth issues, but right now my time and my heart are with home education and other issues of faith and practice. Maybe later, but the information is still there for those who search for it! 🙂

        Have a lovely evening!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. A note of encouragement: To all my headcovering sisters who go it alone in their churches or strive to cover full time, you are all SO precious in God’s sight in your obedience to Scripture. To go to church each week knowing that you may get questioned or stared at or even ridiculed for wearing something on your head, I call this courage in Christ. You are all strengthening your faith by leaps and bounds! To see the teaching of headcovering and to follow it when no one else does, you are amazing women!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Ruthie,
      Thank you so much for lifting us up with your inspiring words! Ruthie, you also, are a heroine in your own right. You continue to obey God by headcovering even though many close to you have abandoned this teaching. You have greatly motivated me in my walk with God. Thank you.


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