Well, I feel like we’ve had a few weeks of me baring all of my ugly insecurities and secret thoughts. That Beth Moore. She unearths all kinds of unexpected junk. Here’s a list of the topics we’ve covered in this little series on insecurity:
Introduction: Insecure Much?
Part 1: What’s Your “One Thing”?
Part 2: I Want to Be the Best
Part 3: When We Try to Play God
Today we’re going to look at a story from the Bible that has been one of my favorites for a few years.
It’s the story about the woman who pours perfume on Jesus’ feet. There is something that has always made me feel slightly uncomfortable about that story. I think it’s because it’s a story about a moment so intimate that you almost feel like you shouldn’t be part of it – kind of like when you catch a couple kissing when they think they’re alone.
Or like the time we turned our baby monitor on, and instead of picking up our base, it picked up our neighbor’s base, and we could hear him singing his little girl to sleep. (Different house, so you don’t have to try to figure out who it was!)
Some things are so beautiful and personal, you feel the need to look away, but at the same time, you don’t want to, because those moments are like a window into a person’s soul. You feel like you just want to catch a glimpse…
The story of Jesus being anointed with perfume is one of those glimpses. I’ve read that story so many times – I can still remember the illustration in my old Picture Bible: with her long, long hair, bending over Jesus feet, crying and wiping, completely broken before Him.
That picture in itself is a beautiful, vulnerable thing, but there is another whole dimension added to it – she was displaying that vulnerability in front of a room full of men.
Because of being a woman, she would already have been looked down on, but even more so because the Bible specifies that she “had lived a sinful life”.
I try to imagine what she must have been feeling that moved her to do what she did…
Have you ever been in a place where Jesus has gripped your heart? You’ve gone to the depths to clean out the junk from the past, you’ve been showered with His grace, and you feel so full of Him, so grateful and humbled and broken but whole? Nothing really matters but being one with Him. You want to get as close as possible, and desire a way to praise Him enough, thank Him enough for all that He’s done.
I imagine the woman feeling a bit like that.
So she got out the alabaster jar of perfume, took it to the home of a Pharisee, went into that room full of men, and worshiped Jesus in the most whole way that she could – all of her, poured out. Her perfume, her tears, her hair, her heart. All of it at Jesus’ feet, with everybody watching.
And it didn’t matter to her that everybody was watching, because all she cared about was Jesus. Her heart was so full, Jesus was all that mattered.
There are many, many times I’ve thought about that when I’ve been in a room full of people.
I want to live a life so full of Jesus, my heart so full of thankfulness and worship and love, that I don’t even see, don’t even care who is watching or what they think. I want to rise above every insecure thought I’ve ever had, and permanently live in a place where Jesus is everything, and always enough.
I want to be vulnerable, and I want to serve and love Jesus with my whole being, to the point where I pour out everything.
Because you know what Jesus said in defense of that woman? When Judas spoke up and voiced his negative opinion about her actions, Jesus said,
“Leave her alone….Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me….She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (Mark 14:6-9)
Amazing, isn’t it? “Wherever the gospel is preached…” She just poured out her heart, and Jesus took it as the ultimate act of worship.
He called it beautiful.
It makes me wonder how He feels when we allow the lies of this world to creep in, and we start to feel ashamed, inadequate, ugly, unwanted, unworthy. We hide some parts of ourselves away, and curl into ourselves, because the most precious things we want to protect. We couldn’t bear if someone who saw it would mock or criticize.
But that guarded spirit can be contagious. Others can feel it when we are not transparent and vulnerable. So they start to hide certain things away, too. And before long, we end up in a world where a certain image is everything, and we must be so careful to portray only a carefully constructed front.
And the people who are comfortable with public displays of crying, perfume-dumping and hair-wiping are considered the weird ones.
But Jesus calls it beautiful.
Insecurity is a slippery thing. It can disguise itself in many ways, as we’ve talked about over the last two weeks. It can dampen our spirits, break our souls, and cause people to hide their true selves. It can hinder the way we worship and live out our relationship with Jesus.
What would happen if we would decide we don’t want that anymore? If we would embrace those vulnerable moments, and courageously worship in a transparent way?
I think Jesus might call it beautiful….
How are you doing? Do you feel like you can show your true self? Are you free to pour yourself at Jesus’ feet, or do you hold back because of who is watching?