Issue of Identity – Part Two of Your True Selfie

Day Five

Recently on a quick trip to the grocery store, the cashier asked me if I would like to take advantage of their senior citizen’s discount.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!

Stunned and shocked, I thought perhaps I hadn’t heard her correctly so I clarified by asking, “Exactly what age is the minimum requirement for the said discount?”

(Thinking…hoping…praying that it was ridiculously young…like 35.)

“Sixty,” she replied confidently.

I mustered a futile attempt to mask the wide range of emotions raging through my mind and body. While I’m no longer a spring chicken, I’m not even close to being 60!

I was hurt.

Appalled.

Offended.

Angry.

Incredulous.

And a part of me wanted to educate her on the finer art of asking appropriate questions.

For example, you should NOT, under ANY circumstances, ever, ever, EVER ask two general kinds of questions:

  1. Any questions related to a woman’s age, and
  2. Anything that has to do with being pregnant, possibly being pregnant or postpartum baby weight.

If this is your first time hearing this, you’re welcome. You have just been spared much embarrassment, ire and shame.

I went home to complain and cry to my husband and kids who immediately responded with,

“Did you get the discount?”

Really?!

The next day, in an attempt to repair my injured self-esteem, Gregg took me to Longs and invited me to purchase whatever beauty/hair/makeup products I desired. What a great husband.

Interestingly, there was one emotion that I didn’t expect to find triggered by this incident.

Insecurity. For the next week or so, I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time comparing my looks, my hair, my skin, my body with other women.

I know it’s shallow and shouldn’t have bothered me.

I know I should be mature enough to just laugh it off.

But it did bother me.

I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this either.

Just a quick glance at the magazine covers in the line at the grocery store and you’ll notice how our culture sends plenty of messages about the value of achieving success and attaining “outer” beauty.

Whether it’s the latest anti-aging cream, weight loss plan or hair product, we’re seduced to invest a lot of energy into improving our “outside”.

But how much attention to we direct towards cultivating and caring for inner beauty?

I love how Peter gently instructs and reminds women where their focus should lie,

“Don_t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within

“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”1 Peter 3:3-4 NLT

How quickly we can lose focus. In looking for the affirmation from the people around us, we spend a lot of time fixing and upgrading our outer self.

God looks deeper. He sees our heart. He sees who we’re becoming. He sees how he created us to live and I believe it breaks his heart to see us settle for the superficial second best.

I still color my graying hair. I’m still on the hunt for the best anti-aging cream. And I still haven’t been able to bring myself to go back through that cashier’s line at the grocery store.

But my primary focus is in a different place that looks towards a different end result of developing an inner beauty that is precious to God and brings glory to him.

Think about it…

How have you seen your external appearance affect your identity?

What would a gentle and quiet spirit look like in your life?

What is one step you can take to cultivate your inner beauty?

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Nothing Wasted

Conflict is beginning to brew. Private conversations are being conducted. Crisis is imminent. And to top it all off, Jesus is starting to talk about dying and leaving them. Jesus’ followers are now in full-blown crisis mode, attempting to control the crowd and calm the protesters. You can feel the confusion stirring and the intensity of the last few days rising, shrouding the future with an unsettling uncertainty.

In Bethany just a few days earlier, Jesus had raised a man from the dead. Jesus brought a man, Lazarus, who was dead for four days back to life…in their town! Everyone was talking about it. Many had witnessed it. Even more people had since seen Lazarus walking around the town.

Most likely, everyone in the area had heard about what had happened and people were flocking in droves to meet Jesus. The commotion was palatable and the religious rulers were even more determined to kill Jesus before the quickly approaching Passover.

Amidst all of the chaos, we catch a glimpse of Jesus at a dinner party, reclining at a table. And it was during this dinner party that a very unusual thing occurred.

To the astonishment of the host and guests, a woman walked in and approached Jesus while He reclined at the table with the other guests. Women in ancient Jewish culture didn’t hold an honorable place in society and they were usually not acknowledged or even addressed in public. Even more appalling was that this woman would somehow feel compelled to come right up to Jesus in the middle of the party! Ignoring the cold stares and callus comments, this woman boldly approached Jesus. Continuing with her display of gratitude, she took her flask of very expensive perfume, and began to lavishly pour it on Jesus’ head.

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. Mark 14:3-5

This perfume wasn’t cheap perfume you picked up at the Dollar Store. It wasn’t even the designer fragrances sold at the department stores. It was very expensive, said to be worth about a year’s wages for an average worker. Think about it – the average annual income in the United States yields about $52,000! And this woman, without hesitation, poured it like a jug of Gatorade on Jesus’ head.

The fragrance was also made of made of pure nard, a costly ointment that was set aside for the purpose of expressing acts of devotion. This woman lavishly anointed Jesus, giving it all to Him, emptying herself at the feet of Jesus.

She gave what was likely her most valuable possession.

And while many saw it as a waste, this woman saw it as an investment.

A life poured out in service to Jesus is never wasteed

A life broken and poured out in service to Jesus is never wasted.

When you understand the magnitude of your debt and the greatness of God’s provision through Jesus, gratitude will flows from your surrendered heart that seeks to hold nothing back.

Just a few days later, Jesus would go to the cross, giving His life for you and me. At the cross, Jesus held nothing back. God gave His best. Jesus gave it all – His blood shed, His life poured out in service and complete sacrifice.

Some look upon the cross and see it as a waste. Jesus saw it as an investment. Because you’re worth it.

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.  1 Peter 3:18

Aloha & Happy Easter!