Ever meet a woman who seemed to light up the room when she walked in? Her laugh said, “I don’t take life too seriously.” Her carefree walk let you know she was comfortable with who she was. Her hair and outfit seemed to be perfect. Then again, maybe it wasn’t. Actually her hair was held up in a casual bun and she had on workout clothes. So what was it that made it seem like she had it all together?
I used to think confidence was something you were born with or born into. If you had the perfect everything: body, hair, or family, you had confidence.
But I’ve met a woman, a woman in the Bible, who has changed my mind.
This woman demonstrated a very unlikely confidence. I call it unlikely because the Bible describes her as “a sinful woman” and my research tells me the sin she most likely committed was prostitution.
We meet her in Luke 7 and her story begins in verse 36:
“Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them” (Luke 7:36-38, NIV).
Do you see the confidence? Confidence to walk into a house full of men; judgmental men thinking they were the top of the top and looking down on those who were not like them.
What would have given this woman, this woman despised, looked down upon, unwanted … What would have given her the confidence to approach the perfect Son of God; to push past all that rejection?
Love. Jesus called it out. “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – for she loved much…” Luke 7:47 Her love for Jesus gave her this unlikely confidence.
What caused her to love Jesus so much?
We’re not given any details about her before this encounter except that she was woman “who had lived a sinful life in that town”.
What had she seen? What had she experienced? I decided to back up, reading the verses before her story, looking for clues.
I think in the verses beginning in Luke 7:11 I might have found the answers: “Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out – the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry. Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.” (v. 11 – 15)
Maybe the woman was in this crowd. Maybe this is where she saw in Jesus compassion, love, kindness, caring.
I’m not sure if it was here, but one thing is for sure: she had encountered unconditional love and it had given her the confidence she needed to push past rejection. She knew she was wanted and it compelled her to show love in return.
Based on her past, I am sure she knew no man could fill the gap in her heart; no doubt she had tried that. Yet this Man, this perfect one, loved her and it changed her; gave her unshakeable confidence.
1 John 4:19 tells us “We love because He first loved us.”
This newfound confidence empowered her to break past barriers. She broke past social barriers: she was a woman with a bad history, who dared to approach the Son of God.
She had the confidence to break past emotional barriers. There is no doubt she had been used and abused. Love empowered her to push past her pain to do the unthinkable. Go where she was unwanted to give a gift others would call tainted.
Love empowered her.
This woman shows us: confidence doesn’t come from doing everything right or having it all together. You don’t get it from the perfect childhood or the model marriage. Confidence comes from knowing we are loved. Jesus gave it; she received it. We, too, can find confidence, no matter how unlikely it may seem to us. Confidence to push past our barriers and to receive and return Perfect Love.
Confidence isn’t something you are born with; it comes from Someone you live for.
If you know a young woman who is suffering from a lack of confidence, my book Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants can help. Purchase your copy here.
Has there been an event take place in your life or a sin you’ve struggled with that has taken away your confidence? Talking to God about this, ask Him to heal your heart, remove your sin and help you walk daily in His confidence.