New Feet (not perfect? no problem!)

By:  Jana Greene

Years ago, a friend had given me a gift certificate for a pedicure at a local nail salon.   Andrew, a nice gentleman from Vietnam, would do the dirty work – my feet were a mess.  First he ran a very warm foot bath and instructed me to relax while enjoying the gentle jets.

But I was not relaxed; I became more nervous as he lined up the implements of pedicures by the side of the tub:  lotions and oils, pumice stones and cuticle sticks.  After a while, he lifted one foot at a time and placed it on a towel on his knee.

I’d never had a pedicure, and it was a humbling experience so far.  I was so embarrassed.

Living near the beach, I had become accustomed to staying either barefoot, or in a pair of well-worn leather sandals, and the soles of my feet were calloused and cracked from not wearing shoes.  As Andrew rubbed oil into each foot, I began apologizing.

“I know my feet are in bad shape,” I said quietly.  “I’m sorry they are so rough.”

To which he replied bluntly in a clipped Vietnamese accent:  “That’s why you come here!  Why would you come if feet were perfect?”  He scrubbed with the pumice until my heels were smooth and painted my nails a warm sunset orange.  By the time he was done, I felt restored and (dare I say?) relaxed.

And a little silly that I apologized about my feet during a pedicure!

Walking out of the salon on “new feet”, I thought about Jesus’s washing the feet of his disciples.  I love that story:

“So, he (Jesus) got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron.” – John 13:5-6 (MSG)

If it were embarrassing for Andrew to wash my feet, I cannot imagine the Son of God bending down to do the task!  God incarnate, serving!  So  that we would learn how to serve.  He even washed the feet of Judas, whom he knew would betray him in a matter of hours.  So humbling.

Humbling doesn’t usually feel restorative, but it often is.

There is a young lady I know who is struggling with coming to church, wrestling with believing in God at all.  She wants badly to stop hurting but asserts that she is just not there yet, not quite ready to make herself vulnerable enough to allow Jesus in.

She says she has done a lot of bad things, and that she is in rough shape.  A part of her still likes those bad  things, I suspect – and she isn’t sure she wants the calluses pumiced down by “religion”, because of the tenderness under the surface.  It’s so much easier to throw a coat of paint on something and make it look alright.  Religion can be superficial; a relationship with the God who bends down to where you are?  That is deep and powerful.

I want to say, like Andrew the Pedicurist, “Why would you come if you were perfect?”  Being in bad shape, rough around the edges, makes you the perfect candidate for Jesus to wash your feet!

To wash your soul and to restore you, right where you are.

That’s why you are here.

17 thoughts on “New Feet (not perfect? no problem!)

  1. “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:32

    I can’t say it any better than what he himself said. And be grateful that His love is eternal and never leaves us (any of us, ever).

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  2. Thank you for this post! God is so incredibly good!!! I studied this exact verse this morning and was convicted to just serve and follow his beautiful example and not to worry about the who and how…leave the details to God.

    Jana, God is working through you to reach so many and I am so humbled that he used you to confirm His word to this unworthy servant, too. I am grateful for our friendship and bond and most of all I am grateful to God for putting you in my life!

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  3. (((Mel))) I’m so humbled by your comment – and I’m so grateful for you and your friendship. It’s funny….the whole idea for this piece started as “I sure wish I could get pedicures” (complaining thoughts) and then remembered the bible story, because it has always awed me more than the story of Noah’s Ark or Jonah in the whale….which is more likely? A man surviving in the belly of a fish or God’s own flesh and blood coming to earth to wash the feet of his followers!? This morning, I opened my Bible right to the verse and read it again. As I wrote after breakfast, God reminded me about that first pedi, how I felt like my feet were too nasty to receive a pedicure – and how we humans often feel as though we’d better get our spirits right before seeking God in church (or seeking him, period). So, THIS unworthy servant is suprised herself about what ended up as today’s content. God is SO good, our bond and sisterhood is yet one more example of that goodness. I love you!

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  4. This post ties into your last one about control for me. I fought the urge to love Jesus for a long time because I felt like I couldn’t do it perfectly. I felt like I would never be like the other Christians I saw and I wouldn’t belong. Finally following my heart was such a relief. I’ve let go of how I think it’s supposed to be and am opening my heart to God. So many amazing experiences have come into my life by letting go of the control. This is a beautiful post and I’ll keep this verse with me today.

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  5. Exactly, Karen. That letting go thing is KEY! 🙂 I have to remind myself constantly that God my Father is not comparing me to other Christians, nor is he waiting to “zap” me. He is LOVE. Hugs to you today, friend.

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