How do you feel about shoes? It may seem like a crazy question, but really, what’s your opinion? Are you the type of person who thinks shoes serve the basic function of protecting your feet, so you have the obligatory three or four pairs, and you only buy a new pair when black Sharpies can no longer fill in the worn leather? Or are you a mid-range shoe consumer who believes shoes are part of your wardrobe and should generally match what you wear (and each other), so you have 10-20 pairs with various colors of the same style to wear with different outfits and for different occasions? Or are you a shoe aficionado who knows that shoes are one of the most important accessories to adorn any ensemble, even if you’re just going for a run (thus requiring the 50+ pairs), so shopping for the newest and cutest shoe of the season is not only your favorite sport, it’s a passion?
Shoes aren’t just for walking anymore!
I remember my first day of 7th grade. No more elementary school, baby. This was “Junior High”! We didn’t have much money, and until now I had still been wearing Toughskins from Sears (you may not know what those are, but trust me, it wasn’t good). For Junior High school shopping, I was allowed to buy my first pair of designer jeans–Jordache! It was going to be a good year, I just knew it. But for the first time in my life, there was another problem. I didn’t have any shoes to wear (my old pair of faded brown faux leather just wouldn’t cut it). Lucky for me, my next door neighbor let me borrow a pair of her clogs. This would have been a great idea, except they were 3 inch heels and 2½ sizes too big. So I wadded up my tube socks and shoved them into the clogs before putting them on. Somehow I made it onto the bus, off the bus, and up the cement walkway to the school without turning an ankle or losing a shoe. But as I entered the hallowed entry hall of my new school, amidst all of the excited upper class students reuniting after summer, I took one step on the newly-waxed, shiny floor and SPLAT! Down I went as my feet slipped out, my butt hit the ground, and everything I was carrying went skidding across the floor. What an entrance! Somehow that’s all I remember of that day (and most of that year). I do know that I never borrowed my friend’s shoes again.
Why do I share that story? It’s not to justify my shoe closet or my love of a fabulous new pair (what can I say, some people collect figurines, I collect shoes). I share the story to remind us that regardless of our age or what we’re doing, it’s so important to be walking in our own shoes.
Why? Three reasons. First, we can’t fill someone else’s shoes. We have to wear our own pair that accentuates our talents (this is a metaphor for life in case you were wondering).
Second, we shouldn’t be tempted to ask someone to walk a mile in our shoes so they can see how uncomfortable they are. We should instead ask them to walk with us in their shoes so they can be a part of our journey and bring their strengths to it.
Third, we shouldn’t be envious of the shoes someone else is walking in. No matter how good they look, they won’t fit us. If we try to force them on, we’ll get blisters and then SPLAT! in front of the very people we’re trying to impress. It won’t be pretty.
It’s okay to like new shoes. But the journey we walk in them is what’s truly important.
“If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7
May I pray?
Heavenly Father, sometimes it’s hard to walk in our shoes. Sometimes we’re not content with the shoes we’re given. Help us to walk thankfully and confidently in our own shoes. And may today be a day that we don’t focus on our shoes, but on the path we’re walking. May we skip along with friends, regardless of the shoes we’re wearing. Amen.
Q4U: How do you feel about shoes?