Shoes that don’t fit quite right are a nuisance. But did you know that wearing shoes too small can also cause serious health problems?
In fact, it’s estimated that most people (about 80 percent) are currently wearing the wrong size shoe – in many cases, shoes that are entirely too small, and they might not even realize it. Improperly sized footwear is more than just a little inconvenience – it can be downright dangerous to the health of your feet.
The same can be said of our spiritual ‘shoes’.
It was no accident that God referred to ‘shoes’ in Ephesians when talking about peace. A soldier marching into battle barefoot or in poorly fitting shoes would cause his focus to shift from the enemy, to the ground in which he was stepping. So, wearing ‘shoes’ you’ve outgrown is not only a nuisance, but can be downright dangerous and painful. Good fitting shoes allow us to step into battle freely and without fear, while we have our eyes on what’s ahead.
I know what you’re thinking, what do shoes have to do with me ‘walking’ in my spiritual journey.
How many times do we outgrow friends, ministries, jobs, homes, lifestyles, the list goes on, but rather than follow the PEACEFUL direction of the Holy Spirit AND-step into the new ‘shoe’ God has made for us. We instead become like Cinderella’s step-sister trying to jam our oversized foot into a tiny glass slipper. One that is no longer formed to fit our sole/soul. It’s no wonder we lack joy, as we limp ourselves back into the same old circumstances, the same old ministries, the same old friendships, and blame God for our inability to do so with peace.
You see- for a person like me, one who places so much importance on comfort, I will often be the first to sacrifice that desire in order to avoid change, or the appearance of imperfection. Even if that change could completely transform my life.
This past year God handed me a new set of ‘shoes. I wasn’t really surprised at the gift of new ‘shoes’ because I’d been painfully tip-toeing around in my tiny glass slipper for months. I’d even prayed for a new shoe more than once. But- I was a little a-taken back when the new shoes He crafted just for ME, were not dainty and shiny at all. No, instead these shoes were worn out combat boots, and a size too big!
“Hello God? You sure these are meant for me?” I said in an all too familiar sarcastic tone. Being a woman of short stature, I’ve got some tiny little feet, and even though I still like to think of myself as a warrior princess, God handing me combat boots was not exactly the heel this ‘princess’ had in mind.
Confused at the gift I was given, and feeling the enemy try, though unsuccessfully, to rob me of my joy by attacking me through my ego and pride.
I pressed on in faith, and obeyed.
I unlaced those worn leather boots and slowly slid my chubby foot inside until I felt my heel hit the sole. As I laced up each shoe string through those rusty metal holes, my mind spoke to The Giver, “God, this isn’t me. These shoes are ugly, they’re worn out! They were made for someone in battle, someone going somewhere. I’m ONLY a housewife and barely moving anywhere at all. Why have you given these shoes to me?” He gave me no reply as I slowly stood up, scrunching my toes back and forth as I took note of the inches of room I still had left to grow into these ugly shoes.
Every day, I reluctantly wore those boots He had gifted me. Every morning I’d lace them up and tell Him why He was wrong in giving those shoes to me. I became even more convinced of His error as it had been so long since I’d worn new shoes, I had forgotten all the raw blisters you can get in the time it takes to “break them in”. My feet ached every day, as the constant rubbing caused the skin to begin to bleed and peel away.
I was learning something valuable in this blistered circumstance. NEW can rub you RAW for a season until you adjust, and BOY did I struggle with how to adjust.
Months had passed, and I’d been wearing those new shoes for quite a while. I still hadn’t moved past that season of raw. Some days, I was even guilty of taking them off, and trying to fit back in my old glass heels, but the old no longer fit me either.
This morning was one of those days I missed the things I had LET GO. So, I tried on those old heels, and as I was reminiscing over all the memories, I made in those glass shoes, the victories, the joy, all the beautiful dances, and oh the tears that I cried. I could still feel the ache of letting go. When I heard God correct me, “Not letting Go, it’s always LETTING GROW!”
“In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,” says the Lord.” Isaiah 66:9
He was birthing something new. That’s when it dawned on me- those glass slippers were for castles, but these combat boots were made for war. And though some seasons our feet are for dancing; some seasons they are marching while holding a sword.
Today, my toes now reach the end of the once empty space in those old boots. I no longer feel raw or tender as I march every day down Eagle Drive, in prayer for our city, our schools and our families. I’m even beginning to feel somewhere deep inside that soon these shoes will also be cast aside for the NEW THING God has waiting for me. But this time I’m praying for some mermaid house slippers instead. *wink* Maybe this season rather than me creating a wRESTle, I will finally stay in complete surrender and rest in Him instead.
So, my friends, if the shoe fits WEAR IT, and if it doesn’t —-let it GROW!
Here are two symptoms that you are in danger of losing your ‘shoes’ of peace:
1. You Haven’t Grown.
Are you still comfortably wearing the same spiritual shoes you received upon your salvation in Jesus? If so, it might be time to LET GROW! You can’t blaze a trail sitting in the same spot tending to the same old embers. (When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a (WO)man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 1 Corinthians 13:11)
2. You Feel Pain.
Pain is the biggest indicator that you’ve outgrown the shoes that once brought you peace. When confronted with this symptom you need to seek The Giver for direction, and ask Him to shod your feet. I’ve realized that when I LET GROW of old friendships, ministry or careers, and step into what fits—immediately the pain is gone. I might enter a short season of raw and tender while the new peace breaks through, but quickly my stride turns from a limp to a leap. God’s not just The Potter, He’s The Cobbler too. Trust Him in your season, and wear the new shoes He’s gifted you. Don’t compare where you were, with where you’re going. For (HIS word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105)