An empty pair of shoes stood outside the entrance door to my place of employment today.
Cute, strappy, backless brown sandals with a heel. Just standing there in the sunshine with no one in them.
It is a gloriously sunny, warm fall day and a co-worker and I grabbed a bite of lunch at a nearby eatery and sat at an outdoor table, basking in the sun, enjoying the beauty of the day for our lunch hour.
Back at our office, I needed to speak to my boss. She had opened the outside entrance door to the executive offices to embrace the fresh air and sunshine, something we all enjoy in an office with windows that do not open. As I walked past the open door on my way to her office, I spotted them. The shoes. Just lounging in the sun all by themselves.
“Who jumped out of their shoes?” I asked my boss. She gave me a quizzical look, got up from her desk and peered out the door. Yep, there they were, the person-less shoes. Turns out one of our co-workers went outside to retrieve the mail and she decided to go shoeless.
If I could get away with it, I’d probably go shoeless every day. As long as I can remember, I’ve preferred to be sans shoes. Barefoot. That’s kind of ironic because I actually like shoes a lot. If I come home with a purchase after shopping, it’s likely there are shoes in the bag. So I do own quite a few pair of shoes, but I’ve noticed that a lot of them are backless, slide-on type shoes and sandals because my feet yearn to be free of shoes, I think.
When I enter my home from where ever I’ve been, the first thing that happens is I kick off my shoes. And they stay off until I go out again. If I’m staying inside, I will spend the entire day with no shoes. Even in the winter, I don’t wear shoes in the house. If my feet are cold, I’ll put some socks on or slide on my slippers (they are also backless), but no shoes!
As a kid growing up in the country, I rarely wore shoes in the summer. I loved the feeling of walking barefoot in the soft grass of our yard or in the cold, rushing water of a creek. I’d even walk barefooted across our gravel drive.
I can remember on more than one occasion feeling a little jolt of electric current when I opened the old extra refrigerator we kept in the dirt-floor garage. Every time I peeked in there to see what Mom had stored, I’d get shocked because I was in my bare feet.
I did wear shoes to ride my bike or walk down our tar and gravel road because the tar was hot and harder than the dickens to get off your feet. I also started wearing shoes more often after I got stung under my toes by a bee, my foot swelled up like a balloon, and it kept me awake most of the night. Our yard had lots of clover in it which the honey bees loved, so you had to watch your step. But the shoes I chose to wear were more often flip-flops than tennis shoes.
Now I will wear my sandals as long as possible through the fall. Even when the snow starts to fly, I’ll most likely be wearing my clogs. I won’t force my feet into closed shoes or boots until the snow is piled up several inches because my feet feel so restrained and just want to be free!
Even though shoes and socks were made to protect our feet, perhaps I don’t like wearing them because they sometimes make my path slippery. I’ve slipped down my stairs wearing socks more times than I can count, but I’ve never fallen down the stairs barefooted. I’ve skidded and landed on my backside numerous times because my shoes have not given me sure footing on ice or off. But I don’t think I’ve ever fallen in my bare feet.
Standing on firm ground where my feet cannot slip is more important to me spiritually than physically though. God can be trusted and He is our steadfast Rock on whom I can stand secure. I can call out to Him as I slip and slide and His hand is ever there to hold me up, pull me out of the mess I’ve made, and plant me firmly on His solid ground.
Psalm 40:1-4 tells us “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”
God grants me strength to continue on the path He’s laid before me, even when the path may be difficult. “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.” ~ 2 Samuel 22:31-34
God wants me to rely on Him, stand on Him, but I also believe He asks me to show my obedience to Him by choosing where my feet take me. I do that in my thoughts and deeds: when I choose to go back inside the store where I wrongfully treated someone rudely and apologize; when I choose what is right in God’s eyes, but not necessarily popular in my culture; when I speak the truth lovingly yet firmly to someone whose feet are slipping; when I choose to silence my tongue when my anger is aroused.
Those acts of obedience, what I’ve learned and received from God, also help my own feet not to slip. Psalm 17:5 says “My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped.”
How else do I choose solid ground for my feet? By staying immersed in God’s Word, my guidebook for life, reading, studying, and learning from other Biblically sound believers.
God shows me the way for my feet to go in His Word. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” ~ Psalm 119:105
My path is sure and well-lit when I follow the precepts God has given me in His Word, keep them in my heart and mind, and incorporate them into my daily life.
I also believe God expects me to share, by whatever means He gives me, what I’ve learned along the way – both what caused my feet to slip and how He rescued me and what kept my feet from slipping. He requires that I share my faith – the one that saved me by grace – in Jesus Christ. “And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” ~ Romans 10:15
With shoes or without, I want to have those beautiful feet!