Many of us are fortunate to have a variety of footwear available to us for pretty much every occasion. We pull on snow boots in the winter and slip on rain boots during the spring season. We can "double-dip" to wear some shoes for multiple purposes, yet other times we purchase a pair of shoes designed for a specific life event or particular activity.
We've got workout shoes in which we put in lots of miles, pounding the pavement as we walk, jog, or run.
I have fond memories of training with 3 friends for the Oklahoma City's "Run to Remember" half-marathon over a decade ago. Those shoes served me well, supporting and cushioning my footfalls for a steady 2 hours and 22 minutes.
"And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1
For our family backpacking trips, I've invested in a sturdy pair of hiking boots. These are all about fit and function. Hiking boots protect my toes from getting bruised up by rocky terrain and the stiff cuff around the ankle lessens the risk of twisting my ankle during awkward climbs.
I now have a pair of boots broken in nicely so my feet don't feel too "beaten up" at the end of a hiking day. I'd worn out the last set to the extent that the sole broke loose on my right boot, which left it flapping with every step I took. Fortunately that was at the end of a day hike, so it provided more entertainment than a hindrance! 🤣
Yet, it was a tangible reminder that we need to be fully equipped for the tasks ahead of us in order to finish well.
Summer is full of opportunities for adventure and new experiences. It lends itself to wearing all kinds of sandals that we can pair with dresses, capris, or shorts.
I'd say most of my sandals are selected by the expected activity involved or what clothing I'm wearing, not function.
After a few hours in "cute" sandals, however, my feet are tired and aching to be set free from uncomfortable straps.
A friend recently told me she got rid of all of her "just a few hours" shoes and instead only kept shoes that provide support and comfort.
It's true we do get wiser and less concerned about what others think as we age!
When we have special occasions and splurge on "fancy" shoes, sometimes we do give up comfort for appearance.
Recently, I got lucky with the dressy shoes I chose for my son's wedding because they gave me good support without also giving me blisters after wearing them for many hours for the first time. I initially chose these shoes because they had a zipped-up heel that would prevent my dress from getting trapped and potentially be a tripping hazard as I moved about on the dance floor.
I consider this pair a win-win for both function and fashion! (a rarity in my shoe history)
Why am I giving you the lowdown on my footwear choices?
Well, at this stage of life I've learned a thing or two about shoes. I've suffered stone bruises, running blisters, and ripped toenails due to poorly fitting footwear or not having appropriate shoes for my current situation.
Our choices matter ...in what we wear each day (is our armor of God "on" and adjusted securely?), how long we expect to be stuck in certain circumstances (letting go of human anxiety and persevering through prayer?), what direction we're headed (are our eyes focused on God and His will for our lives?), and who we is accompanying us on our journey (are we sharing our burdens and enlisting prayer warriors beside us along the way?)
Since this month's focus is on Walking with God, I've given some consideration to my spiritual walk and how I'm equipping myself daily to face struggles that may arise.
The times in my life when my "spiritual walk" been strongest are those in which I've endured the most extreme stresses and losses. Why is that?
Because I had to put on my full armor of God and the sturdiest of "spiritual footwear" to keep trudging through those challenging times. I had to lean in hard on prayer, and gather my best supporters around me to get to the end of those emotional journeys.
As I have reflected on the crises I've endured throughout my life, I've realized that the more "in step" I was with the Lord, the calmer I felt to persevere forward.
Running through the deepest, darkest battles of life in flip-flops is not gonna cut it.
We need something that's going to support us and cushion our steps as much as possible in adverse conditions. We need to choose our footwear, our path, and our companions wisely.
The stronger our relationship is with the Lord through consistent prayer and time in His Word, the more confident we're going to be to access His strength when we're at our weakest.
This is the crazy simplicity of faith: God is always present when we turn to Him.
"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way: walk in it." Isaiah 30:21
What are you learning this month to be more "in step" with the Lord??