Sunday, June 10, 2012

Whose Shoes Are These?


I heard a similar quote not long ago and it has consistently stayed at the forefront of my mind. I guess it really struck me because I can relate so well. I could've titled this blog post any number of things: "How am I Supposed to Walk in These?" "You expect me to wear those?" "Those aren't my size!" You get the picture. 

Being in a new place often has its challenges. Starting something new is only new for those involved in the process. For all others outside that inner circle, very little has changed or should change. Their expectations remain the same, whether realistic or not. Therein lies the problem. 

I suppose by now you are expecting to read on about how the expectations of others can make transition difficult. You're probably expecting me to voice my thoughts on how I feel about that and on just how much of a struggle that's been for me. I'm sorry, but this is a different post. 

Most people think I have little feet. I don't. They're average, size 7 for just about everything except sandals or boots. Go down and up a 1/2 size for those, respectively. Yet for all the shoes I own, I've figured out one thing. All the shoes I own fit me better than they do anyone else.  

I have shoes I wear weekly, some only on special occasions, some in specific seasons, some in certain types of weather and some only around the house. I take very good care of my shoes, storing them in their original boxes because I buy shoes I love and I want to keep them for as long as I can.

I have found that finding the right pair of shoes, for the right outfit is not always as easy as it sounds. I usually have the pair in my head before I ever see it in a store. Settling for less than what I have imagined is not easy, and thankfully not something I have to do often. I can usually find what I want if I'm patient. I'm learning that the same is true for starting a new chapter in life.

I think we get it all wrong more often than not. Hearing these words, "You've got big shoes to fill," is a lie at best and much farther from the actual truth than most of us realize. Whoever held the position in which you now sit has walked away, shoes and all. They've left behind only a legacy, whether good or bad, which you must now contend with. The only shoes you can fill are the ones for which you presently own.

In life we have the opportunity on various occasions to make a lasting impression. We have been entrusted with remarkable tools in which to do this. They're called gifts. We are each uniquely created with the fingerprint of God upon our lives in various expressions of His character and nature. I carry His quick wit and humor, His love for people and His heart for His children to walk into their destiny.

That is why, you won't ever hear me say to anyone, "You've got big shoes to fill." The shoes you wear are the ones you need to walk into the things that God has called you to do.

We don't have to walk around clumsily trying to fit into another's shoes, trying on pair after pair only to be constantly presented with the same results. These shoes don't fit! They're not supposed to because they are not yours.

At times our footwear may need to change to accommodate the task at hand, but whether they are running shoes, a classy dress shoe or a casual flat, the shoe still belongs to you because you are the one required to walk in it.

It’s time we stop viewing ourselves in light of another's accomplishments or at times, even their mistakes. We don't have to re-invent the wheel, but if God is calling us to a new place or to inhabit new territory then He is not asking us to fill someone else's shoes. He is simply asking us to walk out His plans and purposes for our lives in this new arena. The shoes you have will be good enough. Most likely, you've been breaking them in for some time without even realizing what lay ahead. It's just that now that they're needed for something different, they don't seem good enough.

Consider this.  No runner would ever buy a new pair of shoes for which to run a marathon. They know that new running shoes would not only hinder their performance during the race, leaving their feet blistered and swollen. A pair of well, broken in running shoes are best for the race ahead. In the same regard, your old broken in shoes, will be good enough for the task before you. The fit is perfect!

Wherever you are and whatever task has been placed before you, is yours and yours alone. It doesn't matter whatever happened before you stood in that place. It is now where you hold authority and for which you are responsible. Whose shoes will you wear? Whoever was before you took theirs with them. That must mean that the ones you have will have to do.  Thankfully, they will!

"Walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess." Deuteronomy 5:33


Monday, June 4, 2012

Stuff

I am sitting here enjoying some Godiva Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate, which I bought while I was out earlier. I think I may well finish off this entire bar before it's all said and done! Read on to see why.

I went to run an errand only to walk into the house and face what is becoming an unwelcome but familiar sight. Tiger had gone through some trash and torn it all to pieces. Last week, it was an unopened package of toilet paper. Today, it was much worse.

Not only that but to my horror, mixed in with the shreds of the trash strewn all over my floor, was a very familiar piece of clothing - my new favorite little black dress. I honestly didn't know how to be at that moment.

When he was a puppy, Tiger had some similar naughty behavior but only once or twice. Here in the past month, it's been three or four times and I can blame only myself.

My schedule has been such that I've been coming home late and some nights not at all, but having friends come to let him out. He's bored and he needs some attention. We all get that way, but when I looked and saw my dress which I had just worn to a wedding the night before all chewed up and beyond repair, I lost it.

I started shouting, "Bad dog! Bad dog," all the while reminding myself out loud, "It's only a dress. It's only a dress." I bet I must've said that seven or eight times before I finally sat down on the edge of my bed and started crying. It may have been only a dress but it was my favorite NEW dress, which I had only worn maybe four times.

At this point, I had already let Tiger outside to think about what he had done. I needed to calm down without being constantly reminded of how cute he is and that he probably had no clue why I was shouting, "Bad dog," at him.  Never the less, I needed for him to be momentarily invisible!

Through the tears, a flood of recent instances came to mind: People that recently either said or did hurtful things to me and/or others, situations that needlessly became blown out of proportion and some things I'd done that were unkind or unthoughtful... It was all just spurred on by unimportant stuff, yet my stuff and other people's stuff caused it all.

We put so much weight on the stuff of this world, and we needlessly carry our own stuff into situations and relationships where it can do harm to others and also to ourselves. Why do we do that? We do it because if we are not transformed by our pain, we transmit it.

I've heard that quote before and then again, just today before Hurricane Tiger blew through. I think the tears came not so much because of the dress disaster, but because I came face to face with how much more I need to be transformed because of those situations the Lord brought to mind.

I can laugh now at my dual perspective during my ordeal: "It's just a dress. Bad dog! Bad dog! It's just a dress," but if we're not careful "our stuff" can become all that matters, and we can lose sight of what's really important. Often, it's our stuff that blocks our vision and keeps us blinded to how we can negatively and sometimes, detrimentally affect others.

I don't want my stuff to get in the way of me loving others through their stuff or even in spite of their stuff. I don't want my stuff to be a hindrance for unity in the Body or to cause discord. I want to be transformed by my stuff, so that when someone else makes my desires, my joys, my loves their trash heap, my response is one that stems not from my brokenness, but instead it brings peace and is shrouded in forgiveness because it comes from a place of healing. I'll get there, hopefully without having to resort to Godiva chocolate bars.