Someone Else’s Shoes

A few months ago, I bought these awesome shoes at the thrift store. Half boot, half open-toed sandal, they were cooler than any shoes I had seen in a long time. I just had to have them, and the store owner was more than happy that they fit me and that I enjoyed them that much. But for how awesome the shoes were, it took me almost two months to get up the courage to wear them.
The heels were terribly high and the fit was quite snug. Once I crammed my feet into those shoes, they were not coming off! Every time I picked out an outfit for church or a night out with friends, I’d pick up the shoes, glance at them, and then pass them up. It never seemed like the right time or place to wear them.
Finally, the night before my birthday, I stood in the closet, faced with the dilemma of the century— okay, the deciding-what-shoes-to-wear dilemma of the century. But anyway, I was bound and determined to look the best on my birthday. I had friends coming from out of town and I would be leading worship. I already knew I wanted to wear my pink, black and white dress, but what shoes would complement the dress best? That’s when I gasped and reached down to retrieve the perfect shoes. It was time to wear them! This was the day I’d been waiting for!
But I chickened out almost as quickly as the decision was made. There was no way I could play piano and press the pedals in those shoes, not to mention coming up and down the stage without risking considerable injury! No, I decided, I couldn’t wear the shoes. I was disappointed because I so wanted to put on a confident and polished picture of myself for my birthday Sunday. I wanted to make a good impression. As if shoes could make all that happen, right…? Not hardly.
Although incredible, those shoes were not me, and I knew it. They were pretty, but very clearly they were someone else’s shoes and I wasn’t meant to walk in them. Sure, I could try to find a way to scrunch my toes in them, but I would never be truly comfortable.
It’s exactly the same thing when we as people try to pretend we’re someone else or put on a fake façade in order to impress someone. My pastor has been preaching recently about how we as people have been created on purpose for a purpose. It has become clear to me that I have been created for something specific, something that fits a unique niche that someone else could never fill completely.
I think of the people that I work with on a daily basis too. I would never dream of being able to do the things that our secretary accomplishes in the office or face the challenges that come with pastoral ministry. I marvel at our guitarist’s skill on the worship team and the sweet and hospitable spirit of the woman I affectionately call my “mama.” Each person in my life has their unique calling and purpose. I can’t fathom even trying to fill their shoes, let alone walk around in them.
As I played that morning in my standard, pump-style heels (they were at least fun and pink), I thought about how much easier it was to just fill my task for the day. It was my birthday, and I felt I was born to share my gift of music to lead His people in worship. Later that day, as we sat around to watch the Packer game, we talked briefly about my calling and it remained crystal clear. I was a worship leader, but more importantly, a child of the King. I will proudly choose to wear the proverbial shoes He has set out for me and try not to don someone else’s shoes, no matter cool they may be.
Maybe some day, I’ll gather up the courage to reach into the closet and pull out those shoes from the thrift store. But it will be after much thought and deliberation. I have to be sensible if I’m going to take a leap into unchartered territory! I’ll seek to do the same if God should call me into a new venture. I want to be ready, through prayer and petition, to take off running whenever He calls me out.

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