I don’t know about you, but I love shoes and I have a lot of them. I was walking through the mall not too long ago and a beautiful woman who had obvious fashion sense walked past me wearing a pair of peek- toe wedges. That’s it! It was love at first sight.
A few weeks later on a Sunday afternoon, I walked into a shoe store, fulfilling a promise to my boys to take them shoe shopping. As they looked in the boys section, I walked over to the women’s section to see what I could find for myself, and the picture of those black wedges popped into my mind. This must be Jesus telling me I need these shoes. I mean, I wasn’t even thinking about them so this must be a divine revelation right here in Famous Footwear.
As I weaved in and out of each aisle, I spotted those beautiful babies on the very bottom shelf. It was like the whole store went completely black, the shelf became a stage, and the spotlight positioned itself on the star of the show … the cute black wedges.
I quickly found my size, snatched them up and paid for all of our shoes. I was so excited! I hope these shoes look as cute on me as the beautiful Fashionista in the mall.
A few days later, I had to go to work and I decided to wear those cute black wedges. I put them on and they looked amazing. I could look at myself all day with these beauties on. They made my feet look smaller and my legs look shapely. I almost looked as cute as the mall Fashionista.
I left my house around 7:30 in the morning and by 8:30 the shoes started to feel a little tight around my toes. This is weird. They didn’t feel like this in the store. I ignored the tightness until about 9:15 when the squeezing in my toes turned into pain that felt like they were being crushed in a wood shop vice. Holy cow!!!! This is not going to work!
I’m a teacher and 11:15 is our first recess. As soon as the kids were out of class, I couldn’t get those annoying black wedges off my feet fast enough. I looked down at those deceitful things called shoes, and I was done! My students will have to see me walk around barefoot all day because I cannot bear the pain any longer. I’m all about looking cute, but I’m not into torture.
Have you ever looked at someone else and wished you had the best parts of them? I have. I’m tall and wished I was petite. I can’t sing well at all, and have daydreamed about being on The Voice. I wanted straight hair, more letters behind my name, and have contemplated speaking in a British accent because let’s face it .. it just sounds so cool! But I’ve learned that none of those things are me. They’re just not my style.
In 1 Samuel 17, we read about a boy named David who is forced to take on the style of King Saul. There’s a giant named Goliath that has been taunting the Israelite armies for forty days and the king is desperate. As soon as this scrawny little boy chimed in and volunteered to fight Goliath, Saul was so hopeless, he agreed to let him do it.
And this is the part I want you to take notice of … Saul looks down at David, sees how small he is, assesses his clothing and gear, and he tells David what he has to offer is not good enough. He makes David put his armor on. That’s the right thing to do, right? That’s what all the mighty men are wearing these days.
Do you know why my shoes killed my feet when I wore them to work? I never tested them before I wore them. They looked great on someone else, but did they work for me? I didn’t have an opportunity to break them in. They kept me from being able to walk around my classroom and eventually I couldn’t even move in them.
1 Samuel 17:39 says, “David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk in Saul’s armor but he could not, for he had not tested them.” This is the part that stood out to me more than anything. David could not walk in Saul’s armor because he had not tested it. Do you now what to test means? It means, “to establish the quality, performance, or reliability of something, especially before it is taken into widespread use.”
God gave David his own call, his own talents, and his own way of doing things. David didn’t need to do it Saul’s way, and if he would have tried he would have gotten himself killed. That armor was made specifically for Saul and his build. When we try to adopt someone’s way we have to test it to see if it works for us. What do I mean by that? We’ve all received a call and gifts from God. But why do we want someone else’s? Why do we try to make what they do, what they say, what they wear, fit?
If singing isn’t your thing, something else is. Do it. If speaking isn’t your thing, something else is. Do it. If reading your bible at 5:00am doesn’t work for you, do it at a time that does. My way doesn’t have to be your way, and just because someone else looks successful doing it doesn’t mean we will be. Be you. Love who you are and do your thing.
God has written the plans on all of our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). He has given each of us talents, gifts and abilities that we should be using for Him … but with our personalities stamped on it. Don’t try and be like someone else.
Last week, I mentioned image being important to us, and it is. We care what people think of us. But the only image we should be trying to emulate is the image of God because that’s whose image we were created in (Genesis 1:27). I have tried to be like others, look like others, and have longed for the call God placed on their life to be what He placed on mine. I was too busy trying to be like them that I lost who I was. Take it from me, and don’t do that.
A couple of moths ago, I did something I wanted to do for a log time but never had the nerve. I got a nose piercing. I was so worried about what the “church” people would think of me. I’m a minister in the church, a school teacher, and image is important. I wasn’t trying to be rebellious or look like some stereotype that may be coming to your mind right now. I just wanted a cute nose piercing. So, with nerves racking, thoughts of, “What will they think of me now?”, and your typical fear of pain, I went for it. I love it!
Listen, this is what I know about God: He looks at the heart of man and not the appearance. He doesn’t look for perfection or the lack thereof, and He is the one who makes the final decision.
David, who became king of Israel, started as a shepherd boy in a field with a bunch of stinky sheep. God sent a prophet to David’s home to anoint the next king of Israel and all of David’s brothers came and stood before Samuel. They all left David in the field because they probably thought he didn’t have what it takes to be king.
One of David’s brothers was tall and handsome and Samuel said, “Look at this one! He’s a stud! For sure, God has chosen this one as the next king.” God rebuked Samuel and said, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks (judges) at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). I’m so glad God doesn’t reject us because of nose piercings, our height, or anything else the world views as successful.
As we leave each other today, I want to remind you of Psalm 139: 14. It says, “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” We are made perfectly because we were made in His image. We don’t have to be like anyone else, but Him. And when He looks down from His throne and He sees us, He looks beyond the physical appearance: the hair, the shoes, the talents, and He equips us to walk the paths He has written on our lives. That’s something that can be tested and will come out faithful. I only suggest we do it in the right pair of shoes, and yes, they can be cute too!