I’m Taking My Shoes Off

I am. I’m taking them off. Because I’m done. I can’t wear them anymore. They hurt too bad. They’re ugly. They’re falling apart. They don’t fit with any of my outfits, even though my outfits are old and out of style.

I can’t wear these shoes any more. Ever.

Have you ever thought that? The shoes you’re wearing just don’t do it any more? You can’t wear them any longer because they don’t make you feel good. In fact, the longer you wear them, the more miserable you become.

Every time and everywhere you wear them, things seem to fall apart.

You wear them to work and your day is awful. You can’t do anything right; your boss tells you he’s transferring you to another department where you won’t mess up as much, and your salary will be reduced.

You wear them at home and your husband ignores you; tells you how terrible you look; and informs you he’s thinking about leaving.

You wear them to your college class and you barely pass the test you’ve studied so hard for. And you only get a “C” on that project you’ve worked so hard on, and in order to keep your financial aid, you needed a higher grade.

You wear them while driving and get in an accident and your finally-paid-off car is totaled. And the insurance money isn’t enough to replace it.

You wear them to visit your children and grandchildren and they act like they don’t want anything to do with you. In fact, your son tells you he’d like you to go on back home because they have other things to do. Without you.

You wear them to your Doctor’s appointment, and he tells you you need an operation which has a six to eight week recovery time. An operation you can’t afford, and a recovery time that’ll leave you without a paycheck for those weeks.

You wear them to a coffee shop and see your husband at a table in the very back. With one of your girl friends. Holding hands. Laughing a bit too intimately. And then he kisses her.

Yes, you are more than done with those shoes!

The bad part is, they’re the only ones you have. And you can’t get any more. You looked in the shoe store, but every pair looked exactly like the ones you already have.

The solution? You’re going to stop wearing any shoes at all. It’s not worth it any more. All those shoes have done is make you miserable. Your life is a mess, and you just can’t deal with it any more.

It has to be the shoes, right? So if you weren’t wearing them, it would be so much better…right? So much easier to just forget everything. Give it all up. Why try any more?

But you have to wear shoes. You can’t go anywhere or do anything without them. So if you give them up, you’re giving up your life.

Do you really want to do that? Do you really?

There’d be no more second chances. No more strolls in the park. No more walks on the beach. No more lunches with friends or afternoons with family. No more days to just listen to the birds singing or feel the sun on your face on a spring day. No more running in the freshly fallen snow and jumping in it to make a snow angel.

Because with no shoes, there’d be no life here. Your shoes take you places. They stay on your feet in good times and bad, supporting you and providing you a safe path to walk or run on. They keep you from cutting your foot when you step on a piece of glass. And they help you walk on through the bad times as well as the good.

Your shoes represent your life. Without them….there is no life. You may not like the ones you’re wearing right now, and you may not be able to take them off safely, but they keep you going until you can get another pair. A pair which will take you new places and in new adventures.

But those new shoes aren’t quite ready yet. Because there are a few more miles to go in those ones you’re still wearing.

If you take them off now and throw them away, there’s no more you. No more life for you. And those beautiful new shoes that are almost ready for you won’t do you any good when you’re gone. You certainly can’t wear them. Because you decided life wasn’t worth living any more.

So you decide to end it. Why? Nothing can be that bad. Nothing can be worth ending your life over. You’ll eventually get a new pair of shoes, and you’ll be amazed at the changes!

Now do you think this is really about real shoes? The ones in your closet?

Then read it again. These shoes aren’t actual shoes, you know…not the kind made of leather and styled to perfection. As I said earlier the shoes represent your life. You aren’t the one who should decide when to take them off. No matter how you feel; no matter how depressed and discouraged you are, nothing…NOTHING…is worth ending your life over.

Because tomorrow is another day. And just maybe tomorrow you’ll get that perfect new pair of shoes. And things will be totally different!

It’s worth the wait to find out.

Need help? Or know someone who does? Visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

 

Stealing Her Shoes Won’t Make You Her

Jealousy and envy are powerful emotions. Emotions that can consume you piece by piece until the person you used to be is buried so deep inside you, you can’t find her any more.

Because you desperately want to be someone else. A particular someone. Someone you admire so much that you’re not merely content to model your life after her…you want to be her. Or him, as the case may be.

You want so badly to be that other person, you’ll do almost anything to become them. Not to become like them…but to become them.

Jealousy is not admiration. It’s being resentful of someone because of something they have, or you think they have, and you want it! And it makes you angry that you don’t have it.

So you decide to steal her shoes. If you have them, you can wear them, and you’ll be able to be her. Yes, I said stealing. Borrowing them won’t work, because you’d eventually have to give them back, and then you’d turn into the same person you are now, and that’s not who you want to be at all.

Are you sure?

Do you really, really want to wear her shoes? Because you have no idea what she’s gone through, what she’s endured, what she’s done while wearing those shoes. You may think they’re beautiful, and perfect. They look so good on her, you know they’ll look good on you, in fact, they’ll probably look a lot better on you than they do on her.

They’ll look better on you because you deserve them more. You’ll appreciate them more. You’ll take better care of them. You’ll be much happier once they’re yours.

Do you really want those shoes? Do you know they didn’t always look like they do now? They didn’t always fit her like they do now. Those shoes were once filled with dark moments, emotional turmoil, violence, unhappy relationships, financial disaster. Those shoes were ugly. Ill fitting. They hurt a lot. She hated them, but had no choice but to wear them, because they were all she had.

But hard work, lifestyle changes, a determined spirit, and the discovery of her faith transformed those shoes from ones you’d never even consider looking at twice, let alone putting on your feet and wearing, to those ones you want so badly right now you’re willing to steal them.

Do you think stealing those shoes will make you her? It doesn’t work that way. Because they’re one of a kind. Because for those shoes to make you like her, you have to wear them just like they were when she first wore them.

You have to wear them through all the bad things in order for them to look like they do now. Because these shoes are special. Wearing them while walking through great difficulties and surviving the storms of life makes them the beautiful, one of a kind pair of shoes you see today.

Are you really jealous enough to want to steal those shoes? Because if you do, and you put them on, they won’t start out looking like they do now. They’ll turn into the shoes they were when she started wearing them. And you’ll have to wear them through your own storms in order to get them looking beautiful again.

And it won’t be that easy. At all. You won’t like going through what she went through to get where she is now. All you see is the “after” and not the “before”. They won’t make you her, no matter how hard you try.

Instead of trying to steal someone else’s shoes, why not concentrate on the ones you’re wearing? You can make those look beautiful, just like she did, but they will never look exactly like hers. And do you really want to be wearing the same exact shoes as someone else? Because you’ll have to lose your own self, your own dreams, everything that makes you uniquely you, and you’ll still not be happy.

Do you want to start completely over, walking through someone else’s hard times, which you’ll discover were far worse than yours? Or do you want to continue persevering with your own dreams and goals, realizing that being someone else, stealing someone else’s shoes so you can walk in them, isn’t the answer.

Jealousy and envy are difficult emotions to control. If unchecked, they turn into hate. Which destroys. It destroys your dreams and your relationships; your very life.

All because you wanted someone else’s shoes instead of your own.

Think about it before you try to steal them.

The result won’t be what you thought it would be.

I Changed My Shoes!

My shoes are brand new. They’re beautiful. I’ve never worn any like them before. They’re a totally different style. They make me taller. They have a lot of bold colors in them. No one’s ever seen me in anything like them before.

They’re taking some getting used to, though. They don’t hurt. They don’t pinch. They just feel, well, different. Everyone’s looking at me differently in them, too, because they’ve never seen me wearing anything like then before. Not ever. Not even when I was a little girl.

I never thought I deserved shoes like this. I thought if I had them everyone would make fun of me, or tell me they didn’t look right on me; that they’re not my style. And then they’d try to take them away from me because they didn’t want me to have something they didn’t have.

I didn’t even have to buy them. Someone gave them to me. That someone had been trying to give those shoes to me for a long time. “Just try them on. You’ll love them! I promise you will!” But they didn’t look like I’d like them, so I said, “No, I don’t think I could wear those. They just aren’t me.”

That someone tried again. And again. Each time I kept looking at those shoes and found myself wishing I could have them. But I was too scared to even try them on. Because I might like them a bit too much, and I just knew I couldn’t wear them.

I was afraid of what people would say if I suddenly started wearing them. But then I thought, maybe I could try them for just a little while. See how they feel. Maybe just wear them around the house, and if I did like them, I’d wear them out in public. Around other people.

And if I didn’t like them, I could always take them back, right? I mean, after all, when you buy something in a store and it doesn’t work out for you, you can return it.

Except these shoes we’re going to be a gift, and I couldn’t return them. That would hurt the giver’s feelings. No, once I agreed to take the shoes they were mine. Forever. And I would have to wear them. So I kept putting off accepting my friend’s gift.

Until one day I look down at my old shoes. And I saw how battered and worn-out they really were. They were scuffed and they needed polishing. But even shoe polish wouldn’t help those old shoes. They were worn out. And tired. They were out of style, out of date. And I really didn’t have anything to wear them with anymore.

Suddenly, I wanted those new shoes. Not only did I want them, I NEEDED them. Desperately. I couldn’t wear these one more day. I just couldn’t. I also realized they’d been hurting my feet, but they’d been hurting so long I’d gotten used to the pain and didn’t even realize how bad they hurt my feet anymore.

Yes, it was time for a change. But was I ready? I thought so, but I was nervous.
What if….?

I called my friend. And I said, “I’m ready for those shoes. I need a new pair. And I’m ready to start wearing them. Can you bring them to me now? ”

hand-05I could almost hear my friend smiling over the phone. And suddenly my friend appeared. With those new shoes in hand. “Here they are. Made just for you. See, your name is even written inside. But once you put them on, you can’t return them. Remember?” My friend smiled at me, and I looked longingly at the shoes my friend was holding. Shoes handmade just for me, even with my name written in them.

They were beautiful. Bright, bold colors, yet not overbearing. Soft leather, like rich warm butter. Yet with a firmness I knew would stand up over time, no matter what the weather was. No matter how much or how long I wore them. And the colors would go with any outfit.

“Are you ready for them?” My friend asked.

“Yes, I said softly. I think I am.” And I reached out my hands to take them.

“One thing first, though,” my friend said. “There’s a small price attached.”

“I knew it,” I said sadly. “You said they were free, but I knew it was too good to be true…” So I turned and started to walk away, more dejected than ever.

“Wait,” said my friend. “You don’t have your shoes yet. I made them just for you, remember, and if you don’t take them, my feelings are going to be hurt. ”

“But you said they were free. You said they wouldn’t cost me anything. Now you’re telling me there’s a price. And I have no money to buy them”

“You didn’t ask me what the price was.”

“Whatever they cost, I can’t afford it.”

“Oh, but you can, “said my friend. “It won’t be a problem at all for you. You see, the only cost for these new shoes is that you give me your old ones. Because you won’t be wearing them again. I have to throw them away so no one else will try to wear them.”

Give up my old shoes? I could never wear them again? Did I want to really take that chance? What if I wanted to go back to the old ones because the new ones didn’t work?

But those new ones were so beautiful, so tempting. And I needed them desperately….that I knew.

So I sat down. And I slowly removed those old shoes. I looked at them and realized that giving them to my friend in exchange for the new ones was the best thing I could do. Slowly I put them in those outstretched hands, as the new ones were gently slipped on my feet.

And what a difference! I suddenly felt better than I ever had in my life! I felt like a new person. Someone who could go out and conquer the world. Well, not maybe the world, not quite yet, but I could certainly make changes in my life.

And I am making those changes. It’s amazing what these new pair of shoes has done.

Are you ready for a new pair of shoes in your life? I know it’s scary sometimes, but taking such a gift from someone who only wants your sorrow and sadness in return for giving you a new outlook on life is an amazing feeling.

Try it. And tell me what those new shoes have done for you!

Note: If you haven’t read the other two posts in this series, please go to What Kind of Shoes Are You Walking In? and You Need to Borrow My Shoes.

If the Shoe Fits

If the shoe fits, then wear it.

We’ve all heard that expression a thousand times at least. Probably used it a thousand times as well. And lately I’ve found myself using it a lot more than I really should.

You see, the expression is normally used when someone thinks they’re being referred to in a negative way by someone else. And of course they want to know if “you’re certainly not referring to me, are you?”

If the shoe fits, maybe you’re already wearing it. Maybe you’re feeling a bit guilty, because you’ve been caught doing or saying something you know you shouldn’t do or say.

Maybe if that shoe fits a little too well, then maybe you need to look at that shoe and see what it adds to the outfit you’re wearing.

Green-ShoesIs it a green shoe, perhaps, that causes you to look at other people and decide they have everything you want, everything you think you should have? You’re so jealous of them, and that green shoe of envy makes you continually put them down, talk bad about them. Why? Because in all honesty, you want to wear their shiny leather shoes that seem to take them places that you think you should be going instead of them. But they won’t let you share.

you-you-shoes1Is it a red shoe that suddenly causes you to be angry at everyone? Like the person who was wearing it before you tried it on. You didn’t even know how angry they were, let alone why. Maybe you’re already getting angry at someone seemingly for no reason, and you really don’t know how to explain it. But you know how you feel and if anyone gets in your way, watch out! Hidden anger that’s suppressed for a long time can reveal itself in dangerous and sometimes almost deadly ways. Is that a shoe you want to keep wearing?

Yellow-ShoesMaybe it’s a yellow shoe. And as soon as you put it on you felt the fear and intimidation and insecurity immediately. You never knew all those feelings were there. When your friend was wearing them, she seemed so in control of her life. Nothing could get the best of her; everything she did seemed to work out perfectly. But wearing her shoes, it’s a different feeling entirely. And it’s very uncomfortable in those shoes.

blue shoesMaybe it’s a blue shoe. Your favorite color, and you always envied your friend having those pretty blue shoes. But now that you’ve tried them on, you don’t feel so great. Suddenly the world around you is a very lonely place. No matter how hard you try to smile and be cheerful on the outside, you’re really wishing on the inside you could find just one person to help make everything all better.

purple shoeThe last ones you wanted to try are purple. Rich, deep purple. You’ve always wanted those shoes because you know if you wear those, you’ll never have to want for anything again. But putting them on suddenly changed all that. Sure, you knew you had everything money could buy, but everyone around you wanted some of it; not you….what you had. And what you could give them, without getting anything in return. It was your possessions they cared about. And in order to keep the people around you happy, you feel like you have to continue acquiring possessions so you won’t run out. And those people won’t run out on you. Those shoes really make you unhappy now.

Do some of these shoes fit a little too well? Or maybe now that you’ve tried them on, you’ve realized you really didn’t like them as much as you thought you would. Maybe your own shoes aren’t that bad.

Maybe your friend wants to try on your shoes, for the very same reasons you wanted to wear theirs.

Remember, Cinderella’s glass slipper only fit her. It was created and made just for her. Nobody else could wear it.
Cinderella Shoe
And you don’t want to wear anyone else’s shoes but your own.

You Need to Borrow My Shoes

….just for a day. Seriously, you need to.

A few months ago I wrote on this topic. “What Kind of Shoes Are You Walking In?” And now it’s time to expand on it. Because that particular blog was merely talking about the uncomfortable shoes I was wearing for a short time.

But what about the uncomfortable shoes our friends are being forced to wear? Shoes they didn’t select for themselves, but are being forced to wear because they have no others. It’s not that they want to continue to wear them; they have no means to buy a new pair. They’ve window shopped a lot, looking and dreaming about having a new pair of shoes that aren’t falling apart; that aren’t too tight or rubbing blisters on their heels.

Sometimes they go in the store and actually try on a pair of new shoes. They feel so good because they fit properly. They’re comfortable and although they’re not too fashionable, they’re attractive and not falling apart. They walk around in them for a few minutes, and remember the days they could go in a store and buy a new pair. And wonder how in the world they could ever buy them now; if there’s enough change in their pocket to pay for them.

Then the salesperson comes over and says, “Take those off! They’re not to be tried on, and they’re not for sale! At least they’re not for sale to you! You don’t deserve shoes like that anymore!”

So they take the shoes off carefully, so as not to damage them, hand them to the salesperson, and sadly walk out of the store, embarrassed, head down so no one will recognize them. While the salesperson looks around and sees someone else looking for shoes and offers that same pair to them. “You look like you could use a new pair of shoes today. Try these on. They’re even on sale.”

Unless you’ve walked in someone else’s shoes, gone through their experiences, you have no idea what trials they’ve gone through. And unless you know the whole story, you have no right to criticize them. You have no idea how you would react, what you would do, in their particular circumstances. Because most likely you’ve never been there. And wouldn’t want to be.

We have a friend going thru a very nasty divorce; whose husband left her unexpectedly with masses of unpaid bills; a mortgage over a year in arrears; a vehicle with six months of past due payments; and a hidden life she’s still discovering. A stay at home mom all of her married life, she had no choice but to put what furniture and household items she could into storage and move back home with her elderly father.

Since that time she has had people tell her she’s worthless; that everything was her fault (which it was not); that she should go to a woman’s shelter and get her life together and not disturb her family; that she’ll never be able to support herself because she has no skills, etc.

Talk about kicking someone when they’re at their lowest …some of those people desperately need to wear her shoes for an hour or two and see what they feel like.

All too often we make assumptions about others based only on what we see outwardly. Most times those who are going through the hardest times are the ones who never let on about their needs. Instead of saying they can’t afford to go somewhere, they make excuses that they have other plans. Or say they’ve just finished dinner when you invite them out on the spur of the moment. They don’t tell you about the lonely evenings, the job rejection letters or the one meager meal they can scrape together each day. Because it’s embarrassing. And they’ve been judged too many times by well-meaning individuals who say they just want to “help”. And many times the “help” does nothing to help the situation. Bad advice is bad advice even if it’s given in “love”.

The next time someone trusts you enough to open their life and their heart to you, listen before you judge, and think before you speak. Do you know what shoes they’re walking in right now? And if you really and truly do know, is the advice something you’d want to hear? And is it something that you yourself would do if you were in that situation? And before you answer that question, think about all the ramifications if you DID take that advice. Because you may change your mind.

One more word of advice. Open your own closet and look at your shoes. Are they all comfortable, or do some of them pinch your feet? Do some of them blister your heels? Are they old and in need of discarding? Are there a few pairs in there you may need to wear again for a little while to remember just how they felt?

Then go to your friend’s closet and try hers on. And see how they feel.

What Kind of Shoes Are You Walking In?

You’ve heard it said many times that unless someone has walked in your shoes, they can’t know how you feel. Those shoes fit differently on everyone, and we all walk through our lives in different shoes. As a young child we walk and run around in comfortable shoes, shoes that aren’t meant to last forever. As we grow we’re always getting new shoes to replace the ones we’ve outgrown.

When we’re grown, we end up wearing lots of shoes, in different styles and colors. We have different pairs for different lifestyles. The ones for the workplace are different than the ones for home. The ones for work are stiffer, and more confining, but look really good on us, because we have to look good for our co-workers. They don’t usually hurt our feet; we wouldn’t be able to wear them too long if they did. We have a few pairs for dressier occasions, and they always seem to hurt. We don’t wear them much because of it. Then we have other pairs of shoes for casual wear. They’re comfortable, and while they may not always be stylish, they feel good, and make us feel good.
Red shoes

Most new shoes hurt your feet in some way for a little while. Some are even so uncomfortable you want to rip them off and throw them away. These are the shoes you find yourself wearing when your loved one dies. You have no other choice but to wear them, because they’re the only ones you have at that time. They aren’t necessarily pretty. They hurt not only your feet, but your spirit. They pinch and rub your heels and squish your toes until they’re numb. Gradually they start to stretch out a bit and don’t seem to hurt quite as bad, because you don’t notice any more.

When I was wearing those shoes, I actually started getting used to the pain. I thought all new shoes were supposed to feel like that. Then I noticed I wasn’t walking as well when I wore them. I couldn’t walk as fast as I used to because the shoes were too heavy. My steps were tentative instead of strong; the shoes were holding me back. I couldn’t go where I needed to go.

One day the Lord took those shoes off my feet. He washed my poor tired and aching feet and replaced those ugly, painful shoes with beautiful new ones which were as comfortable as an old pair of squishy slippers. And I was able to walk better. Not immediately, because my feet still hurt, but without those ill-fitting shoes on, my feet were finally able to breathe and relax, and start to take me where I needed to go.z-bare_feet_in_grass

As with those uncomfortable, ill-fitting shoes, once they’re removed, walking and everyday living gets easier. It’s the same with grief. At first we can’t imagine ever feeling happy again. Ever feeling like smiling again. Ever feeling a world without sadness. We can’t imagine not missing our loved one every minute.

Then one day we actually go several hours without grieving. The next day it goes a bit longer, and so on. We begin to feel guilty because we feel that way. Aren’t we supposed to be sad? NO! We go on because our joy is in the Lord. Our loved one is there with Him. We should rejoice, and also know one day…..one day….we will be there as well!

“Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) It may seem to be a really long night, in really uncomfortable shoes, but you do get there, and the shoes you find yourself wearing on that morning are some of the most comfortable you’ve ever had.