What kind of shoe are you?

Okay, you can say it.  This girl is weird.

Who on earth would want to be a shoe?

Actually, this post is about putting our purpose into shoe leather.  So those of you who read the title and immediately started picturing what cute kind of shoe you’d like to be, focus.  I’m talking serious big-kid stuff here.

I was considering that age-old question the other day: What is my purpose?

Answers to this abound, many of them lies.  I won’t go into most of those.  Most of them completely miss the point, or are simplistic, like the Sunday School answer – to do good.  Or the spiritualistic answer – to glorify God.  If you give these answers to a true seeker, however, he’ll be disappointed.  And so am I.  These answers lack direction.  I want to know what good to do, how to glorify my God.

So, I had to dig deeper and ask what does glorifying God look like in shoe leather?  How on earth do we get that rubber to meet the road?  Can we draw a blueprint or a road map for how to get to that position?

Here are the answers I’ve been working on.

Unfortunately, I can’t give you an exact blueprint.  Because every person is different, because He made us each with different talents, every person will glorify Him differently.  Because every person will glorify Him differently, there is and can be no detailed blueprint for us to follow as we build the houses (temples – 1 Cor. 3:16) He delights to dwell in.

Instead, He has given us The Way.

In following the footsteps of Jesus, who is the Way (the Truth, and the Life), and the leading of the Spirit, we find our path lit by His Word, and we are blessed in glorifying our Father.  Yeah, I know, I’m still not being concrete.  Let me tell you, being concrete is pretty easy for me to do in reality, but not an easy thing for me to describe in words (Sister is the writer, remember!).  But let me keep trying, and we’ll see if by the end of the discussion I can’t give you something concrete to work with.  (Granted, I don’t know who would want to wear concrete shoes, but . . . )

Okay, let’s try the shoe on for size.  Suppose we are like the leather in a shoe (or boot, if you like).  We start out as limp, helpless leather, unable to fathom how on earth we’re going to get in the right shape.  God, as the master cobbler, cuts out the 2D shape that he wants (and that can be a painful process as He gets rid of baggage that we don’t need which would only mar the shoe in the end).   Then He uses His tools to shape us, and to sew all the pieces in the right positions to create a beautiful shoe.

Don’t you love it when a project comes together?  And when we start putting the pieces together that make up the different parts of our lives, realizing that we can’t compartmentalize Jesus because He belongs in all parts, I think God is pleased in seeing His “project” come together.

Still want to know what it will look like?  Well, since He doesn’t ever make two identical shoes (although He does make them in pairs sometimes), we won’t know until He finishes with us what we’re going to look like.  Still, we have many saints/shoes to look to for ideas on the kinds of shoes He has made before.

I’m probably not getting any warmer in my search for a concrete image for you.  But there seems to be a reason for that.  As I see it, the key concept to this process is Faith.  Everything keeps coming back to faith in Jesus.  And since faith is an abstract kind of concept, we should not be surprised that the concrete is difficult to come by.

We must believe that although we do not know our shoe type, He does, and we know He can turn out a good shoe.  Of course, we also have to stay out of his way.  Our part is to listen while He works in us.  At some point, somewhere along The Way, we will probably become aware of the kind of shoe we are becoming.  But probably not until we have learned lessons about not rushing ahead when we aren’t ready yet.  You know how ready we are to jump to conclusions when we think we know how a story is going to end, so I’m not surprised that God doesn’t show us more than a few steps of the path lest we be tempted to take shortcuts.  Imagine trying to walk in a shoe that hadn’t been stitched together yet!  Or trying to run in one that didn’t have any laces yet!  We run into problems when we impatiently push forward instead of waiting till He leads us in The Way.

When we look to Him in faith and hope, I think that’s when He can show us what is next.  Not that He is unable to show us before that, but more that we are too distracted to see it.  I think sometimes we get too focused on where we are, instead of looking at Him and who He is.  If we look to Him, and do the next thing He hands us to do, then we won’t have to worry about our futures, and we won’t get bogged down in figuring out where we are going.

Maybe you’re one of those who’d like to have a long-range goal to work toward.  Sometimes God will give us a dream that we can work for, but other times we have to work a little harder.  If you don’t have a dream, you can always ask Him for one, but then try looking at the little things He has given you to do lately, and see if there isn’t a pattern.  Do you like to share His story?  Do you enjoy spending time with little ones?  Maybe you’re a writer and He has used you to brighten people’s day with a poem.  Perhaps He has given you a green thumb and you can bless people with the flowers He made.  I don’t think you’ll have a hard time once you start looking for the vision He has for your life in Him.

Like I said, I’m better at living this concept than writing about it, although I sometimes have trouble with that aspect as well.  I am one to whom He gave a dream very early on, but who has sometimes struggled to see the next step along The Way.  But our God is faithful; He knew all along just where the next step was in my climb.  And He knows yours too.

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One Comment on “What kind of shoe are you?”


  1. […] my attempts to put life in shoe leather recently, I find that Rachel Starr Thompson has done a better job with […]


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