In April 2013, I set out to create new habits and disciplines in favor of my health. I joined a gym and soon learned that the old shoes I was wearing were ill-fitting for that time. They were no longer effective in giving my feet proper support and were therefore very limiting in what I was capable of doing with exercise. After meeting with a trainer, I learned that in order for my feet to be properly supported, I needed to buy running shoes that created a more prominent arch in my feet. He warned me that they would feel foreign at first and take some time to get used to. He encouraged that with the more steps I took in them, my feet would become more comfortable, my steps would become more stable, and my workouts would be more effective. I decided to heed his wisdom and go to a local running shop to be properly fit for shoes.
The clerk assessed my gait and found three styles that she thought would be best for me. I tried each one on, walking a few paces to the door and back and getting a feel for each one. She encouraged me towards the first pair, explaining that they were her top choice and she thought they would be best for me. They were nice and I liked the style, but I was hesitant so I reached for the second pair. As I laced them up and tried them out there was a new confidence in my steps. The new arch felt so foreign and my steps felt unusual to me, but right. The bright blue and pink material could have easily been enough for me to reach for the more stylish and subdued pair that she had first guided me toward, but I knew that this pair fit properly and that the look didn’t matter if they were going to be most effective in helping me to accomplish what I had set out to do. Despite her advise to choose the first pair, I opted for the pair that I knew fit best. I placed them in their box and took them to the register, swallowing hard at the price tag but excited at the investment I was making into getting healthy.
When I first got home with the shoes and put them on for a walk, they felt awkward. They weren’t painful, but the foreign feeling was uncomfortable to me and would take some getting used to. Despite this, my steps felt more sure and I felt increasingly secure with each step I took. My knees were properly aligned, my posture was improved, and I found myself less achy after my workouts. As the weeks went on and I pushed through the awkwardness, I realized that they began to feel natural to me. I no longer cared what they looked like because they were helping me to persevere through a challenging physical time (the early stages of my herniated disc, a storm that I had no idea was on its way to shake up my world).
This story is a wonderful example to me of the work that God is doing in me now. For much of 2014, He was pruning me for this time. He removed lots of distractions and hindrances, breaking down walls and grabbing hold of my weary heart. I recently ‘woke up’ to all that He is doing right now. There is a new level of focus and motivation within me to get in the Word, be fervent in prayer, ask the tough questions, rid my life of anything poisonous to my spiritual walk, and to grow. Friends, this process feels a lot like those shoes did when I first put them on. My steps are awkward and unsure and they feel foreign to me, but they also feel right and fulfilling at the same time. The world has a lot to say about how we should live and how we should approach God. I’m really grateful that He is guiding me from within my heart on how to approach this journey, which ‘running shoes’ to wear and He is strengthening my steps. My heart is so full in the best ways and I pray that this will continue, independent of any unfavorable circumstances and conditions that are sure to arise as I continue to walk. I’m really encouraged by this example of His faithfulness and I hope you are, too.