Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Barefoot - No Shoes Required

If you have never walked barefoot you don't know what you are missing! When I first met my husband, he never walked anywhere without shoes on of some sort...his reasoning, his feet were soft and it hurt to walk on the ground. Since then, some 20+ years ago, I catch him walking around outside quite often without shoes. Then, on the other spectrum, we have a friend we call the 'barefoot carpenter' - I think the nickname explains it all. Me, I have lived barefoot, especially growing up in Northern Michigan, once spring hit the shoes were gon. Since I've lived in North Carolina, I love to go to the beach and walk barefoot all over the place, and recently I have been walking down my drive way barefoot-mostly in an attempt to get a natural pedicure, but finding that it helped my back from sitting all day in an office chair. But, like most

things, walking barefoot is not something that is easy to do and generally I don't have the ability to be ' barefoot' all day in our day to day life. So like most things, my feet become tender, and when I walk barefoot, I cringe, wince, and tiptoe to where I'm going. I'm sure you are the same way, tender footed when you first take your shoes off in the spring.

Sometime ago, I started taking my shoes off when I was in church. Standing in place during worship one day, probably about a year ago, I took my shoes off and slid them under the chair in front of me. Standing barefoot on the carpeted concrete floor, I remembered that every time Kaleb played music in band or stood in the worship center, he stood barefoot, and I smiled. Since that day, when I go to church, I take my shoes off and stand barefoot, of course its not a big deal because the floor is carpeted and clean and soft so there's little wincing, a easy place to be barefoot - or not. This week, for the first time in more than 6 months, I attended church, without delay when I sat down beside Jennifer, I took my shoes off-and my toes rolled up underneath my feet..almost a wince. I didn't realize I did this until, in the middle of the message, the title of this blog came to my mind. This is not the first time that I've had this title reach my thoughts but this time I realized that I had stood with my feet curled up as though they were tender and I thought 'why would I do that?' And as quick as the thought crossed my mind it disappeared...until we were listening to a song as part of the message and I realized that my feet were tender because I was starting to walk on them again in a place that I have purposely avoided, a place that I chose not to walk, and like in the spring on the not yet soft ground, my feet were tender. This is going to be a stretch of an analogy to reach...but here it goes. My feet are not to unlike my life, I have worn shoes all winter because of the cold and to avoid hurt to my feet, I've protected them..I've done the same to my life, both spiritual and personal, I've put up walls, barriers, put "shoes" on, to protect myself. And like my feet, my spiritual life and personal life has become tender to issues, tender when I am 'forced' or 'expected' to address and "walk" somewhere without protection, and I wince. I was asked to do that this week, just walk into something that I have avoided and protected my heart and life from, and I winced.

2 Cor 12: 7-10 "....there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the lord to take it away from me. But he said to me "My grace is enough, it is all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness"."

I have asked countless times for God to work for me and take the things in my life that are thorns in my life away, that I couldn't take the pressure, the stress, the heartache, on any longer......and it is at tho nothing is happening; now in all fairness, I am not giving to God any part of my life through these issues. So I probably shouldn't 'get' any relief or rest from Him. I am far from Paul who was doing exactly what he was suppose to be doing and still received a thorn in his side, so my expectations shouldn't be so high. But, I still got the same answer from God as Paul. Mine didn't come as clearly, wasn't words that just came from above and said this is the deal, but they were the same words. I am beginning, or attempting once again to start a journey, and I really truly don't want to go because I am going barefoot, and He said to me "you need nothing on your feet on this journey, all you need is Me"...My grace is enough. This journey that I am not ready for but greatly missing in my life, is not easy will not be easy and is a journey I am avoiding purposely. Now that I know that I have to go openly into it, unguarded and unready, barefoot, I am hesitant. Afraid of the wincing that I will experience, the tenderness of my soul to go in the directly of the hard ground that is in front of me.  My grace is enough.......