The question was light-yet poignant. Our speaker, a dear mentor and friend, asked this question as she held up an adorable pair of cow house shoes. She went on to explain that the night before she put them on for the first time. One slipper felt great…but the other, huh. She couldn’t comfortably get her foot in the right slipper. That’s when she reached into the slipper and pulled out that annoying cardboard insert-the one that helps the shoe keep its form.
When she asked the question, it was thought-provoking for me. What was stuck in my shoe? I wasn’t sure, but I knew it was worth putting in the hard work to explore.
We were at a leadership retreat, and things had taken an unexpected turn the morning the retreat began. We were on our way to pick up our guest speaker when the dreaded call came. She wasn’t coming. We had eight hours before we were scheduled for our first session. Ever need a plan B? Thankfully–we had one.
In plan B, I would teach the second session, “From Disappointment to Hope”. While you might think it was an opportunity to panic, you’ll be thrilled to know that didn’t happen. I had such a peace about teaching because I was familiar with the topic and the passage of scripture. So with confidence, I prayed, studied, and prepared a talk about the woman in Mark 5 with the issue of blood.
I addressed the disappointments of life-relationship failures, rejection, health concerns, financial demise, etc., and the Hope of Christ. In the text Jesus calls the woman daughter. The only time His lips utter that word. When a word is only used one time, it’s worth exploring. So we did. Hope was uncovered. He called her daughter so we would know that He is personal, and that He considers us as part of His family. It felt like a slam dunk.
You know those times you are cheering loudly for your favorite team that just stole the ball from the opponent? Amidst your celebration you pause long enough to take note that your favorite team missed the lay up and the rebound? Turnover.
When she asked the question, “What’s stuck in your shoe?”, it was like turning the ball over. The “what just happened” moment. I was still cheering about the last play when I suddenly woke up to the fact that something changed. Something was definitely stuck in my shoe.
It’s so uncomfortable to continue walking when you have the smallest pebble accompanying your stride. Isn’t that bizarre? Most of us will stop, untie our shoe, and dump out whatever is the source of our discomfort. Why not when it comes to our life? Our faith journey? Our path of healing? Instead, we make modifications…walk with a limp, or develop a blister from positioning our foot around the problem.
Strange…and I’m guilty of this. Pulling the discomfort out of our life involves great work–and sometimes we’d just assume the position of defeat and settle for the pain. Pain is an unfaithful companion…so why do we defer to it when healing/comfort is available.
After teaching the lesson on disappointment, I realized that was precisely what was “stuck in my shoe.” I felt like a disappointment to God.Somewhere along the way I tucked that into my arsenal of who I was. My mistakes, sin, and failures echoed into the deepest recesses of my soul. The echo repeated the phrase, “You are a disappointment to God.”
That night a sweet woman walked down to where I sat, put her arm on my back, and uttered the following as she looked into my eyes: “God delights in you, Alyssa.” How could she know what I was trying to pull out of my shoe? I didn’t even know until that moment. But I believe Jesus is personal–so why was I surprised? She was part of the process of dumping the junk out of my shoe, so that the remainder of my journey would be less painful.
So what’s stuck in your shoe? Is there something you’ve held on to that isn’t yours? Why not stop, even now, and dump the junk. I’d venture to say it’s probably false, anyway. The pebble of unforgiveness when you’ve already been forgiven. Discouragement in your profession, relationships, parenting…just sit down, dump it out, and receive the comfort of letting go of what’s been stuck for too long.
“The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
Linking up here today…