I’m not really a “shoe girl” according to the stereotype, nothing fancy like heels or anything. However, if you see me from day-to-day, you know I like my TOMS. And I have a lot of them. Pretty much a pair for every occasion and in enough colors to match most of my clothes. Seeing as this magazine focuses on youth ministry, I’m guessing I’m not alone in my TOMS love.
One morning, I hopped out of bed and cringed in pain. The ball of my foot hurt like it had been bruised. It went away throughout the day, but consistently for weeks after, I would notice a soreness when I stepped on it a certain way.
Not being a podiatrist, or someone with frequent problems like this, it finally occurred to me to think about what shoes I had been wearing. I picked up a tired-looking, stained, stretched out pair of TOMS I’d had for years. As I felt the spot on the inside that matched up with where my foot hurt, I realized it was worn thin and hard.
The way I walk was literally wearing out my beloved shoe until it hurt me.
Unfortunately, this isn’t just true of what are otherwise comfortable shoes. Sometimes I can do a good thing until I’m worn thin, hardened to the passion that lead me to it in the first place. Whether it’s a daily routine, a sport, a social network, a ministry, a worship experience… we all have areas of life that we repeatedly return to until we are exhausted and instead of taking a break (say, putting on a different pair of shoes) we dig in our heels and keep walking the same way. Our sanctuaries become our obligations or dead rituals. We exhaust ourselves until the things that once were places of comfort and joy are sources of pain.
Is there an area of life for you that has become empty, thin, worn, hardened?
Bible study can be like that. Prayer can be like that. Community can be like that. You’re not alone if you’re thinking of something more spiritual than shoes.
It could be the way we are walking with our Father. It could be that we are holding onto the words, dreams and callings from decades ago that were once new and healthy but now we have stretched beyond their lifetimes. It could be that we have relied on camp highs and conference challenges and awesome corporate worship experiences for too long and now they have been rubbed through, leaving us bruised and empty inside when the same sermon recording or music doesn’t bring back the thrill. Instead, we are “homesick” for that feeling we once had.
Isaiah 43:19 says:
“Look, I am about to do something new;
even now it is coming. Do you not see it?
Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert.”
We can hold onto that promise that out of our desert seasons will come living water. We can count on Him to make a way for us, to guide us out of the wilderness we are walking in, out of the places of pain and into newness of life. Ask Him for a fresh dose of the Spirit today, and tomorrow, and the next day… Like the manna of the captives set free, walking with Him in His Way means we get as much as we need. His mercies are new every morning.