Five years ago, I spent a lot of money on a pair of shoes. I was preaching at all 4 services at our church. I would be on my feet all day and my nerves were on edge, I simply could not worry about my feet. I “teach” often, but preaching at our church was not done by women, not everyone would be thrilled to have me. I knew it was something God wanted me to do but, holy nerves! I was willing to step into the discomfort, but not without good shoes.
I spent $200 on shoes that promised comfort yet, refused to compromise in style. They also added 4 inches to my height which would undoubtedly would make me look 4 pounds lighter. They would give me the confidence I needed to face a day of preaching to an audience that was skeptical about women preaching.
After the first message, I realized a critical error in my rational. If one never wears heels beyond 1”, there is not an engineering feat on the planet that can make 4” heels comfortable. Did I mention that I also bought longer black slacks to wear because none of my pants were long enough to wear with 4” heels? So, my choices were as follows: Take the shoes off and walk around with my pants dragging on the floor, or wear the shoes and let people think that my tears simply my passion for the Word of God.
I made it through that day. And carefully put these shoes back in the box and up on the shelf. That was several years ago.
I have cleaned out that closet dozens of times but can’t seem to get rid of those shoes. They were the shoes which I wore where I watched God break through a barrier that seemed impenetrable in our church for women.
They were the shoes which I wore where I watched God break through a barrier that seemed impenetrable in our church for women.
Standing on the stage, taking a few deep breaths as I prepared to preach, there were some who stood up and walked out in protest. The number was small, but it cut me deep as I saw some whom I consider friends among the protestors. I received a standing ovation at all of the services. But, when I closed my eyes to sleep, I only saw the backsides of those walking out. I never wanted to be the one that broke that glass ceiling, but, I did. I was brave in those shoes.
I was being called to a different ministry. Leaving the comfort of my pastoral position was such a dreadful decision but, I knew what I was being called out to fight for marginalized women. I had invested so much of my life there. I now stood in a place where I had little experience, money or team.
God whispered, “It’s time for new shoes.” I was given permission to let go. My clinging to the past was preventing me from leaning in to all God had in my future.
I spent $200 dollars on new shoes, they are stylish and comfortable. They fit me. I can now remove the old shoes from my closet.
When my mind wanders back to what was, I simply press my feet fully into the soles of these new shoes and remind myself these are my shoes. Somewhere, there is a barely used pair of size 9 black heels that someone else may love. They don’t take up space in my closet and the past won’t take up space in my heart.