I, like many women, love shoes. Unfortunately, I’ve reached a point in my life where comfort matters. But that doesn’t mean I can’t still find cute shoes. My husband doesn’t understand why I have so many, or why I need more. To him, black shoes are black shoes, end of story. (He has one pair.) But to me? The black high-heeled mules go with many of my suits. The Land’s End black sandals have a wonderfully comfy sole and are great to wear with jean shorts in the summer. The black flats with the pewter trim are good for dressing up jeans but still staying comfy, although if I’m going to do a lot of walking I switch to the worn-out black Skechers with Velcro straps. The black and gray slip-ons are kind of quirky; the black sandals with the ankle strap are professional-looking but cool and I can walk miles on the flat 2” heel; and the black sandals with woven straps and wedge heels are great with summer dresses but kill the balls of my feet if I wear them too long. The black Clark’s Mary Janes with the colorful stitching and leather flowers are my most fun (but almost too small) pair. And I haven’t even mentioned the four pairs of black boots — knee-high with spike heels for wearing with certain dresses; ankle-high with pointy toes for certain slacks; casual, cowboy-boot-style for jeans; and warm, soft cable-knit winter boots. My house slippers are even black.
In the natural world, I can justify the “need” for a bunch of different pairs — as long as buying them doesn’t take the place of food or paying bills or providing the needs of my family. But in the spiritual realm, I’ve noticed many of us put on shoes that were never meant for our feet. We put on shoes of unbelief; strap on division and strife and disloyalty; walk around with unforgiveness or resentment or untruth or deception or hate. We put on all these shoes, but we really only need one, for the Lord says we must shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). We need to let peace carry us through our days — without pain, without blisters, without vanity. The footprints we leave behind should be gentle and unobtrusive, yet distinct and memorable. The shoe may not be what we’re used to wearing, and it may take some time to break it in. But when we put these shoes on, we discover something surprising — there is no longer a need for any other pair. No matter how much we try to justify it. Not even if they’re on sale.

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