10K run organised by Sporlab in 2015
Photo by sporlab on Unsplash

New Year – New Shoes

Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” NIV

A seasoned runner knows they need the right shoes to run a race. Ones that fit properly and designed for just that purpose. Flip-flops or stiletto heels are obviously not the best choices. If their shoes are too tight, blisters can develop; too big and they could fall off or hinder the progress to the finish line. I am not a runner, but I have had experience with ill-fitting shoes.

During the “announcements time” in a recent church service, the mother of one of the students in our school shared about a fundraising “Fun Run” that was planned to take place on our campus. Her daughter was excited about the event but expressed fear as well. She shared that her feet hurt when she practiced running. Upon further investigation, they discovered her shoes had become too small. As I listened, I understood her reluctance to participate due to those tight shoes.

Cramped toes:

woman wearing beige leather heels

I have wider feet than what is considered normal or average for a woman. Finding shoes that fit me was always a challenge for my mom and I often fibbed and told her the shoes fit just so I could get a new pair. I could wear them for a while—grimacing at the pain they caused—but eventually had to admit my subterfuge. Shoe manufacturers eventually caught on that women with wider feet like to wear stylish shoes and finding shoes I like and fit well has become easier.

2023 was a year that I liken to wearing those ill-fitting, too tight shoes. A cancer diagnosis for my brother-in-law, the sudden passing of a friend who was like a sister to me, the loss of a favorite former co-worker, losing another dear friend and then my own health challenges all rubbed me raw, and I found myself limping through the year. When I tried to write, the words would not come and when they did, they felt cramped and uncomfortable like shoving my toes into a too small shoe. The harder I tried to share my words, the more futile it felt. I was running a race that seemed to never end and was not one I would consider a “Fun Run.”

Close up of a recycle garbage bin logo at Pershing Square in Los Angeles, California.

Out with the old:

As I turned the calendar page to a new year, I knew it was time to discard those old shoes from 2023 and slip into shoes that fit properly. I wanted to walk into 2024 with well-fitting footwear. But what would that look like?

It means making exercise and eating properly a priority; committing time each day to writing; digging deeper into His word; more time for coffee dates and conversation with the people who mean the most to me; and most importantly, starting each day with gratitude for the blessings He has bestowed on me.

I  find encouragement in the words of Habakkuk 3:19 “The Sovereign Lord is my strength;he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” NIV I pray for that strength to climb to new heights this year as the days, weeks and months unfold ahead of me. 

Step out in faith:

As you slip on your shoes today, I encourage you to check the fit. Are you ready to run the race put before you? To climb those seemingly unsurmountable mountains? If you doubt your readiness, I encourage you to listen to this song by Lauren Daigle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_49NQI3XTQ.

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