Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. | Hebrews 12:1-2
When I became engaged to my husband, the countdown was on to finding the perfect wedding dress. The first time I shopped for a dress, it only took me four tries before I found “the” dress. Being a fashion merchandising major, I wanted every detail of the day to be beautiful, put together, and unforgettable. One detail of the day that I put a lot of undue attention into was my wedding shoes. Since I found “the” dress, it only made sense for me to find “the” perfect shoes for that one foot photo I had my hopes set on. I stumbled upon a pair of mustard peep-toe kitty heels with a bow on the front that I had to have. The only problem was, they were out of my size.
I did what any unrealistic bride-to-be would do—I bought a half size down and squeezed my foot into them for my wedding day. I’ll never forget walking down the aisle thinking to myself that I should not have worn those shoes. As I stood on stage, holding the hand of my future husband, I felt myself getting faint and prayed that I wouldn’t pass out! By God’s grace, I made it through the wedding ceremony, but immediately slipped my shoes off after and walked barefoot the rest of the day.
God showed me a life lesson that day that I have never forgotten—we can’t run the race He has marked out for us trying to squeeze our feet into another’s shoes.
Those shoes weren’t meant for me. My feet weren’t created to fit into a half size smaller. Just like those shoes, I often find myself trying to squeeze my calling into the calling of someone else. I see what another woman is doing for the Lord and automatically feel as if I need to start running her race. I attempt to slip my feet into her “shoes” and only end up discouraged, confused, and less effective than if I was doing what God called me to do. But the truth is, we are running the same race with Jesus as the Prize. The course He takes us on will look different, the “shoes” we wear will certainly be a different size and style, but the end goal is always Him.
You cannot run the race God has for you wearing your sister’s shoes. He has called you and uniquely created you to bring Him glory through your dreams, hopes, and abilities. Ephesians 2:10 reminds us of this truth—“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” The “we” in this verse includes you and me. You are His workmanship. You are created in Christ Jesus for good works that bring Him glory. You have a mission that God has already prepared for you to walk in. You have a race to run that looks different than your sisters, but you will see them at the finish line.
If you feel like your feet have blisters today, or like you are squeezing yourself into the calling of another while neglecting to do what God has created you to do, then assess why you are running. Are you running to keep up with someone else? Are you continually out of breath because you feel like you are lagging behind? Or are you walking in what God created you to do? Look to Jesus, your Savior, who slipped His feet into our human shoes so we could live a life of victory and purpose in Him.
Slip your shoes off today, set your gaze back on Christ, and run the race of faith.
slipping off my shoes,