Unlike my sisters, I was not born with a strong sense for fashion. Even a few unfortunate snapshots of me as a little girl display my unique taste of color combinations. And to this day, I occasionally need an outside perspective.
At a recent church retreat, I asked my friend if a particular pair of newly acquired shoes looked okay. She suggested they may look better with a longer skirt (which I now know meant “floor length”!), and I put them back in my suitcase for later.
Later happened to be today, and I cheerfully showed them to her at work as I passed by her office—about 8:03 this morning. “Déirdre, do the shoes look better with this?” I fully expected her enthusiastic approval, but she shook her head and said, “I don’t think it makes much difference.” Then she couldn’t help it and laughed out loud. We both laughed, actually. (Later she described the shoes as “severely glamorous in a not-so-fashionable sort of way.”)
Talk about a long day! I wanted to keep my feet out of sight and wished I hadn’t known anything about the unfortunate shoes. As I left this evening, I stopped to chat for a moment with Déirdre and another friend, Dana. Just for fun (and halfway hoping that Déirdre was wrong) I asked Dana what she thought of the shoes. “Umm…I think they would look better…on someone else.” My embarrassment returned, and I wished my car was parked right next to the building.
I was never so happy to get a pair of shoes off as I was this evening! But, really, I’m thankful for Déirdre and Dana’s help, and I’m very thankful they spared me from further humiliation—even if I never would have known that people were smiling after I passed by.
It’s not always comfortable to be told when something isn’t quite right—on the inside or the outside. But it’s always helpful—as long as you are willing to change. As Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend….” Correction, or even suggestions for improvement, may be hard to hear in the moment, but in the long run, it is to our benefit to listen—and change!
If I’m wearing outlandish shoes, I want to know it. Has someone tried to help you change your shoes lately?