If The Shoe Doesn’t Fit…


I hate it when my shoes wear out. Come to think of it, they probably wear out because I hate shopping for shoes so much that I wear the ones I have to death. At any rate, I don’t enjoy shopping for shoes, and I have my reasons.

First, there’s the whole issue of style. Some people are born with a good sense of style when it comes to footwear, and others aren’t. I place myself in the second category. So does my sister. So do my friends. When I’m shopping with them and point out a shoe that catches my eye, invariably the observation elicits a stifled smile or an outright laugh.

Then there’s the issue of size. I have a good three-sizes (if you include half sizes) range on shoe size, and I wrestle with which one fits just right. I’ve been tricked by shoes more than once. In the store, they feel great, but the next day, not so much. Needless to say, I’m wary.

Finally, there’s the issue of price. Of the three, this is the one I place a premium on. That is, my first consideration is price and my second is size. Style? It sort of depends on if I’m shopping on my own or with a friend. When you really boil it down though, if you have to compromise on one aspect of these three (style, price, or size), I say you should compromise on style, but others have convinced me that it’s better to compromise on size. (Actually, they seem to think you don’t need to compromise at all, but then they were not born with my particular shoe troubles, were they?)

With this background, you can understand my delight to find a pair of very nice black wedges for an incredibly reasonable price. These were the kind of shoes that even without a friend with me, I knew they would look great. And what’s more, they fit—almost.

I purchased them and wore them to church the next Sunday.

Throughout the morning, I noticed they didn’t fit quite as well as I had thought in the store. That’s too bad, but at least I can take them off after church. I can always wear them for just a couple hours at a time.

That particular afternoon, I was at church most of the day and on my feet a good bit. That’s when I noticed that the shoes didn’t even almost fit quite as well as I had thought in the store. Maybe I’ll wear these every other Sunday.

After the evening service, I went to my office (on the same campus) for a few minutes and happily kicked my shoes off while I attended to whatever had brought me there. As I prepared to leave, I wrestled my feet into the offending shoes and headed out to my car. Strange, I don’t remember them being this painful. How could they have gone from a little tight to sheer agony in just a matter of sixty minutes? My feet must have swollen from wearing them.

As I left the building, I decided to call my mom quick. We had longer to talk than we might have normally in the same distance, as I was forced to take small steps across the parking lot. I cannot wait to get my feet out of these shoes. I’m never, ever wearing them again.

It’s difficult to chat pleasantly when your feet are being pinched and twisted. Nevertheless, I persevered without audible complaint right up until the moment I got into my car and pried my feet out of those crazy shoes. What I saw in that moment made me laugh out loud.

My shoes were on the wrong feet.

I don’t think I’ve made that mistake since I was six years old! (In my defense, these were wedges, and there was very little curve on the inside edge of the shoes.) When I told my mom the entire story, she laughed too.

And so, the shoes actually did fit. (Well, at least they almost fit.)

You know, sometimes you don’t need a different shoe; you just need to wear it a different way.

You’ve heard the adage, “If the shoe fits, wear it.” It’s good advice about when to take advice. If advice you are given applies to your situation, receive it. And the implication is, if it doesn’t apply, let it go.

But how does this adage apply when the shoe doesn’t fit? If it pinches or twists, does that mean we are to automatically discard the advice?

I’ve seen people do that. They are given counsel that feels uncomfortable and that they are sure doesn’t take the individuality of their life or situation into account, and so they discard it…to their loss.

Could I remind you that just as there are more components to shoe purchases than size, so there are more components to receiving counsel than personal appeal. Just because a piece of counsel doesn’t appear “comfortable” to wear doesn’t mean it isn’t helpful, wise, or needed. Conversely, just because we like a particular piece of counsel doesn’t mean that following it is going to change our lives for the better. (For instance, I’ve had shoes I really liked that my real friends suggested I never wear again.)

When it comes to receiving counsel, the first questions do not relate to comfort, but source: Is it biblical? Does it come from a wise, godly person?

The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.—Psalm 33:11

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.—Proverbs 13:20

If the answer to these two questions is yes, you may not need a different “shoe.” You may need help with getting it on the right foot. (After all, part of the process on receiving wise counsel is learning to apply it to our lives.)

A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:—Proverbs 1:5

All too often, we reject what we most need because we either don’t like it or we don’t know how to apply it correctly. And in either case, we assume it didn’t “fit.”

Don’t discard a good shoe because it’s on the wrong foot. Good shoes are too hard to come by.