Friday, December 31, 2010

Shoes and Faith

An interesting thought occurred to me one morning this week as I was putting on my shoes. Most of the time, I wear oxfords that I have to double knot or the laces come undone several times a day. I was being lazy that morning and didn’t feel like undoing the knots, so I just jammed my feet into the shoes. They slipped on easy enough, but my feet were uncomfortable and one of the shoes pinched a bit. I didn’t feel like putting up with the discomfort until my feet settled into the shoes, so I took them off, untied them, and then put them back on and tied them like I should have done in the first place. Later, I wondered why, if it were the same shoes and the same feet, that the feel was different when I slipped them on without untying them vs. putting them on and then tying them. It occurred to me that in the first scenario, I was trying to fit my feet to the shoes and in the second – I was fitting the shoes to my feet. Isn’t that just the way I tend to approach faith?

I began to ask myself – Do I try to fit my faith around my life so as to minimize the discomfort I experience in serving God? Am I willing to help out only as long as it isn’t too inconvenient? Do I too often assume the responsibility for becoming a person of deep faith instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to mold me into the child of God I want to be? How often do I obey God’s call to step outside of my comfort zone, allowing him to deepen my trust and reliance on him? Am I one of those people who mold God into my image to justify my attitudes and lifestyle or do I look to his image as the paradigm for my attitudes and lifestyle? Or am I, as I hope, the kind of Christian who allows her faith to mold her life?

The truth – I am a fallible human being and sometimes I fit my faith to my life while other times I fit my life to my faith, often switching between the two countless times each day. Here’s the really confusing part – sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. Oh sometimes, fitting my faith to my life looks holy and God-driven, but my desires and my comfort are at the heart of my actions. Once again, it all comes down to attitude. What is the attitude that drives my actions? Am I loving God over me in my actions or me over God?

Philippians 2:12-13 tells us to, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (reverence for and sensitivity to God), for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Paul is telling us that it’s going to be a daily struggle to allow God to mold and make in us the new creation he had in mind for us from the beginning. God is within me, creating me from the inside out by his power and his will alone to be the woman of faith I always wanted to be. I can’t become that person on my own. I need God to do that and occasionally, like my shoes, it’s going to pinch a little.

About the pictures:
Blackwater Falls State Park

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