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Thursday, 24 May 2012

Sensible Shoes

Picture one of Disney’s Seven Dwarfs. Shave off the beard and trim the untamed eyebrows. Remove the pointy felt hat. 

Well, that’s who I resembled on my dog walk this morning. Another glorious morning; sun with warmth in it beaming down a blessing from the clear blue sky; birds singing their hearts out; slugs getting sluggier by the day underfoot (yes, one of the downsides). 

We’re havin’ a heat wave here in Scotland – it may only be about 20C/70F, which is practically winter temps for where I’m from, but compared to 9C/48F of last week, positively balmy. So I am dressed accordingly. Knee-length leggings and an overshirt (which is where the resemblance to the dwarves begins) – yes, that was me this morning. 

Now that I’m back in my home, I’m back in my feminine sandals. But out there – out there where the slugs crawl thick and the ticks lurk in leaves and grasses – I was wearing what my dad would have called boondockers. DM’s to the modern generation. Well, not exactly DM’s – these are waterproof and fur-lined, but you get the picture.  Certainly not a fashion statement.

As I trudged along behind Dusty, I thought of another term my dad would have used to describe the way I looked. He’d have teased me for looking like a hunyock, or a country bumpkin. 

Does that bother me? Do I care? Well – I certainly don’t care when I’m out there with nobody to see me but the odd deer or rabbit. But would I set out so attired if I lived in the centre of Banchory? Hmm. 

That thought drew me to thinking about the armour of God. Not such an incongruous leap, because  I was thinking of the shoes of the readiness to share the gospel of peace spoken of by Paul in Ephesians. 

And those shoes can’t really be strappy sandals, or stilettos, or expensive trainers, because I may be wading through some boggy mires out there in the world. Swamps of opinions which might just suck nonsensical footwear right off my feet and leave me exposed and vulnerable.

Maybe sometimes my reluctance to share my faith comes because I’m, spiritually speaking, mincing around in my strappy sandals instead of being willing to be seen in my boondockers. I don’t want to appear weird, like one of the dwarfs. I want to blend in, even to be fashionable in my opinions, and so I am tempted to keep quiet when perhaps what I need to do is put on the sensible shoes and share the good news. Not in any preachy, arrogant way, but in the same way that I share my experiences about other things in my life. 

Because, unlike the appearance of the Seven Dwarfs – or me, this morning – there is nothing weird about the gospel. It can only be seen as the best news in the world, that the God of heaven and earth loves you and me without condition, even when we have been sucked into the murkier mires of life.

Even when we are wearing stilettos, or boondockers.

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