Her Shoes Are Revealing
In 2010 Steve and I left our church home of 15 years. Our departure wasn’t pretty and the relational rupture was devastating. We lost 90% of our relationships. I was deeply wounded, an extrovert and in desperate need of real friendship.
We started attending a new church and I decided I was going to make friends.
By what shoes women wore. Because shoes are revealing.
As women walked to the front to partake in the Eucharist I checked out their shoes. Yes, I judged her by her shoes. After I made my choice I approached each woman and invited her to be my friend. I had a lake house, I would cook and we’d have great conversations - all they had to do was say yes to my invitation. (I told you I was an extrovert!)
I have to tell you the shoes don’t lie. Slow but surely I made new friends.
It’s hard to build female relationships, isn’t it? We’ve been wounded and yet we groan to be known by others. That groan to be known is innate. Turns out when God created us with an inherent desire to belong, to know and be known. “Did you know a baby comes out of the womb looking for someone who’s looking for her? Her facial movements, mouth, eyes, they’re all designed to get someone’s attention. Our brains respond to affirmation from a loved one in the same way it responds when we eat chocolate. And when we are socially rejected, our brain responds the same as it responds to physical pain. Science simply proves what God said in Genesis 1 and 2, humans were made to be social – to know and be known by others.” (I’m Enough pg. 13)
Being known means I must reveal something of myself that is hidden or unknown, right? And that can be hard. Because you may hurt me, and you might. I might become close to you and then you move away. And you might. But even still I choose to enter in.
When I think of how painfully wonderful real friendships are I’m mindful that God had to put himself out there too. He had to enter in knowing we might hurt him or leave him. And we did!
That’s what Brene’ Brown calls vulnerability, the willingness to be open to wounded-ness.
Have you ever considered that God was vulnerable in the garden and on the cross? That man and woman were vulnerable in the garden and perhaps we image God when we choose to enter in even if?
So one of the ways I enter in even if is by asking self-revealing questions like “If you could be a shoe what kind of shoe would you be?” This is a question we asked women in our I’m Enough Masterclass. Here are some of their responses.
I’d be a Combat boot – don’t mess with me, unless they are stylist combat boots when I’m not all that scary.
Garden boots (with a bit of paint on them) – Working the land, serenity, artistic
Red Stilettos - My husband was a large presence in a room. When I wore my red high heels people paid attention. I had five minutes of my own before he took over the room.
Oh, Birkenstock! – Travel, comfort, easy, loyal, and steadfast.
Flip flops – Freedom, lack of restriction, warm, easy. (This is my choice but as I’ve aged I’ve had to move from cute, stylish flip flops to my OOFOS Recovery. My daughter’s aghast and insists I not go outside in them!)
No shoes. I’d go barefoot. Feeling the ground. Knowing what’s under my feet. The different surfaces inform me of where I am. I like the feel of the earth.
I find self-revealing questions to open the door for me to get know someone better but often the question also helps the other know their self. If that makes sense?
Asking appropriate, safe, and fun questions that crack the door to known-ness is a spiritually transformative endeavor. So have at it. IF YOU COULD BE A SHOE, WHAT KIND OF SHOE WOULD YOU BE?