How Can I Dance in Worn-Out Shoes?


She tells me they fit.  “Ballet shoes need to be that tight,” she says.

I’m looking at the worn-out gray of the leather where she’s danced and danced on that shoe, and I’m thinking it’s been two years probably since I bought them for her.

Maybe she’s the dance expert, but this momma knows too small when I see it.20140404-130817.jpg

When you have to crinkle your whole foot up to cram it into the shoe and then whisk your finger back before it gets trapped behind your heel, that means it’s time to let those beloved dance shoes go, baby girl.

So, she plops down onto the bench at the studio reluctantly and I tell her to show the teacher and let the expert decide.

About two minutes later, we start pulling out new shoes to try on and we have to skip size after size to find one that finally fits correctly.

I wonder this: Am I cramming myself right down all squashed and painful into life that doesn’t fit anymore?  Habits I’ve outgrown?  Ministries I need to let go?  Behaviors I need to put behind me?

Am I stubbornly holding onto what isn’t working just because it’s here, because it’s known, because the ill-fitting discomfort of this seems better than the unknown with all its newness and risk and…dare I say it….change?

Am I saying I want to know Christ more, be more like Him, follow Him more closely, but then stubbornly clinging to the same-old, same-old patterns of faith and even sin?

Jesus saw this man, crippled for 38 years, lying out by the pools of Bethesda, the miracle waters they said, the place where the lame, the blind, and the paralyzed congregated in hopes of a healing.

The man didn’t cry out to Jesus to “have mercy.”  He didn’t have friends carry him on a stretcher and lower him down through a roof to get to Jesus’ feet.  He didn’t ask for healing at all, not like others in the Gospels who were desperate to get to Jesus.

This man laid by the pool of Bethesda, just laid there because he’d lain there so long.Photo by Ruud Morijn;

It was Jesus who initiated the miracle, and He began with a question, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6 NIV).

Did he want to get well?  Wasn’t he there at the pool of Bethesda and hadn’t he been there so long?  Wasn’t this what you did when you needed a miracle? 

Of course, he wanted to get well!

Yet, we can say all the right things, make all the right promises, repeat all the good-Christian phrases and still miss the honest truth:

That maybe we don’t want to get well.

Not really.

Maybe we don’t want to know Him more,  don’t want to be healed, to be transformed from the inside out, to obey Him, to follow Him wherever He leads.

If we did, wouldn’t we be desperate to be at His feet?  Wouldn’t we be screaming loud enough to be heard over the crowd, “Have mercy, Son of David!!!?”  Wouldn’t we be begging friends to bring us to Christ and crawling on our hands and knees through a crowd of people just so we could brush the corner of His robe?

Instead, too often we lie there and wait for God to come to us.

And when Jesus does come and He asks, “Do you want faith?  Do you want healing?  Do you want to know me more?  Do you want to follow me?”

We can act all offended.  Pretend like the answer is obvious. We can make excuses.

The man said, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me” (John 5:7 NIV).

Maybe this was genuine, hopelessness, lack of help.

Or maybe it was justification, excuse-making, avoiding what radical obedience might cost him.

Either way, Grace invited him in.  Grace held that hand right out.

Do you want to get well?

And isn’t that Grace?  Never belligerent.  Never forcing, demanding.  Always inviting. 

Then, when we accept, Jesus gives us the next step.  “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk,” He said.ask-me-anything-lord_kd

The man obeyed.  He stopped waiting, stopped making excuses, and he grabbed that mat up and walked right out of there. 

Today, let’s put aside the ill-fitting, worn out shoes we’ve been cramming ourselves into.  Let’s stop doing what we’ve always done.  Let’s stop justifying the inactivity.

And let’s run hard after Jesus.

Let’s be unashamed and relentless in our pursuit of Jesus and the healing work He wants to do in our life, our hearts, our minds, so that He can look right at us and all that we’re doing to get to Him and know the answer without even asking.

Do you want to get well?

Yes, Lord, and Amen.

 Want to read more about the questions God asks?
Check out my book, Ask Me Anything, Lord, available in paperback and for the Kindle and nook!

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King


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