Walking in Shoes

I grew up, to be honest, barefoot. During the heat of summer, we’d load up in my Granddo’s ‘66 Chevy Impala and ride to evening church service at the Scotland Baptist Church in rural Arkansas. We would get out, already a bit closer to starting time than she would like, and I would look down and realize I didn’t have shoes on my country feet. She would tell me: “Autumn, I swear, sometimes you don’t have sense God gave a screwdriver.”

It must have been true because I still don’t quite know what that means now. Back then, it meant “We’re gonna go home and get your shoes, but I’m not happy!” Thankfully the sermon and worship would calm her down and we’d laugh about the incident on the ride home after the service. But this happened more than once.

My biological dad used to tease me and say, “You sure got some Arkansas feet” because I was always walking on gravel and other surfaces with no discomfort. It’s just the way it was and the way that I was.

Years later, an employer gently joked, “Autumn, do we not pay you enough to afford shoes?” I smiled, understanding that my shoes belonged on my feet and not under my desk. The corporate world is demanding when it comes to “proper attire.”

“Dear, what happened to your shoes?” I blushed as the handsome man next to me drew attention to the fact that five minutes into the early morning church service, my classy high heels were lying surrendered under the pew in front of me.

As we grow, it’s natural that we reflect on where we come from, where we are, and where we intend to go. There are things from our history that need to be adjusted. I was scrappy growing up. Clearly a bad temper needs to be restrained. The potty mouth I acquired in adolescence needed to be tamed. Hurts that I held on to, bitterness, those things needed to be addressed.

But there are other things. Things like integrity, honesty and strength that need to be remembered and even fought for. I learned to work hard and respect everyone equally. As you advance in your life and your career, you may see people rejecting these values and succeeding – and it’s hard to understand, even tempting to let go of some of your own convictions.

The writer in Psalm 73 expresses a similar struggle when he says in verse 3, “…I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked…” It was not until he sought God that he understood the wisdom of holding true to the beliefs that he was taught. “…till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” (Psalm 73:17) The writer concludes in verse 28 by not focusing on others and their decisions, but on his own heart without compromising, “But as for me, it is good to be near God…”

You may not be ‘back home,’ but you should always stay true to the lessons you learned ‘back when’. This is how you honor your history and your family. Current associates and clients will appreciate your sincerity and probably even laugh when they notice your shoes lying discreetly abandoned under your desk.

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