Since I was a child, I have had large feet. My feet grew longer faster than I grew taller, and there was a time when my foot to height ratio was especially awkward. I became ashamed of my feet at a very young age. They are big. They are shaped funny. I trip over them constantly. I often have to buy socks in the men’s department because ladies' socks aren’t big enough. I am embarrassed about my feet.
Recently I started a new workout routine. I get up even earlier than usual and go walking up and down every street of the neighborhood. I walk five miles or more each morning, in the dark. I love this time and have really started noticing a change inside my body. I also started noticing a change in my feet. I was developing blisters and foot pain in places I hadn’t experienced before. I shared this problem with a friend who is a runner and she told me I needed new shoes.
She went with me to a running store where a professional examined my feet and sold me a pair of shoes that were designed for the way I walk. The very next day I walked eight miles with no foot pain at all.
As I age, I am growing braver. It is an act of courage to share what previously I have been too ashamed to share. I know God loves me just as I am, with weird feet and all, but I’ve always held back with people. I have convinced myself there are some aspects of who I am that should stay in the dark. Talking about my feet was a topic I have avoided most of my life.
I grew up singing the song, “This Little Light of Mine” with all the verses, including the one about how we should not hide our light under a bushel. I’ve always understood it as an encouragement to share your joy with the world. But this song has new meaning for me in this space of my life. Sharing my shame about my feet with a trusted friend led to a space of healing.
Maybe, just maybe, dragging hidden parts out into the light invites us to be healed by grace. Maybe instead of hiding our shame under a “bushel” we should bring it out into the light.
I am fortunate to be a part of FUMC Hurst, a community where we gather together to love God and love people. Living in community with others creates a space of trust that allows for us to bring our authentic selves to the table.
My feet aren’t any smaller and my walking isn’t any less awkward. But now my feet don’t hurt. Confessing my shame about my feet led to healing. If we were all brave at shining the light on our secret shame, I wonder what the world would be like? Would we have stronger relationships, more peace, and less anxiety?
If we knew that Christ loved us just as we are, big feet and all, would we be able to share more love with others?
Psychologist Ram Dass said, “We are all just walking each other home.”
I am so thankful that my bravery in authenticity brought me new shoes for walking home.