I’m not exactly sure what his motivation was, but when I was in college, my husband, then boyfriend, decided to buy me my first pair of Jordans. The price tag alone kept me, the perpetually frugal, from purchasing them myself, and to be honest, my Walmart sweatsuits did not warrant a small fortune on my feet. But he was very excited, nonetheless, to give me my first taste of gym shoe prestige.
Expectancy laced every breath he took as I removed each shoe from the box, extracted the paper from inside, and slipped my feet in. I don’t know what either of us expected, but I had not considered the possibility that the shoe would be tight. I mean, these were Jordans, so surely those extra dollars would make room for a wider foot, right? Plus, I was a good 70 pounds lighter back then and had not had the spread that pregnancies and age induce, so this was flat out a shoe that just wasn’t made for me.
I’d like to say that I was brave enough in the face of his delight to say, “Listen, thanks for this very kind gesture, but these shoes squeeze like the dickens!” But I wasn’t. I told him they were “a bit snug,” and thanked God we had nowhere to actually go to justify wearing them. I carefully placed them back in the box where they stayed for weeks.
There comes a time when every Christian has to decide whether she is for the prevailing or popular culture or for Christ, when one must determine whether political affiliation, racial or ethnic background, or group membership will matter more than the word of God. It is a choice each one of us has to make, but if we believe the God of the Bible, we know that He will not share His throne. Either we are for Him, or we are not.
In the face of so many distinctions and divisions in the world, it seems ludicrous to believe in the way, the truth, and the life, rather than ascribing to a myriad of ever-shifting possibilities. Finding one’s “fit” becomes an end of its own as one flits about life trying on this and that, hoping that his level of comfort is never truly upset by having to put a stake in the ground. But if we are truly followers of Christ, this world will never really fit. This is not our home.
“Why aren’t you wearing the shoes I got you?” he asked one day.
“They’re just too tight,” I responded, hoping not to hurt his feelings. “They are so narrow.”
“Yeah, Jordans do run on the skinny side.”
“Baby,” I laughed, “you’re not skinny! But I am, and they still don’t fit!”