Take Off Your Shoes (an analogy)

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She entered His house, excited to see her Father. She hadn’t gotten far when she heard a soft yet firm voice. “Take off your shoes.”

“What?” My shoes?” She looked down at her feet. Picking up one foot, she admired the tan sandal from different angles. A wide brushed-leather strap securely covered her heel and wrapped around her ankle and was held closed by a shiny silver buckle. Narrower straps crisscrossed over the top of her foot like a hug. She sighed. She loved these sandals, and she wanted to show them off to her Father.

But now she was being told to take them off. Why? They looked clean enough. She hadn’t stepped in anything. She could understand if the room had been carpeted – rugs are easy to get dirty and hard to clean – but she wasn’t standing on that. This floor was hard and smooth like giant flat rock.

“But they look so good on me,” she protested. “They are so comfortable. And they even look like me, don’t You think?”

“Take them off,” the voice repeated.

Sighing, she bent to obey. As she tugged off first one sandal and then the other, she noticed the dust that coated them. Hmm… she hadn’t seen that when she had looked at them just minutes before. Looking even more closely, she saw that the sandals were actually covered with imperfections. There were small scratches in various places, one seam was beginning to unravel, tiny stones were trapped in the tread, and there was a crack in one of soft soles.

Funny how from a distance they had appeared perfect, and it wasn’t until upon closer examination that she could see their real condition.

“And the socks,” came the voice.

“Oh, I thought you wouldn’t notice them since they blend in with my skin.” Reluctantly, she pulled them off, dropped them near her sandals, and approached the huge chair where her Father was sitting.

Feeling naked and vulnerable, even though it was just her feet that were bare, she stood before Him with her head bowed. “I’m sorry about the sandals. I didn’t realize they were so dirty. It seems the more I try to make You proud of me, the more I mess up. I love You. You are more important to me than anything else.”

“Daughter, it’s not just about the dirt. When I look at you, I want to see you. Leave at the door everything that doesn’t belong in here – from the false sense of identity you put on and the comfort you wrap yourself in to the dirt that clings as you walk in the world.  They do nothing but get between us.”

She thought she understand. It wasn’t what she had that made Him love her. It wasn’t what she did or didn’t do. It was her that He loved and wanted to be with.

Looking up, she saw the incredibly warm smile on His face, the love in His eyes, and the invitation in His outstretched arms. Without a second thought, she leaped up into His embrace, and sighed with contentment as He pulled her close. There was no better place than this – and worth way more than a pair of soft leather sandals.


1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Isaiah 59:2a But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God…

Psalm 27:4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.

Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.