New Shoes for a New Journey

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If the shoe fits, wear it, right? That’s what I’ve personally thought for the longest time. Finding athletic shoes was more about fashion rather than function–style rather than substance. All that mattered was that which was only appealing to the eye and the cost factor. After all, I just needed to make sure my shoes looked right with my outfit and didn’t break the bank. As I matured, I realized the importance of having just the right fit–not just in my athletic wear, but also in my relationships.

I’ve had a pair of red New Balance tennis shoes for about 10 years. They typically looked brand new, because I have never had an athletic bone in my body, so they’ve never been exposed to any real physical impact. When I decided that I wanted put forth more energy in becoming physically fit, I soon began to realize that what was once stylish, inexpensive and comfortable was no longer appropriate for the goals that I wished to achieve. I realized that exercising in the “comfort” of my own home in those “comfortable”shoes had a completely different feel when the environment changed and the conditions became more taxing. My comfort had suddenly transformed into discomfort. Aches and pains that didn’t exists previously, began to emerge. “Oh, I’m just out of shape”, I’d think to myself. Though that was true indeed, the pains felt thoughout out my body boiled down to one specific thing–my shoes.

Talking to one of my friends who had avidly taken up running, she mentioned that she was going to get her feet measured for new running shoes, after she sustained a runner’s injury. A bit ignorant to the entire idea of getting feet measured, “Couldn’t you just pick some shoes off of the rack?”, I thought to myself. She began to educate me on various orthopedic disorders one could encounter, all from participating in various activities and not having shoes that were properly fit.

After talking to her, I realized, having the fit for my new journey is so key on so many different levels. Little did I know that it would speak volumes into me examining my relationships.

WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS TO A PROPER FITTING?

1) BALANCE: Having the proper fit, will help yield the maintaining of balance. It ensures evenly distributed weight, so that you can feel the contact of the surface that you are walking on. When your sole (souls) are off-balance, it breeds more difficulty recognizing the surface changes. You began to become more susceptible to stumbling and perhaps falling when encountering challenging terrain.

2) FLEXIBILITY: Like properly fit shoes, a relationship should be flexible. A shoe properly designed to the anatomy of an individual’s foot, BENDS in the RIGHT places. If your shoes are not flexible enough, the muscles and other components of your body begin to fight against the improperly fit shoe, making the wearer more prone to injury. So it is with relationships. If you are connected to an individual not properly fit for you, you may find yourself making compromises that may subject you to more harm rather than good.

3) CORE STRENGTH: Another common thread of properly fit shoes and relationships is the condition of the middle sole. Like the middle sole of a good athletic shoe should be, the soul/heart of the properly fit individual should be as firm. If both soles/souls are too cushioned, it causes instability and causes one to sway from side to side. It’s the core that makes all the difference.

HOW DO I GET IT?

1) YOU MUST TRUST THE SPECIALIST

As a runner entrusts the specialist to adequately measure, diagnose and figure out the proper design for their foot, so is it when it comes to our trust in God relating to our mate. We must trust that because He designed us, and knows the innermost parts of our anatomy, that maybe, just maybe He has the knowledge regarding the appropriate fit for our mate. TRUST HIM!

2) ALLOW THE APPROPRIATE BREAK-IN PERIOD

Though there are varying opinions regarding if properly fit shoes require a break in period, understand that though one individual could wear new shoes right out of the box and be completely comfortable with those shoes, some break-in periods take a little longer. Similarly to relationships–just because one person’s relationship was comfortable and felt like “the one” right from the start doesn’t mean that because your relationship isn’t suitable for you, just because it is taking some time to get adjusted to. GIVE IT TIME.

Conversely, one may find that in the midst of wearing properly fitted shoes that after a few days and a few miles, something just doesn’t feel right. As I have learned from my friend, even some of the “specialist” can miss the mark at times. However, when it comes to relationships, if we continue to place our trust in He who SPECIALIZES in the creation–like Him,the relationship perfectly fit for you will never fail.

So, in closing,

There’s a common cliche that says, “EVERYONE CAN’T GO WITH YOU WHERE YOU ARE GOING”. So it was with these New Balance shoes and perhaps some shoes you own. Sometimes we need new shoes for a new journey and only God knows where this new journey may lead…

BLESSINGS ON THE JOURNEY WHEREEVER GOD MAY LEAD–YOU AND YOUR HEART.

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MATTERS OF THE HEART

Today, I asked a patient a rather routine question, “Sir, do you wear a pacemaker or defibrillator?” He looked at me intensely and uttered, “No, not the physical one that you speak of, but I married one”. I said, “excuse me”. He said, “I married someone who is my pacemaker…she keeps me going, she gives me life, and speaks life”. Then he asks me, “did you happen to marry your pacemaker”. I said, “hmm, I never really looked at it that way, but no, I haven’t married my pacemaker {yet}”.

After the encounter, the patient’s analogy stuck with me. I began to think about the purpose of the pacemaker and its purpose in monitoring the rhythm of your heart. When your heart’s behavior is operating smoothly, the pacemaker is there for monitoring purposes. It’s almost like a level of accountability. But when that behavior begins to get a little slow, too fast-paced or any form or irregularity, that pacemaker begins to fulfill its purpose, sending a shock to your circulatory system, and get that heart flow back on track.

Typically, pacemaker recipients aren’t even aware of the presence of the device. It is light-weight, not burdensome, and a routine part of them, but when those tough times hit, and their life line is compromised, that’s when the true importance of such a device is really recognized. It can be a matter of life or death.

This patient’s analogy made me survey all of the relationships that I have encountered in my life. Primarily interactions that I’ve had with men; however, this analogy could translate into any relationship.

Upon reflection, I realize that I have had various “pacemakers” and have had those who are more like “artery blockers”. I began to think about those whom I love. Those who are so important to me and who are a routine part of my life. When our relationship is not functioning as it should, I feel a little off, as if something is not right–I recognize the importance of their presence in my life, especially when that relationship is compromised. They are the people who “shock” my behavior back on track. They tell me like it is in love–they hold me accountable. These are my natural pacemakers.

Then I have had those people who were there, a routine part of my life; however, when those various forms of irregularity emerged–they did nothing, they said nothing to “shock” me back into the normalcy of my behavior or walk. They actually aided me down emotionally, physically and spiritually destructive paths. These are defective pacemakers–who if my life, walk, and destiny depended on it… all of those things would have been D.O.A.

Then there have been those people, who just pop up in your life out of the blue, unexpectedly and block all flow of progression. The blockage can be so bad that is sends your hopes, dreams and aspirations into arrest–compromising life from ever emerging from them in those specific situations. These are the silent killers–dream killers, suffactors of your desires–but typically there are red flags that many miss.

Do you feel fatigued, dizzy–going in circles, drained, no energy in the relationship. Perhaps your flow of progression is being threatened! Don’t ignore the warning signs.

These are matters of the heart. <–above all else…guard it!

WEATHER THE STORMS

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of fitting a man with hearing aids for the first time. He had be living about 50+ years in this “bubble” of silence, disconnected from the world.

I watch a slight smirk peek from his lips, as he listens to sounds emerge that were once in hiding. His wife witnesses that he’s hearing things again, and she says in a soft voice, “I love you”. The eyes of this burly man turns to the direction of her voice, looks at her and says , “I love you too”. Trying to be professional and hold my composure—being the mush that I am, I asked him how long they had been married. “40 years”, he replied. “Excuse me?”, she corrected… “What? We have been in business for 40 years”, he stated. “Turn, your hearing aid up! She asked, how long we have been married?”. The patient laughed and corrected himself, saying, “ohhh, 48 years”. I chuckled at them, and asked what the secret to their longevity was?

He simply said, “WEATHER THE STORMS”.

I took a mental note, only to come back to reflect on it during lunch.

I decided to look up exactly what this idiom meant–my favorite definition was:
TO EXPERIENCE GREAT DIFFICULTY AND SURVIVE IT.

I re-evaluated my relationships and even friendships over the years…some have been really rocky, those who I consider the closest to me have known me for a while and we have had to do exactly what he suggested.

It doesn’t amaze me that on a more regular basis I have come in contact with couples that are walking testimonies that longevity in marriage still exists. Of course because the marriages are so long, it typically is seen in the older generation.

I ADMIRE THEM!

The whole “STICK WITH IT, TIL DEATH DO US PART, THROUGH THICK AND THIN” mentality in the younger generation is almost non-existent these days.

OF COURSE IT TAKES TWO!

In my quiet time, I began to think about rocks. Most are jagged and rough to the touch. A rock can be so sharp and abrasive, it can create some of the deepest wounds. Yet, no matter how jagged a rock is, in time, weather conditions can even break down the oldest, largest, immoveable ones. They can become some of the most beautiful stones–used to decorate or to adorn.

All good relationships are not without difficulty–YOU WILL experience some stormy times. Variable winds (mood swings), rain (tears), heat (disagreements), and ice (stubbornness/coldness) are just a few conditions one may experience.

You have to keep in mind that not all storms are meant to be weathered. There are some the will force you take an evacuation route immediately! I’m not referring to them. Some individuals God will not grant peace when you try to walk way. He wants you to ride out the storms to access a greater purpose. But to do so you must keep your focus on Him. In time, if you don’t give up, these rocky roads will become beautifully smoothed stony paths that lead to greatness.

in my humble opinion…

Prime Relational Real-Estate: Searching for the Place to Call Home

House hunting can be exciting and nerve racking all in the same, but ultimately, when you lay your eyes on the very domain that you’ve been praying for, believing for and searching for there’s a particular feeling/peace that comes with knowing this is exactly where God wants you to reside.

It may not have exactly everything you want–but has enough character, enough warmth, enough accessibility for you to feel comfortable calling it home. You have to ask vital questions to ensure that what you see is align with what you need and what you can afford–or would it ultimately be a liability.

Depending on the type of person you are and what you are looking for, will define the type of house you’re looking for…some are more concerned about the aesthetics of the house, some about the character, some about feel of the house, some about the work required to maintain the house, some concerned about the environment that surrounds it, and some about the affordability. Most individuals are concerned about the cumulative qualities of the house and when it’s right, they are willing to put forth the effort it takes to make a peaceful investment in what they want.

Though I don’t own my own home (YET), I have been involved in several house hunting experiences with friends and relate it to the process in finding an appropriate mate.

No matter how desperately one wants to dwell in something they can call their own, it’s important NEVER TO SETTLE OR IT BECOMES A LIABILITY.

We all are a work in progress, but everyone who purchases a home doesn’t have the patience for “fixer uppers” and wind up in a situation where though access to the relationship was easy and required little investment initially, but the effort required to make it presentable, cozy, warm, comforting is exhausting or on the other hand they don’t want to put forth the effort, so they end up in a relationship that’s a hot-mess and when other’s peer upon it, they can tell.

There are others searching for a relationship that appears to be “all-that” from the outside, but if people took a deeper look on the inside–they would see that the upkeep is taxing, pretentious, stiff, and lifeless.

Have you ever walked in a home where the place was decked out in white and you were afraid to step on the carpet in fear of leaving a mark and the owner getting upset with you?

These relationships are like walking on eggshells and a person never really feels comfortable or at home. These relationships require alot of energy and in the end the owner feels as its too much of a cost because they can’t be themselves!

On a different note, there are these relationships that seem a little “ugly” at first–perhaps it took a little working on the outside and inside–but the owner took time to do so. They didn’t feel that it was effort or an obligation–they took the time to make sure the relationship was the best that it could be. They invest in something that seemed not to hold much value and flipped it to make the value appreciate. These are transitional relationships–relationships in which you see through the “stuff” that other people run from, decide, it’s worth the investment, put forth the effort, and increase the value of that person’s life. Transitions take time, effort, patients, care to detail. Not all have the patience for it, but for those who do, it can go two ways, it can be the most beautiful relationship ever or again you can find you settled and it becomes a liability.

Lastly, there are others that just prefer a relationship that is move-in ready. They don’t want to go through alot of difficulty, don’t want to put up with the transitional changes, the effort of of high-maintenance relationship or dealing with the effort it takes to “fix” someone up. They want to see it, have peace about it, move in and call it home.

Though move-in ready, doesn’t mean you can’t add a little of your own touch to that relationship–but many aspects of it are already in place. Not much work is needed, if any at all. Just because it’s move-in ready, doesn’t mean you won’t hit a wall from time to time, but because of the majority of the aspects of the “home” being in a good place–it takes off a lot of stress in the relationship. This is the type many desire–forgetting that all relationships take some level of work.

Recently, I thought, we have to hold individuals to a higher standard than we have been doing. God has designed a particular layout just for you when it comes to your relationship. You must ask vital questions to help determine if what stands before you is aligned with the blueprint God has set for you. “Does it look like God, sound like God, feel like God, love like God”? If the answers to any of these questions are no, then perhaps it’s not God’s best for you to reside and it’s okay.

THOUGH EVERY CREATION IS FORMED BY GOD, NOT EVERY CREATION IS FORMED FOR YOU.

The opportunity will come to explore another lay-out, you just have to open to observing different places and keeping everything in perspective. Eventually, you are destined to come across a place that you can so peacefully call home.