When the Shoe Doesn’t Fit


When those you love don’t love you back, it hurts.

We all experience it at one time or another. Betrayal by someone we thought was a friend. A romantic relationship that doesn’t work out. Family quarrels that separate and divide. Real life scenarios that sting us in a big way.

After such encounters, we’re often left with many questions. What should I have done differently? Did I push too much? Did I engage too little? It’s good to ask ourselves such questions from time to time.

But what about those times when you’ve sincerely tried? When you’ve done all you know to do, yet you cannot satisfy the demands placed on you. What then?

When those you love are difficult, near impossible to please. When they expect more of you than you are able to give. When what you do for them never seems to be enough. When they expect you to make them happy… to be their happy. When your efforts fall short, and their misery is, once again, tacked onto your slumped shoulders.

What then?

Most of us desire to help others, to be there for them, to meet their needs, especially when those “others” are our people, our family, our dearest friends.

But when those you love continually place unrealistic expectations on you, you must be willing to see it for what it is –simply put, you must realize you can not fill shoes you were never intended to fill.

No matter how much you stretch, push, or pull, you can never work hard enough or serve well enough, for long enough, when the shoe you’re wearing simply doesn’t fit.

So here we sit today.  Me in my striving. You in yours. Trying to hold everything together. Trying to be all things to all people.

Friends, let’s step out of those shoes. Let’s move out of the way. Let’s allow the only One capable of filling those shoes step into them.

His name is Jesus.

The One who meets the needs we can’t meet -both for ourselves, and for those we love.

The One who mends the brokenness we experience when our striving gets us nowhere.

The One who sees the potential in each of us, and loves us as we are, faults and all.

The One who perfectly -and purposely- closes the gaps no one else can close.

May we begin to notice when others, whether inadvertently or intentionally, attempt to place us into His big shoes. May we quickly recognize we do not belong there.

May we be released from the pressure of trying to fill a space we simply cannot fill.

Instead, may we do what it is we were called to do. May we be who it is we were called to be. And, may we love generously and serve joyfully from that position.

As we do so, may we pray faithfully for those who love us well, and for those who don’t.

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