As women, I think all of us have had something about us that we’d like to change, some part of our appearance that we feel self-conscious about. It seems to me that it really starts – and does so intensely – when we are in middle school, those early teen years when so much of life is emotional and confusing and full of hormones.
When I was that age, the part of my body I wanted to change most was my feet. Let’s just say that I still wear the same size shoe I wore in the 8th grade and that is on the far right hand side of the clearance rack at DSW. When one part of your body has finished growing while the rest of your body is catching up, it can be embarrassing.
Thankfully, like most of us do, as I grew up I reconciled myself to my looks and my body, both the parts I liked and the parts I wish God had made differently. I became comfortable and confident in my own skin, even my feet. But that changed about a year ago.
Aging changes your body all over. I look at the spots on my arms and legs from years of sun, the raised veins on my hands, the gray hairs that I will confess to plucking; and I want to scream, “STOP!!” Last summer this aging process hit my feet – the ones I had managed to become comfortable with. But now they looked odd. I knew it was going to happen because I inherited them and had seen the change in relatives’ feet. Even the best pedicure couldn’t cover it up. I became embarrassed again like I was in junior high, avoiding flip flops and cute sandals.
Then one day last summer, I was reading something during my quiet time and all of a sudden there was Isaiah 52:7:
“How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
And says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”
Even though conviction can be painful, I love those moments when the Holy Spirit uses the Word to cut me to the quick, and this was one of those. In one fell swoop came both conviction and encouragement. Conviction that I was worried about my feet and encouragement that the Lord thinks they are beautiful.
Back in the ‘80’s we sang a worship song that started with this verse so I was reminded all the time about the feet that God finds to be beautiful. But we never sing it anymore, and it had been a long time since I had read this verse. And I had lost perspective.
That morning of sweet conviction reminded me of a couple of things. One is what a difference it always makes when we remember God’s perspective on things. I was looking at my feet from only the world’s perspective – a physical one with a certain definition of beauty. But the Lord’s perspective isn’t like the world’s. How I need to be reminded of that over and over again. And the main way to do that is to stay in His Word.
The other thing it reminded me of is what is important to God. And that is that the good news is shared, that the lost hear the gospel, that we take it to those who have never heard it. Paul quotes part of this verse in Romans 10:14-15:
“How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!’”
The note in my study Bible says that another way to translate “bring glad tidings of good things” is “preach the gospel”. I like that.
You and I may not be preachers in the way we typically define the word now, but we are still “sent ones”. Jesus said in John 20:21, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” All of us are sent by Jesus. It may not be in vocational ministry, it may not be overseas. But each one of us has been sent – to your office, to your neighborhood, to your community. All of us are called to have beautiful feet that take the gospel to those who have never heard it – no matter where they are, no matter where we are.
Since that morning, it’s been a little easier to wear sandals with confidence although I’ll confess there are still plenty of times when I feel self-conscious. I still wish I had beautiful feet. But what matters more to me is that the Lord thinks my feet are beautiful. I pray I will be faithful to keep them that way by sharing “glad tidings of good things” with those who don’t know Him.