What Kind of Shoes Do You Wear?

Written by monthly contributor, Natalie Didlake.

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (I Peter 4:10 NASB)

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies–in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. (I Peter 4:10 ESV)

Funky, Chunky Shoes

I am almost 30 years old. I finally know what kind of shoes I like.

Flat shoes.

Wide shoes.

Casual, comfy shoes.

No-Heel shoes.

Funky, chunky, spunky shoes.

I don’t do boots. I don’t do heels. I don’t do tennis shoes (every day). I don’t do trendy shoes. I don’t do dressy shoes. For years I’ve been trying them all, and none of them were “me.” Nothing wrong with heels or boots. They’re just for not me.

I’m ready to be me. In my kind of shoes.

Within the last year, I’ve started recognizing a pattern in the shoes that I love to wear. Now, I know exactly what to look for…and exactly what to eliminate. I got rid of all the reject shoes in the back of my closet, given to me by other people, or purchased on a whim. I quit thinking someday I might start loving and wearing them, and said “bye-bye” to them forever. I’m ready to say breezily, “Thanks! But they’re just not my style.”

“Each One Has Received A Special Gift”

I think spiritual gifts are a lot like knowing your shoe style.

I have a friend who is gifted in organization, administration, and the ability to teach skills of practical knowledge, and strives to maximize her life to serve well.

She knows what kind of “shoes” she likes to wear!

I, on the other hand. Not so good at those things. I work sooo hard to be a good homemaker. And rightfully so! It’s part of my calling as a wife and mother. But I will never be the organizational and practical gal as my friend is. So, I do the best I can.

And I’m ok with that. Because those spiritual gifts are not my “style.”

Because there are other things that make my heart sing.

When I explain the Trinity to my toddlers, my soul feels on fire.

When I craft a blog post, cutting and pasting scriptures from the internet tabs I have open to 6 different passages in my online Bible, I feel especially useful and close to God.

When I talk theology with my husband and we talk hours on a tough topic, I revel in the meeting of our minds, in what a marvelous match we are!

When my girlfriends call me for help understanding some deep issue, I know I’m specially crafted by God to meet unique needs in the people I love.

I love to teach. I love to encourage. I love to exhort. I love to write. I love to dig with my mind and my words and my heart.

I love wearing my own “shoes,” if you know what I mean.

Some Principles for Practice

Don’t ask other people to wear your shoes.
I need to safeguard against expecting others to love the things I love to do. Not everyone will have such a thrill at searching out a matter as I do.


Wear your own shoes, loud and proud!
I can usually flesh things out pretty well on my own. So why not make the effort to do it myself, share it, and view it as a gift God is giving them, through me?

Appreciate and enjoy boots and heels, too. ;)

First and hardest: Admit your weaker areas.

Second, and more fun: Gratefully receive what others have to offer, and allow it to supplement your own strengths and gifts.

I am always checking various organizational and homemaking blogs, and with friends for great recipes, homemaking ideas, homeschooling units and lessons, and such. I basically steal other people’s homemaking skills! Just because I may not be particularly gifted in organization and homemaking, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t strive to glean from others and grow in this area as well.

Result: You will develop into a pretty well-rounded beautiful person! God designed us all differently so that we ought to mooch off each other, be humbled by our limitations, enjoy giving of our strengths, and all grow closer in the process! Let us all prayerfully evaluate where God has uniquely gifted us and strive to utilize those gifts for His glory!

A Final Thought: This post wasn’t designed to be theologically exhaustive. In fact, no matter what you believe about gifts, we can all agree that each person is built somewhat differently. I’m simply reflecting on how we can maximize our own strengths and help others do the same, so that we all give and take in thriving, loving relationships. Please refrain from creating theological debates and discussions. Above all, keep comments kind and encouraging.


On another note, in light of the topic last month that Natalie wrote on Intimacy in Marriage, Natalie has written a follow-up post on her blog addressing the question raised concerning those women who have a higher sex drive than your husband and how to graciously deal with that. She addresses the topic here.

About NDidlake

Natalie Didlake is the mother of three lively little ones, Sabrina (age 5), Roarke (age 3), and Alexia (age 2). She has been married to the winsome and brilliant Aaron for 6 years. They live in Mississippi, where they still have no clue how to be "southern." Natalie's goals are to bring the gospel to bear on every ounce of womanhood, love and enjoy her family, and maybe capture some of it in writing. In between, Natalie likes to squeeze in cooking, blogging, taking pictures of her cute kids, couponing, and saving oodles of money by bargain-hunting. Natalie blogs at Guarded by the Gospel.

26 Responses to What Kind of Shoes Do You Wear?

  1. wendy April 3, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    This was beautiful and so timely for me. Much to ponder–I shall be re-reading this post. Also, I LOVE the shoes in the picture. Darling!

    • Natalie April 3, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

      Thanks! :) On both accounts. They’re my favorites…that’s why they’re so grubby! :)

  2. Jessica B March 29, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    Thank you for the encouragement. Isn’t wonderful how the body of Christ is made up of people with so many different gifts?!

  3. Almut March 29, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    Great post – I needed that reminder to be aware that I can’t expect everyone to do things the way I do things. My favorite shoes? Dansko professional clogs, ecco’s and Keen’s. I wear them year-round, both professionally and for leisure. My mother always said: always buy the BEST shoes you can afford – shoes are at the foundation of holding your body upright.

  4. Gwen March 29, 2011 at 7:50 am #

    Thank you for sharing this encouraging post! I am still learning who I am in Christ and who He has designed me to be…your writing has encouraged me on the journey! Blessings to you:)

  5. Amanda March 29, 2011 at 6:35 am #

    Natalie, thank you so much for allowing God to speak through you. I feel like this post was written for me today. I have spent so much of my life forcing myself to wear the shoes others expected me to wear, and have yet to find a pair that fit comfortably. As a previous poster asked, how do I know which shoe is mine??

    • Lindsay March 29, 2011 at 7:23 am #

      Amanda, I believe discerning your spiritual gift(s) can be found through prayer. Ask the Lord for his wisdom and clarity. Then I would recommend stepping back and really evaluating what you are good at. What do you enjoy doing? Is it service, teaching, exhorting, giving? See the list of spiritual gifts recorded in Scripture: 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14; Romans chapter 12; Ephesians chapter 4; and 1 Peter chapter 4. Then I would proceed to ask your friends and family around you: what do you discern to be my spiritual gift? More often than not, they have great insight into your life and will most likely be able to help guide you in this discovery. lastly, there are a few books available that may be helpful: Discover Your Spiritual Gifts or Understanding Spiritual Gifts by Kay Arthur. Hope that is helpful!

  6. Judy March 29, 2011 at 5:21 am #

    Lovely post, and so true. We are quick to think that heels are better than flats or boots are more spiritually mature than flip-flops, so to speak. When we are confident in our identity in Christ, we are more comfortable in our own God-breathed “shoes”. When that happens, we stop judging gifts and start operating in them–each one a Cinderella slipper :D .

  7. Evelien March 29, 2011 at 12:47 am #

    I’m not sure yet what my “shoes” are. How can you be sure? I always think I know it, but I’m never really sure :)
    Maybe I’m just afraid to get it wrong.
    Anyways, I loved your post!

    Oeh, and my real shoes are not the comfy-noheel-ones. I nééd heels (not the big ones, just a small one) or else I feel so weird hah! My fiancé wants me to wear comfy shoes but it just doesn’t work for me.

    • Lindsay March 29, 2011 at 7:24 am #

      Evelien, please see my response to Amanda above for help in discerning your spiritual gifts.

  8. Amy Hunter March 28, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    Natalie, Thank you!! My husband and I were just talking about recognizing our gifts for what they are. Your posting brought even more clarity and encouragement!

  9. Kait Palmer March 28, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    Great post. Sometimes I feel I like all different shoes but don’t have a favorite. Jack of all trades and master of none. I’m hoping once I can be a stay at home mom and not try to seem all career-minded online (disadvantages of having your boss and co-workers be your friends on facebook and read your blog), I can focus on the things I’m passionate about and develop those.

  10. Rebekah March 28, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    How DO you share the Trinity with your toddlers? My dd (age 4) wonders why there are 3 Gods? I’ve never told her that. Maybe she overheard my dh and I talking about how my MIL is starting to explore the idea that there’s only 1, not 3. It’s really confused me too because I’m well-grounded in Scripture and see the 3 Persons everywhere! I don’t mean to encourage a theological response, so if you want to email privately, thanks!
    Thank you for the great analogy on shoes. I will share it with a close friend too and see if I can study out what/where I am. This is not the first post I’ve read this week on being comfortable with your strengths/weaknesses. I love the blog world where we can grow and learn together, even though we’ve never met.

  11. Jenn March 28, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    I love that strangely enough blogging has seemed to pull God’s community together all around me. Thanks for these wonderful thoughts. I am 33 and always marvel at how much I continue to grow into my own unique person. I wear rounded toe flats in every color and even wore them through the pointed toe phase the world went through. God Bless and thanks!

  12. Colleen Sleadd March 28, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    Wow, this post was immensely encouraging to me. I have never thought of it this way before. “No wonder I’m so bad at housework.” As a young mom, I look at other women and wish I “had it together” like they did. And though I need to work on my weaknesses, I have been ignoring my strengths. I think we like the same “shoes”. Thank you for using your gift… it blessed my socks off! ;-)

  13. Melissa March 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    Oh boy. This one is a tough one. First off, I love Keen comfy shoes because I like to wear flat, comfortable, wide shoes. But, I still put on those “other” shoes that squeeze the toes. *ugh* I really enjoyed reading this. But I’m stuck. I’m stuck wearing new shoes that I feel need to be worn. The SAHM shoes (quitting a very fun job just 7 months ago). It’s never been my dream to be a SAHM but believe it to be the right thing to do. People say I made the right choice, so I hope I will be able to look back and agree… and see the benefits of my labor. I love my family, but am I wearing the right shoes? Who am I now? Is it still “me”? Maybe my shoes are still flat and wide… very practical. But, I need to find the “comfortable” in being a SAHM.

    • Natalie April 3, 2011 at 2:03 pm #


      I can completely relate to you! It’s not a great feeling. Lindsay had some great recommendations above in her responses. You might start there.

      I would also add that you need to root, root, root yourself in scripture, so that even in your most strained, awkward, and difficult moments, you know for sure you are following God on the path he has for you…make sure it is him you are listening to and not what other people say.

      For me, two other factors have really helped me settle comfortably into my roles: trial and error, and time.

      I keep trying different approaches to Bible reading, housecleaning, cooking, marriage, hanging out w/ my kids, etc. Within the boundaries of scripture, I am free to do what works best for my personality, and my marriage too. I feel more and more freedom to scrap what doesn’t work. As long as it’s loving, and within God’s jurisdiction.

      Time too has helped me a lot. Sometimes we feel all this pressure to be perfect in our roles, because they are God-ordained. I think sometimes God doesn’t mind if it is hard or awkward for us, so that we will learn to rely on him. Once I accepted this, I didn’t feel like such a failure, but found a lot of freedom to enjoy go before him over and over for help! My favorite Psalm: “Hear, O Lord and answer me, for I am poor and needy.” Ps 86

  14. Sarah March 28, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    A huge struggle for me is “wearing my own shoes loud and proud”. Thanks for the encouragement!

  15. Karyl March 28, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    Wow! Love your blog!

  16. Hannah @ Treasuring It Up March 28, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    God knew I needed to hear this – especially today! I am finally, FINALLY beginning to notice the “shoes” in which I am most comfortable (Literally it would be Crocs…which would also mean my shoes aren’t in fashion – hehe ;-) ). I would usually rather be translating Colossians or making forts in the living room than menu planning, decorating or exercising. I have to strike a balance, obviously I can’t just throw up my hands and say “Can’t! Won’t try!” but squishing my feet into some adorable designer boots will guarantee my tripping all over the place and slowing down the Kingdom work. Each shoe can be worn to glorify God in amazing ways!!! All are His gifts to us :-)

  17. Mandy March 28, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    Great post! I personally LOVE tennis shoes so that I’m always prepared to be active with my three kiddos. ;0) I love the way you tied in personal gifts to shoes…I may remember this for years to come when I put on my fave tennies!

  18. Becky March 28, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    Thanks for posting this, I struggle most with wearing my shoes “loud and proud” I know what they are and what to do with them but I guess my problem is that I don’t want to have the attitude of “look at me, Look what I can do,” when its God using my “shoes.”
    I constantly think of the verse “let your light so shine before men that others may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”

  19. Danielle B March 28, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    Wow,,, I’m w/Bethany on this one. I too have been struggling with this. Struggling to move into that place where I know I should be. But my “shoes” aren’t quite ready for it yet. Kind of those new tight shoes when you first get them, and you need to them out a little bit. I’m in that place of forcing my feet into those shoes, that aren’t quite ready for me. And I’m struggling w/staying where I am for now.

    Thank you for this post! it was a blessing to me!

  20. Daniella March 28, 2011 at 9:10 am #

    WONDERFUL post! So encouraging! You are right, how we can share the gifts we have to bless and encourage others, and also BE blessed and encouraged by the gifts our sisters in Christ have, since we are all given different gifts and different combinations of gifts!
    Ephesians 4: 15 and 16… “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
    Praise God for making us all so beautifully and uniquely, so that we can all work together with love to serve Him and the body of Christ!
    Thanks for the post!

  21. Bethany March 28, 2011 at 8:22 am #

    Thank you for sharing this! I have been struggling with “wearing my own shoes.” This was just the encouragement my heart needed today! =)