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  • Writer's pictureCharlie Barclay

Boots

“These don’t fit quite right.”


Image focused on the feet of someone wearing shiny black boots.

Have you ever had to wear someone else's shoes? Maybe you were just running outside quickly to get something out of the car. You might have just been throwing on some shoes to take the garbage down. There are times when you didn't wear the appropriate shoes for an occasion and you need to borrow a friend or family member's shoes. Whatever the reason, they feel...off.


They may not necessarily hurt your feet; they just don't feel like yours. They may be the same size, same style, even the same color as the ones you have at home. BUT, they just don't fit quite right.


It makes sense when you think about it. Think about the thousands, tens of thousands, or even...MILLIONS of steps those shoes have taken. According to Mayo Clinic, the average American takes somewhere between 1 and 1.5 MILLION steps a year. That's a LOT of steps. Imagine all the rocks, stairs, bugs, gum, and a zillion other things those shoes have stepped on. Each step making the shoe form and contour to the shape of the foot in it.


Is it any wonder that your foot, which is shaped differently and has different proportions, feels a little "off" in someone else's shoes?

You could take two pairs of the exact same shoes and give them to different people for a year and then have them trade. They would immediately know the difference. Their shoes have been fitted by time and experience to fit their own foot, not someone else's.


One winter quite a few years ago, around Christmastime, my wife and I went ice skating in Chicago at the outdoor ice rink with some friends. We had a great time laughing and watching one another fall and slowly make our way around the rink. When we were done, we all went to turn in our rental skates and get our shoes. When they brough my wife's shoes, she knew immediately they were not hers.


To the untrained eye, they were EXACTLY the same! Same brand. Same color. Same size. She could have worn them home and nobody in our group would have suspected they were a different pair of shoes. But she knew. Just by looking at them, she knew the scuffs and scratches that these shoes had that hers did not. She notices that the scuffs she had put on hers were noticeably absent on these. Bottom line, she knew that, although to most people they were the same shoe, they were clearly not HER shoes. She was not going to leave that skating rink without her shoes! We really started to think I was either going to carry my wife to the train or she was going to walk in rented ice skates!


If that's true for our shoes...how much truer is it about our lives?


Let me explain.


Your life is unique. Nobody in ALL OF HUMAN HISTORY has lived in this time and place in which you live with your unique perspective and skill set.

There may have been people who were gifted similarly to you, thought like you, or had the same passions as you.


Still -


You're a different pair of shoes. You have been created with a unique gift/passion mix. Your life experiences have formed and shaped your worldview in a historically unique way. Your victories and failures have formed and shaped your character and outlook on life differently than anyone else who has ever or will ever live on planet Earth.


So? Why does any of this matter?


It matters because I talk to so many people trying to live someone else's life and calling, but wonder why they feel unsatisfied, frustrated, confused, and stuck. It's like wearing someone else's shoes! You may grow up in the same time and place in human history as someone else, yet have a very different purpose for your life.


Steve jobs once said, "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life."


You are created to have a unique voice in the world.

This doesn't mean we don't learn from others or even look up to others that have done what we want to do before us. We just need to be careful not to think that to accomplish what we were made to do, we need to do it just like someone else did.


Have you been walking in someone else's shoes? Trying to live their life and their calling? Maybe it's time to put on your own shoes, with all their scuffs and scrapes, and see where they take you that someone else's never will.


By the way, my wife got her boots back. We were the last ones to leave the rink...but she left in her own boots, formed and shaped to her feet!

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