Fashion or Comfort? By Jo Russell

A woman’s scream coming from the shoe department pierced the quiet atmosphere of the large retail store.

Sprinting over to her friend, Clare, Susie cried, “What’s wrong?”

Clare had been doing nothing more dangerous than trying on shoes. Clare’s latest choice was a pair of four-inch heels decorated with an acrylic heart-shape. When she stood up in the open-toed shoes, the woman gasped and then screamed. Clare limped back to a bench, easing herself down. “I think I pulled a muscle!” She paused as she regained her composure. “Susie, how do you think those shoes look on me?”

Though Clare had always been willing to make sacrifices as a Fashion Diva, Susie was the Queen of Comfort. Oh, how Clare suffered for fashion! Her great look often only survived for a short period of time because of discomfort. But at one and a half seconds, the acrylic sandals set a new record. Clare bought them anyway.

Susie was enjoying the shopping trip as she was inspecting the shoes on display. With her large feet, she could never find her size at stores. “Look, you can use these pointy little numbers for killing cockroaches in corners – or for self-defense!” Susie commented as she picked up leather pumps on display. She checked another pair, “Maybe these could do double duty as a hammer for quick home repairs!”

“Susie, you could probably use a fashion update, and it doesn’t even have to be in shoes!” Clare suggested. “I know you can’t find your size in stock, but the grungy sweatshirt, green knee-high wool hunting socks and hot pink Crocs are out!”

Comfort and women’s fashions seem to be on opposite sides of the spectrum.

Yet we all need comfort in the highs and lows of life. New shoes won’t do it–nor sweatshirts and fuzzy slippers during the winter. Not even fluffy fleece pajama bottoms will satisfy the needs of our souls. When it comes to a need for comfort, we may not find it in friends or family. Often, we feel alone. But we are not.
Our comforter is always there: God.

Think on this famous passage from Psalm 23: “I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” What is the significance of the staff? Jesus called himself “The Good Shepherd.” A shepherd used the staff for defending his own from enemies, for representing his authority, guiding and nurturing the sheep, and as a walking stick. Creating a word picture of God’s care for us, his sheep, Jesus told the parable of losing one sheep, leaving the ninety-nine in an open field and looking for the lost sheep until he found it. [Luke 15:3-7]. Jesus said there is much rejoicing in Heaven when lost sheep are found. They are the people who turn back to God.

God is still always present in our need for comfort and joyful in our relationship with him.

But the well-known derivative “comfortable” may not apply to fashion or a relationship with God. Like a good shepherd, he keeps his sheep from harm, but also pushes their limits. They may walk further than they think they can, eat less than they think they need, or learn something they didn’t think they needed to know.

That is the same with us. God does push us beyond what we believe are our limits. That brings out the best in us, because there is no limit to a growth spurt with God as supervisor. He makes it work for good – ours and His.

Is fashion giving you the style and comfort you seek – or are you ready for the warm embrace of God’s assurance each day?

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]

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