(I recently came across this post that I had written but never published several years ago. It made me laugh at my own foolishness, but it also freshly convicted my heart. It’s funny how God can use your own words to speak to you. How many times have I fallen into the same trap since writing this? Maybe not necessarily with Adidas shoes, but definitely with other things. It was a timely reminder, so I decided to edit and publish it. 🙂)
I got this pair of new shoes yesterday — sleek, black, Adidas sneakers with thick black ribbon laces. I’d been dreaming of a pair just like this for a while, but I’d never been able to bring myself to spend the small fortune that they cost. I prefer to buy secondhand whenever possible. My mom owns a consignment store and thrifting runs in my blood. So, when the opportunity presented itself for me to buy them at a fraction of the cost, you better believe I jumped on it!
I know it’s silly to get excited about something like shoes. Buuuuut, guys, these shoes are truly wonderful. In fact, I planned my whole outfit today around them today. And when I arrived at my college campus this morning, I felt pretty darn cool in my sweet new kicks. And I don’t feel very cool very often. With my frizzy curly hair, my round face, and my big glasses, I usually feel more dorky and awkward than anything.
So, I relished this feeling. But, as I was walking to my car after my last class, the Lord gently reminded me of something. No matter how brief, I’d been finding my confidence in these shoes. Isn’t that the silliest thing? I feel utterly ridiculous even admitting it.
Yet, in this consumer culture and digital age, how often do we do that? How often does our confidence depend on what we wear, drive, or own? How often is that where we find our identity? We place so much value on appearance. We’re always chasing the next thing, the next experience, or then next “like” to make us feel satisfied. We post filtered photos of ourselves and our material objects to feel validation. But guess what? Everything in this world is temporary. Shoes wear out. Experiences don’t last forever. Cars become outdated. Beauty fades. Posts become irrelevant. Even money can run out.
All too often, it seems like this life is a competition. Or maybe we just deceive ourselves into thinking it is. Who can look the best? Who can be the best? We make it a comparison game. And here’s a secret about comparison: You almost always lose. Because even if you win, there will always be someone better than you — physically, financially, intellectually, etc.
True confidence is not to be found in things. It’s not found in what others think or say about us. It’s not even to be found in self. It comes from knowing not just who we are, but Whose we are. True confidence must be found in Jesus, the unchanging one.
My worth is not found in my education. It’s not found in my job, my relationship status, or my social media accounts. My worth is not found in the clothes I wear, the car I drive, or the house I live in. It’s not even found in my skills or talents. It’s when I begin to turn to those thing to feel validated that I end emptier and more insecure than ever. My worth is found in Jesus Christ alone. He is the One who gives purpose, meaning and value to my life. I was made in His image and for His glory. It’s all about Jesus. I’m so thankful for that. Circumstances change and possessions come and go. But my God is constant, always the same.
I don’t want to find my value/confidence/identity in my possessions, skills, or talents, but rather in the One who gave them to me. May my life be one of not chasing material things, but of running after Jesus. May I not seek human approval, but God’s approval. May I not boast in myself, what I have done, or what I can do… but rather in Him and what HE has done.
(Edited to add: So what ever happened to those shoes? Well, I took them to Uganda with me where I actually hardly wore them due to the intense heat and dusty red streets. I wore them once, and it felt like my feet were baking in those solid black shoes under the intense equator sunshine. Eventually, towards the end of my time there, I needed rent money, so I sold them to someone for next to nothing. Seems like a fitting end. 😂)
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
“…for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”
“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of Him, you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’”
1 Corinthians 1:26-31