Faith & FamilySoul Pondering Saturdays: Bundled Up with Bare Feet November 30, 2013First of all, I have to say thank you for the amazing response and sweet comments that y’all left on my last Soul Ponderings. It is such a scary thing to put your heart out there like that and hearing that it touched some of you in some way and hearing your encouragement and advice back is exactly what I envisioned with this series. I know that I didn’t post one last Saturday and there’s a reason for that. When I first started this series, I promised myself that I wouldn’t seek inspiration and just post something because I was supposed to. I promised myself that I would only post something that I really felt God had placed on my heart to share. And that is a commitment that I make to you, readers. My goal with this series is to share what God has taught me over the week. Not what I’ve researched and brainstormed. So, in the future, if there isn’t a post, it’s because I don’t feel like God has given me a specific story to tell. Okay, let’s clarify that. If I’m trusting and really listening, there will ALWAYS be a story from Him to tell. But sometimes (because I’m human and such), I know I will let life choke out His voice and I promise y’all that I will not post out of that moment. Now, back to the story at hand… Last week, I was drowning in busyness, as I’ve spent most of my time lately. I felt the layers and layers of obligation, roles, and commitments choking out my heart and soul. I was going to post about that, but it kept feeling forced and I kept feeling like I would be being fake. I was drowning in busyness and I was going to talk to others about how to rise out of that? I needed someone to tell me how to rise out of that. I felt like God kept saying, “No, that’s not the story you are to tell,” with every thought I had. And so I didn’t post and I waited. And as He always does, God blew me away with something that rocked my soul the very next day. Maybe He was just waiting for me to say, “Okay, I’m done trying. Show me what You want me to see.” Last Sunday, it was thirty degrees outside when I left for church. I was bundled up in a sweater, thick wool coat, socks, and boots and was still shivering. I got in the car, turned on my heated seats and pulled out of the driveway, my hands already burning from being exposed to the cold. I know those of you who live somewhere much colder are laughing at me right now, but it was cold, y’all. I headed towards church, angry at the stupid heat that took five minutes to warm up and shivered the whole way. Our church is in the center of downtown Greenville and as I got just a few blocks away, I noticed someone out of the corner of my eye. They were walking with their head down on the sidewalk to my right. I slowed as I approached a coming stoplight and took a closer look. It was a man, who appeared to be homeless. He was bundled up in a coat with a hood and was carrying five duffle bags, which I assume were filled with everything in the world he owned. He was walking slow, as if carrying a very heavy load and his head was down staring at the sidewalk as he took each step. But that isn’t the part that made tears stream down my cheeks. I noticed that below his coat, he was wearing shorts and slide sandals. His legs and feet were red and blistered-looking from the cold. They were totally exposed. As I stopped at the red light, he looked up and our eyes met for a moment. I couldn’t look away. Though tears were rushing, I couldn’t break his gaze. After a minute, he looked back in the direction he was heading and kept walking at his slow, steady pace. I hurried on my way to church, fighting tears and frustration with myself. It’s a perfect message at the time of Thanksgiving. I was “freezing” in all of my bundles and I only had to be outside for the one minute walk to my car and then to the church. This man could’ve spent the entire night on the street. With no socks, pants, or shoes. I felt grateful, but most of all I felt sad and heavy. I really struggle with living in my happy little provided for bubble and forgetting that there is suffering and pain all around me. When I’m reminded of that pain, it’s hard to not dwell on it and still be joyful. How do those two things coexist? I was pondering this throughout the church service and picturing that man bundled up with bare feet, fighting tears the whole time. And then I heard that still, small voice that dawns realization and astounds me every time. That is how you should come to Me. Bundled up with bare feet. I was really confused at first and then meaning rolled over me in waves. Last week, I couldn’t even write a Soul Ponderings post because I was so bundled up. I was covered in layer after layer of the world that consumes and all of its’ expectations and pressures. I was drowning in it. I knew that I had too much on me to really spend time with God and that was why Soul Ponderings wasn’t coming. In fact, that’s why I was becoming impatient with those around me and losing my joy. I kept trying to take off the layers and shake off the busyness so that I could “get myself right” before coming to Him. I was aware of my need for some quiet time before the Lord, but I felt like I needed to “fix” myself and get rid of the pressures and busyness I was feeling first. And that’s why this message hit me between the eyes. He wants our layers. He wants us bundled up so tight we can no longer breathe. In fact, that’s when we need to run to Him most of all because we can no longer handle it on our own. But He also wants us with bare feet. He wants us exposed. Hearts raw and wide and ready to lean on Him and let ourselves be embraced and let the suffocating bundles be unwrapped. I really finished processing this in the car on the way home from church and I just sat there, teary and in awe. I had been trying to come to Him all week, but I’d either been trying to rid myself of the bundles or I hadn’t taken off my shoes. I was either trying to do it all on my own or unwilling to really give it all over to Him. And I came to Him for the first time in a long time, bundles and all, but finally with my feet bare. And though it sounds cheesy, peace washed over me and I felt light for the first time in weeks because I had finally been unwrapped and someone else was now carrying my bundles. And you know the craziest part? My feet were bare, my bundles were gone, but all I felt was peace and warmth.