You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Surely you’ve heard the expression “red letter day.” But do you know the origin and meaning of the phrase?
The expression “to have a red letter day” developed in the early 1700s from the long-term practice of using red ink to indicate high days and holidays on church calendars. In a year dominated by black-inked days, these few were boldly proclaimed in bright red as the most special, most memorable, and most joyful days in a Christian’s life.
Red-letter days were holy days. If I had lived in 1705 my calendar would have had them all scheduled and marked in advance. But today my calendar records red-letter days as they happen. They are those unscheduled days where God takes out a red pen—no, more like His thick red marker—and boldly edits my black-inked expectations.
Well I recently had a “red shoes day” instead of a red-letter day. You see, the shoes in my closet have always been black, brown, or white (with the occasional renegade cream or navy). My shoes are practical and unobtrusive. Just the way I like it.
Occasionally one of these oh-so-functional pairs of shoes wears out, and I have to shop for a replacement. So I went looking for a black sandal with certain criteria in mind. Comfort was number one. Number two was that they not draw any attention to my feet—just serve their purpose and shut-up about it. I had no trouble finding them. There was a sea of practical black sandals to choose from.
Then…I saw them. Glaring, audacious, and oh-so-red. I wanted them.
I felt guilty looking at them. It was like somebody had put a slice of double chocolate triple fudge cake in front of me. But I did the “right thing” and asked the salesclerk to bring me a pair to try on in brown. She came back with a box and said, “We don’t have your size in the brown shoes; the only ones we have in your size are the red shoes.”
And she proceeded to open the box before me.
I was trapped. I said a quick prayer. I didn’t want to give in to temptation. That’s what it had to be! Why in the world, at 46 years old would I suddenly have a desire to put on red shoes? I was a grown woman. I was practical. I was forty-six, for heaven’s sake!
So I rationalized. I’ll just try them. I don’t have to buy them…Big mistake.
I put them on and turned hesitantly to the mirror. I couldn’t believe those shoes were on my feet! I sheepishly told the salesclerk that I had never ever owned a pair of red shoes.
I think the Holy Spirit prompted her to say what she said next…”Well it’s about time you did then!” she exclaimed.
I almost cried right there. She was so right. So right! My shoe closet was an indicator of how I had chosen to live my life. Focus on the practical. Be responsible. Act like an adult. Be unobtrusive. Be a black-brown-, and white-shoe Christian!
The Holy Spirit took those red shoes on my feet and used them to unlock a long barricaded room in my heart. I loved them. They delighted me. They made me feel so joyful and free. And I wanted everyone to notice them! I had to share my enthusiasm with the shoe salesclerk before I left the store. She will never know how much God used her to minister to me through that sale.
For the rest of the day, I stuck my feet in everyone’s face. “Look at my red shoes! See my red shoes?” I drove my husband and teenage daughter crazy as I kept repeating every few minutes, “I love my red shoes!”
Why? I love them so much because they opened my heart to a new level of love for Jesus. Childlike delight in Him. And I don’t care who sees it. As a matter of fact, I want people to see it. Just like I want them to notice my red shoes, I want them to notice the free-flowing liberty in my spirit to express the joy of knowing and loving Christ.
No more just black, brown, and boring. My life is meant to be an expression of red-shoe delight in God!
Will you let God take out a red pen and edit your black-inked expectations today?
Do you have your red shoes yet?
Linda blogs about red shoes and displaying God’s glory at Sunny Side Up
(Extended version reprinted with permission, Copyright ©2011 Group Publishing, Inc. group.com)
Check out the “red shoe” gals at The Sanctuary Church in Santa Clarita, California who were so inspired by this story they created a “red shoe” theme for their ministry for 2011!
Win a free copy of the devotional book by Group Publishing this story is included in, God So Loved the World…That He Created Chocolate!
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