I wear size 11 boots. Shoes too. True thing. Now you know what I only came to know in the past 25 years. Shoe size shouldn’t be so hard to nail down, right? Well, my shoe size confusion started when I was a wee lad growing up with feet. As far back as I can remember my Dad had a thing about shoe size. I recall him frequently mentioning that he wore size 9 in Justin boots. He proclaimed the message with a sense of solemn pride like an award recipient’s acceptance speech. I would think, “Someday I’ll wear size 9 Justin boots too. Then Dad and I can share the honor.” However, by the time I reached middle school I noticed that size 9 footwear were noticeably uncomfortable. As a matter of fact, as I moved into high school, size 9 became downright painful…until I got them “broke in” properly. To compound my shoe size confusion, my twin brother clearly nestled into a size 9 with no apparent side effects. Over the years, even though shoe sales people would measure my feet at size 11, I would assure them that I wore size 9, with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities thereunto appertaining.
So what broke the size 9 spell? Oh, just like a lot of fallacious beliefs, the truth eventually eroded the falsehood into a funny inside joke. By the time I reached my 40th birthday I had embraced my correct shoe size and I continue to rest in its comfort.
My shoe sizing adventure serves as an example of a dynamic I often see in counseling. People develop beliefs about themselves and the world in childhood that become increasingly unworkable in adulthood. For example, years ago I counseled a young man who described himself as “not that bright.” He had come to me for vocational counseling because he was frustrated in his present work. All of the career inventories pointed him to jobs requiring educational levels he didn’t possess. He told me he hadn’t attended college because he was the dumb one in his family. After a few sessions, I apologetically admitted that I was not convinced about his self-defined dumbness. In response to my request he obligingly agreed to take an IQ test to verify his claim and disprove my skepticism. His Stanford-Binet profile yielded a standard score of 145, placing him in the upper 99th percentile of humankind. His puzzled response was, “Yeah but my older brother’s IQ is 175. He is in Mensa. I knew I was not even close to that.” I assured him that an IQ of 145 was well within the genius range and he also easily qualified for membership in Mensa. He and his bro could definitely ride to meetings together. Still, he didn’t immediately reject the old belief (“I’m not that bright”) in favor of a more accurate belief (“I’m one of the world’s smart people”). But eventually he accepted the truth about his intellect and went to college. Last I heard from him, he had completed an advanced degree in Semitic languages.
Probably one of our most important developmental challenges in adulthood involves examining goofy childhood logic and replacing it with sober mature thinking. Everybody has archived obsolete mental artifacts from bygone days. Adulthood is a good time to take inventory and test those beliefs against reality. I’m not talking about blaming your parents or being mad at somebody for steering you wrong. Adults embrace truth and reject falsehood and then act on it. Jesus made it clear that truth sets us free (John 8:31-32). He also declared that He is “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6) followed by the truth about the Truth that “no one comes to the Father except through Me.” The basis of spiritual reality testing runs through Him. Stay close to the truth and the Truth as you audit the distortions of life. Living free from the pain and restriction of lies really is worth it.
But hey…it’s fortnight. Pull on your best boots and celebrate. Me? Oh I’ll be wearing size 11 Tony Lamas to step out tonight. They are real comfy. Cool looking too.