Summer Steps: Ordered in Holiness
By Connie Pshigoda
As a young girl growing up on a farm, summertime meant barefoot time –liberating my feet from the snugly fitting shoes I’d worn all winter. Early in the season, I learned to avoid the “sticker-patch.” I vividly remember the deep purple stains on my feet from playing under the mulberry tree. Now that I’m grown with a home of my own, I feel compassion for my mother and the much scolding I received for running through the house leaving purple footprints. Sorry, Mom!
During my professional career as a massage therapist, I began to observe feet in new ways. I learned that the average human foot is made up of 26 bones, 75,000 nerve endings, 33 joints, 125,000 sweat glands, 20 muscles, 114 ligaments, and 12 tendons. Our feet are our physical foundation, giving us stability and security. If we lose our footing, we lose our sense of balance. Feet are our physical mode of transportation. During these summer months your feet may support your tromping through gardens, running on beaches, or climbing mountain trails. The feet serve as the body’s sensors for disturbance. When you step on uneven ground, your feet send a message to your brain so you can adjust your balance. If the ground is hot, your foot sensors register that in your brain so you can move to cooler ground. And, if you step on something sharp, your foot’s sensory receptors send an urgent message to your brain to react! Now, that’s amazing, anatomical “arch-itecture.”
In my own spiritual walk, I’ve enjoyed searching God’s Word for instruction on living in holy health. Imagine my surprise and delight to find nearly 256 references to foot/feet in my Strong’s 21st Century Edition Bible Concordance. God has a lot to say about feet.
In the culture of that day, feet washings were an accepted household practice – especially when guests arrived. I love the story in Genesis 18 where Abraham is sitting by the door of his tent in the heat of the day, and three travelers approach. He shows hospitality in verse 4 by saying: “Let a little water be brought, and then you may wash your feet and rest under this tree” (NIV).
Later, in the Book of Exodus, God speaks to Moses from a burning bush, instructing him: “Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5, RSV). I think that God still wants us to slip off our shoes, wiggle our toes, and feel His presence in the nature that surrounds us. Summer is a great time to feel the warmth of the earth and the embrace of our Creator.
My favorite scripture comes from Isaiah 52:7: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings who proclaim salvation” (NIV). Perhaps I enjoy this verse because I live in Colorado where the majestic Rocky Mountains proclaim God’s greatness. This verse also mentions “how beautiful are the feet,” implying an attractiveness of the feet. It’s easy to neglect our feet and even consider them the lowliest part of our body. Simple daily attention helps prevent most foot disorders and restores and strengthens our feet.
Here are some quick and easy summer-sole-savers:
• A cooling, soothing pedicure to promote inner health as well as outward beauty. Hint: Add a few drops of lavender, peppermint, or tea tree essential oil to the water for a refreshing foot bath. A few drops of lavender oil added to your lotion or foot cream softens and heals cracked heels.
• Before beginning a summer hike, rub a few drops of peppermint essential oil on your feet to keep them cool. Massage the oil into your feet for improved circulation.
• Choose appropriate foot-wear for the occasion to prevent foot injury. Summer is sandal season, but sandals don’t fit every occasion; protect your foundation.
Summer is a bold and busy season with numerous activities that keep women on the run. I urge you to save a few minutes each day to find a shady place and sit for awhile; kick off your shoes and commune with God. Let His divine nature draw you in, calm your spirit, ease your mind, and restore your body. Let God’s Word come to life in your summer routine by:
• Extending a warm welcome and hospitality to summer guests (Genesis 18:4)
• Allowing summer’s rhythm to revive your relationship with your Creator (Exodus 3:5)
• Letting your beautiful feet carry you near and far in proclaiming the good news of Christ’s love, peace, and salvation (Isaiah 52:7)
J.M. Barrie, a Scottish journalist in the late 19th century, said: “Make your feet your friends.” This wise counsel is relevant in all seasons, but particularly in the barefoot season of summer. I pray that your steps will be divinely ordered as you stroll (or sprint!) through summer, and that above all, “you may enjoy good health” (3 John 1:2, NIV).