Sneaker Christians

NOTE: This was originally posted March of 2012 by Allyson McElroy

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. 1 Kings 19:18, KJV

(Elijah has just told God that he knows of no one left in Israel who still worships Him.  This is God’s response.)


Do you remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, the three friends in Daniel 3 who refused to bow down to any so-called gods?  They were 100% devoted to God (who, at the time, hadn’t died for their sins or blessed them beyond measure or walked in the fire with them).

Picture it: King Nebuchadnezzar had just made an image of gold and commanded everyone to bow to worship it once the instruments were played.  People everywhere are gathered around, crowding the public areas.  Right in the middle are Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  Let’s watch…

Cymbals crash, flutes play, trumpets blast.  The Nebuchadnezzar faithful bow in obedient worship.  Not the three friends.  They unabashedly, proudly stand tall.  Whispering arises.  Townspeople begin to point.  Surely the three misunderstood.  The King himself gathers Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego unto him.  “Don’t you know?  When the music starts you must bow down!  If you don’t, I’ll throw you in a pit of fire!”  I’ll save the end of the story for another time, but just know that the boys didn’t bow and God saved them.

Let’s pause here and bring this to modern day:

Jill Christian (could be you, could be me) is standing in this group.  The pressure is mounting to bow and the trumpets will sound any moment.  Jill thinks…

Wait!  There they are!  I hear them! 

I believe in God.  I am a Christian!  I can’t bow! 

But, the fire is hot. 

Oh, wait.  Is my shoe untied? 

I’d better bow down, er, I mean bend over and tie that…

The music stops.  Everyone stands back, waiting for the next blast of the horns, which happens…right…now:

No!  Not again!  Everyone is bowing except me!

The fire – I’ll be thrown in!

Wait a second… did I double knot that? 

I’d better retie that shoe to make certain.

Let me bow down, er, I mean bend over and tie that…

Wow.  This hits home for me.  How many times have I tried to blend in just so I wouldn’t stand out?  Is that what God’s called me to do?  Proverbs tells us many times that our ways may seem pure to us, to others – but God knows our heart.

Lord, let me never be a sneaker-tying Christian.  Forgive me for trying to blend in.  You’ve called me to be a peculiar person.  You’ve set me apart, sanctified me as I prayed you would.  Please do so again.  Let me stand, boldly, for you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Pick 3


Picture this: It’s the day your new boss is coming to the office.  You’ve got the perfect dress picked out to impress and know exactly which necklace to wear.  You go to pick out the necklace and it’s tangled.  It’s not just tangled, it’s mangled with cheap, St. Patrick’s Day beads, the gold chain you haven’t worn since the 90s, and a lanyard from your last conference.  Excitement quickly turns to frustration and you wonder if you should just give up.

That’s how I felt about my life around 6 months ago.  I was so excited with where my life could be headed, but all the ideas in my head tossed around into a tangled necklace mess to the point that I couldn’t pick one from the other.

Can I tell you what I made myself do (yes – forced is a better word)?  I picked 3 surrounding my 1.


Let me explain.

The 1:
What would you (yep, I’m turning this from me to you) do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?  I don’t mean buy a lotto ticket or land on the moon.  I mean what would your in-five-years life look like if you did exactly what you believe in your heart that God wants you to do?  That He’s birthed inside of you?

Now say it out loud.  Now write it down.  That’s your 1.  That’s the 1 thing that the 3 below need to point back to & support, applaud, and accomplish.  For this example, we’re going to say “I’d be an executive with XYZ company, with a supportive and happy team.”

Pick 3:
There are financial goals, family goals, spiritual goals, career goals, vacation goals, sports goals, etc etc etc goals.  Now take a deep breath.  Pick 3 of those and write them down, leaving plenty of space between each one.

Did you write them down?  Do it.  Go on.

Now erase them because you did it wrong.  (bwah ha ha ha!)

Don’t just say “I want to lose weight.”  That’s generic and accomplishes nothing. You need to add a few words to that: SPECIFIC, BY, STARTING, SO THAT.

“My SPECIFIC goal is to lose 20 pounds BY running 1 mile a day STARTING tomorrow morning at 8:00 am SO THAT I can fit into the suit I want to wear to my job interview to eventually become an executive.”

There you go.  Now do that for other areas of your life – family, finances, spiritual life, etc.  Not all of them, tho.  Just pick a total of 3.


Once I did this I felt a huge burden lifted.  It was as though speaking my future out loud and planning the next few months of my life untangled all the ideas in my head and resulted in freedom.


The Unexpected Word of the Year

Several years ago I was challenged to pick a word of the year.  You’d think this would be difficult for my type-A, perfectionist brain to do in a short time, but each year the word has come to me so quickly as if dropped in my mind by God himself.

The most recent word was Be.  Be present for my family.  Be in the moment.  Be ready to listen.  Be ready to love.  Be.

For 2018 a word came to me so strongly and suddenly that, I’m not gonna lie, it invoked fear.  Yet the word itself doesn’t allow fear.  Trust.

While I didn’t need the word confirmed to me at all, God chose to do so.  We were driving through downtown Ada on our way to Braum’s for ice cream when Cole started the whole new year’s resolution conversation.

“Are most new years resolutions about losing weight or getting healthy?  I think mine will be to eat healthier,” he said as his nose moved in closer to breathe cloudy puffs against the cold car window.

I challenged him to think of a religious resolution too.  Again, as though God spoke straight to him for me, he said, “Trust God.  I’m going to trust God more.”

So here I am.  The end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018.  I already trust God, but I’m ready to lean in closer and step out farther into the waters of His word and His plan.