Most mannequins either have no feet (their legs end mid-thigh), or their feet have no shoes. And that’s fine. What does a mannequin need shoes for?

But when you exclusively shop off of mannequins, this creates a challenge.

Before my husband had me, he would enter a store and say to a salesperson, “I’ll have one of each thing your mannequin is wearing. In my size.” He figured the store probably put its most popular merchandise on the mannequin, so why bother shopping the racks and tables.

And I have to say, this strategy worked for him. He always looked nice and somewhat put together… except for his shoes. I noticed on our first date that he wore tennis shoes with khakis–a definite fashion faux pas in the 90’s. And then I noticed that his shoes for church were a little less dressy than his clothes.

And then he told me about a work party he had attended. It was at the beach, and some of his coworkers called him to come join their volleyball game in the sand. When he slipped off his shoes and socks, he noticed they didn’t blend in with the other shoes in the pile. He wondered if loafers might be the wrong footwear for the beach, and made a mental note to himself: “Buy sandals.”

But when he tried, there were no sandals on the mannequin, and he was stuck. What’s a shopperly challenged guy to do? Ask his shop-loving girlfriend. And so I’ve been selecting his shoes (and the rest of his attire) ever since. He’s relieved, and I love dressing him. It’s a good combination.

Some people try to adapt their behavior the way Ken shopped for clothes. They pick a mannequin (someone who seems to have it together) and model their choices accordingly. But ultimately this strategy breaks down. Either the mannequin is missing something, or you can’t get his clothes to fit you.

Christianity offers more than a shoeless mannequin. Sure, we have other godly men and women as our models, but we also have Jesus, who walked with us on the earth. Jesus left behind his Spirit as our inner guide, telling us what to ‘put on’ and ‘put off’, and igniting a passion inside us to pursue godliness and reject evil. The Spirit of Christ guides us through grief and betrayal and sadness and stress–all places the man of sorrows knows well, but the shoeless mannequin may have never been.

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