Red Chucks, Self-Confidence, and the Meaning of Christmas

Erik Cooper —  December 19, 2012 — 2 Comments

When my brother was 13, he was already into the latter half of a ridiculous growth spurt. If we said, “act your age not your shoe size,” he would sincerely reply “I am.” This two-year “stretch” not only gave me a much bigger little brother, but also provided for one of my favorite family memories.

Our whole family was in Washington D.C. for a few days of sight-seeing. My dad was attending a business conference but would catch up with the rest of us each afternoon as we walked the Naitonal Mall, toured the historic museums, and explored our country’s heritage. My brother’s feet had been growing so fast my folks could barely keep a pair of shoes on him. So after a morning of intense walking with his oversized digits crammed painfully into his undersized tennies, my not-so-little bro was pretty much done with the District of Columbia.

So my dad traded shoes with him.

A seemingly reasonable offer, until you understand my brother’s only functional footwear was a pair of bright-red canvas Chuck Taylor high-tops (which my dad proceeded to wear shamelessly around town with his dress pants and sweater). He looked ridiculous. But he solved my brother’s problem (and made a huge impact on me).

I’ll never forget that story. In that moment, my dad showed us the power of knowing who you are. Of being comfortable in your own skin. Of never letting your insecurities become the driving force for your actions.

Self-confidence allows you to become a crazy giver.


I long to embody that lesson. Some days I succeed, and others days are, well let’s just say, a little more about protecting the way I feel about myself.

And unfortunately, that’s the subtle, unspoken lens through which most of us live our lives. We’re quietly plagued with a core lie that we’re not good enough, that people are disappointed with who we really are, and that we need to earn our way to mattering in this life. These insecurities turn us into takers. Demanders. Into manipulators and showmen. No action can be truly directed outward, because everything is about protecting the fragility within.

If that’s you (and in some way it’s all of us), don’t miss the message of Christmas.

God was so confident in His identity He took wearing Chuck Taylors with your dress pants to a whole new level. He became human. And not some kind of muscle-milk, superhuman, Thor-like character. Weak. Vulnerable. A baby.

All so that you don’t have to wrestle with the insecurities of what you’re not any longer. Because of Jesus, you’re good enough. You matter. You don’t need to demand or try and earn it for yourself anymore because who you are has already been determined by what He’s given to you. No wages to earn. A gift to receive.

Your life can truly become a gift to the world, because everything you’ve been striving to protect, shore up, and earn for yourself was taken care of when “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.” (John 1:14 MSG)

So grab a pair of red Chucks and throw them on with your dress pants! A Savior has been born! And who He says you are trumps anything those lying, internal voices might be whispering. Walk with some swagger! He earned it for you. Take the gift!

Merry Christmas.

2 responses to Red Chucks, Self-Confidence, and the Meaning of Christmas

  1. You are truly a gifted writer. This was a wonderful story of being selfless. Blessings.

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