By Rae Lynn DeAngelis

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”(Exodus 3:5)

The last time I read the account of Moses and the burning bush, I wondered about God’s unusual request to have Moses remove his sandals before coming any closer.

While meditating on this thought, I was reminded of the year 2002—the most transformative time of my life so far.

By most standards, I was living the American dream: married to a loving husband, mother of two great kids, a beautiful home, terrific friends. I was even living my own personal dream of getting to be a stay at home mom while caring for my family.

Even though I had all these wonderful things going on in my life, I still felt like there was something was missing.

I was raised in the church and worshiped on Sundays, but I didn’t start seeking God with all my heart until my mid-thirties. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

By age 36 my relationship with God grew more intentional. I was like a sponge, soaking up every last drop of teaching I could gather from Bible studies and sermon messages. I was even getting up extra early in the morning to spend time alone with God, uninterrupted.

I was amazed at how relevant the Bible was to my everyday life, even though it was written thousands of years ago. Day by day I grew closer to God and started to experience the many positive effects that result from a close relationship with Him.

Then, all at once, it was as if I hit a plateau. I wanted to go deeper with God, but for some reason I couldn’t get there.

God revealed to me the reason why. I had been holding a 25-year secret. And it was getting in the way.

It was as if God was saying, Rae Lynn, the place where you are standing is holy ground. Before you can come any closer to me, there is something that you must “take off,” something which is keeping you from experiencing the full measure of my presence.

The sandals were a symbolic gesture, signifying something profound: the purest encounters with God require total abandonment, complete transparency, and a removal of that which is unholy, profane, or has become a stronghold over our lives (something which we feel powerless to overcome on our own).

In addition to being a stronghold, my eating disorder behavior displayed a complete disregard for God’s temple—my body. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Deep down I knew what I was doing was wrong, but it wasn’t until the scales had tipped and my desire for a deeper relationship with God outweighed my desire for the love and approval of others that I had proper motivation to get well.

Is there something in your life God is asking you to remove, something that has kept you from experiencing the full measure of God’s life-transforming power?

Sweet friend, let Jesus help you remove those “sandals” once and for all.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 11:19)