I found myself tugging at the legs, adjusting the waist, and pulling them down a bit while I filled my cart with all the things we needed and some we didn't need as well. (Maybe you know how this goes… you go to the store for three items but leave with thirty.) In my mind, as I tugged and adjusted and pulled and shopped, I tried to figure out why my jeans were so tight... "Have I gained weight? Have I been eating too many cookies? Too much bread? Too much salt? Am I bloated? Have I not been working out enough? Why are my jeans so tight?"
I felt as if I weighed five hundred pounds and as I stayed with that feeling, I began to feel down and frustrated and started thinking of how I should cut back a little, eat less, work out more, lose a few pounds, and so forth. And the more I thought about those things, the more depressed and disillusioned I became.
But then… it hit me. I remembered. I had just washed these jeans and instead of hanging them to dry like I normally do, I put them in the dryer to shrink because they had actually gotten too big for me. They weren't too small. They were too big. The truth was not that I had been eating too much or had gained weight or needed to work out more, the truth was simply that my jeans had shrunk.
So, in light of that truth, I made myself physically stop in the snack and chip aisle and look down at what felt like my five hundred pound body. In spite of what I felt or thought, I knew I needed to see and believe what was true. And what I saw was the healthy body of a forty-three year old woman who once gave birth to two children, not necessarily skinny, but relatively slim and most definitely NOT five hundred pounds.
Without even realizing it, how easy it is for us to be swept up and carried away by all of our many thoughts and feelings. Yet, most of the time, our thoughts and feelings can't be trusted because they come and go and fluctuate depending on our moods and experiences. Not to mention that every day we're bombarded by the voices of the world, our flesh, and the enemy. It's a slippery and dangerous slope when we embrace every thought and feeling we have as truth. I wonder just how much freedom and life we'd experience if we learned to discern what was true and turn from what was false. How would our days play out differently if we brought our many thoughts and feelings before God and asked him to show us the truth? And what joy and peace and rest would we know if we aligned ourselves with that truth, his truth?
Philippians 4:8 says, "Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about."
As I walk with God, I'm learning there's great value to the practice of checking in with my thoughts throughout my day and to paying close attention to what I'm thinking and feeling and believing. As I pray for wisdom and discernment, if I find that my thoughts and feelings don't fall in line with what's true, what God says is true, or they don't bring life, then I reject them. I release them and give them over to Jesus and carry on. Though it's a practice I'm continually growing in, it's saving me much stress and heartache and wasted time and energy. It helps me live free and stay free. Jesus said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free," (John 8:32) and I so deeply want truth and the freedom it brings.
"I know that you want truth to be in my heart.
You teach me wisdom deep down inside me."
"I think; therefore I am."
"Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth."
"We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."
~2 Corinthians 10:5
"The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace."