Comfortable Shoes and “Comfortable” Thinking

When I find a comfortable pair of shoes, 
I wear them,
And wear them,
And wear them,
And wear them.

I never want them to wear out;
But after awhile
They do wear out.

Then I look for a pair of shoes exactly like those comfortable old shoes.
I look,
And look,
And look,
And look.

I’ve never been able to find a pair of shoes exactly like my comfortable old shoes.
I’ve always been told,
“No one makes them anymore.”

But today was different!
I found a pair of shoes that looked
Not exactly,
But almost exactly,
Like my comfortable old shoes.

I tried them on. I bought them. I went home as fast as I could.
I went in the house.
I took my new shoes out of the box.
I looked at them, and then—

I put my comfortable old shoes back on my feet.

 @ 2001 Jane Ault 

It’s time for spring cleaning, and my clothes closet is one of the things that I intend to declutter. As my poem suggests, I do have a few pairs of old shoes—among them are black suede sandals and tan leather slip-ons.

Both pairs look unsightly, to say the least. The suede has been water-soaked and it’s stained beyond recovery. The leather is scuffed, wrinkled, and faded.

Yet, because they are so comfortable, I don’t want to throw out these shoes. Maybe I won’t. I’ve put them in the trash can before, but they somehow creep back into the house when I’m not looking.

I don’t think I want to keep them around much longer, because (as my husband reminded me, in his say-it-like-it-is fashion) old shoes have one characteristic in common: They stink! However, we might be so used to the noxious odor that we no longer notice it.

That reminds me of our thinking. Thoughts that we’ve carried around in our heads for a long time usually feel comfortable. At first they might not have been. They didn’t seem to fit us. They might even have felt painful. But we’ve “worn” them a long time and now they feel like comfortable old shoes. Even if they stink— they’re unhealthy and untrue—we don’t notice it. And we resist giving them up.

Types of comfortable (but stinking) old thoughts include—

  • Thoughts about ourselves that are out-of-line with who God created us to be and declares that we are; for example, I’m unlovable; I’m not talented; I’m not creative
  • Thoughts about God that prevent us from receiving the good things he wants to give us; for example, God isn’t fair; God doesn’t like me; God is against me or I don’t deserve ______________because . . .
  • Thoughts that prevent us from accomplishing the good things God’s designed for us to do—things that will bring us joy and fulfillment; for example, I’m not smart enough; I don’t have enough faith; I tried and failed

 Here are some examples of healthy and true thoughts regarding

1) Who God created us to be

  You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. (Psalm 139: 13-15 NLT)

2) What his attitude toward us is

God is sheer mercy and grace;
    not easily angered, he’s rich in love.
He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold,
    nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve,
    nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. (Psalm 103:8-10 MSG)

3) How we can accomplish the things that will bring us joy and fulfillment.

  And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV)                                                              


 Invite God to show you these things:

1) One comfortable old thought that is unhealthy and untrue.

2) How that thought is preventing you from obtaining a good thing.

3) What healthy and true thought you could replace that thought with.

Then, if you want to, ask God to give you the courage to “throw out” that stinking thought and receive in its place the healthy and true thought.

Like stinking shoes that sometimes mysteriously creep back into the closets of our house, those comfortable stinking thoughts also mysteriously creep back into our minds. So, we might need to throw them out more than once.


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