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—

 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.


8 Responses

  1. I pray that God will always open my eyes to what He wants me to do and that I always accept the challenges He gives. I pray to not always choose the comfortable route but the way God nudges me toward.
    Thank you for your great inspiration and insights.
    May God Bless you greatly, my friend.

    1. Thank you, Debbie. You have such a beautiful heart for God; Your desire to accept God’s challenges and devotion to him inspires me.

  2. One of your best ever posts ever. Who doesn’t struggle with old shoes, new shoes. The closer I live with my Lord, the more the old thoughts fade. I feel Him walking beside me (in His old comfy sandels maybe) directing my thoughts and focus away from myself and onto others. The poem was so, so, no words- maybe unique. As always, thank you for your beautiful thoughts Jane. Love, Judy

    1. Thank you for another encouraging comment, Judy. Like you, I feel Jesus walking with me. Very gently, he speaks to me. My thinking is more and more in sync with his. My ability to write poetry is his gift–just like your ability to write music. Have you written any lately? I’d be thrilled to hear you sing, again. Love, Jane

  3. Doing some cupboard cleaning myself. It can be a daunting task so thanks for such encouraging words! GOD bless you for sharing spiritual insights so clearly.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Joanne. I’m grateful for any spiritual insights God gives to me. I feel encouraged by your words because I always pray that my writing will be clear and easy-to-understand.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Cori! It was very nice of you to respond. May God bless you with peaceful thoughts, today.

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