Like a tree
I am like a tree planted by streams of water. Streams that are nourishing and growing me. I am rooted and grounded in love.
Recently I've been challenged by the concept that we can treat our thoughts like objects. Meaning, in the same way that I can move my couch when I don't want it there anymore, I can "move" a thought out of my head before it gets planted there. I have the option to let the thought flow by without giving it weight or attention. Since it is an object, and not actually ME, I have control over it. (What?! I am not my thoughts?!! Hallelujah.)
Here's how it connects to the tree by the stream. I am the tree. The stream is life, energy, consciousness. The thoughts are floating by (like objects in the stream). Many of the thoughts will be poisonous to the tree. They will cause it to shrink back, wither, detach. These thoughts can be allowed to keep floating by. I (the tree) see them, and, for some strange reason I want to cling to them, but that would only damage me. So, to keep myself healthy and vibrant, I observe them and judge them unhelpful, and they float on by. These thoughts will be anxious, untrue, ugly, muddled or strife-producing.
But the health-giving, fruit-producing thoughts can stay! They can be sucked up by my roots. They can nourish and grow me. These thoughts are true, pure, lovely, peaceable, or praiseworthy. Only THESE thoughts get to stay.
Here's an example from last week. I was on my way to pick up Charis, my 15 year old, from her class. I guess there was an accident on the freeway because the traffic was absolutely horrid. I was supposed to get her at 2:30. I could see I was not going to arrive anywhere close to that time. I texted her, but she didn't respond. Then, the negative thoughts started flowing by. "She's going to be so worried! Why didn't I leave earlier?! I hate traffic! She's probably freaking out." But, I'd been thinking about this concept of thoughts being objects that I can move. So, every time I started to feel tense, I thought, "Relax and release, Kate. Look at what a beautiful day it is. Everything is so green today." Then the thought that my daughter was scared started to try to creep in. "Relax Kate. You don't know that is true. You can't know that. She just hasn't responded to your text yet." When I was 15 minutes late and she STILL hadn't responded, I had to strive to let the thoughts go by every couple of minutes. But, I did it! I kept telling my self what was true.
I didn't lie to myself and say, "she's not worried", because I didn't know if that was true (and there was a good chance it was true). But, why get tight, anxious, worried, stressed about something that might not be true. That couldn't make the traffic go by any quicker. Finally, once I was 20 minutes late, she responded to my text. She was fine. She had been talking with a new friend. Ahhh. Now the relaxing came easier. But, I was so thankful that I had chosen to feel peaceful even when I didn't know she was okay.
Like a tree, firmly planted by streams of water. Rooted and grounded in God's love. Letting the untrue thoughts flow by and taking in the truth. Filled up with all the fullness of God.
This is how I want to be. This is the path I am choosing. I can let my thoughts define me, or I can define my thoughts. By the grace of God, I can choose peace. I can let worry float on by.