A Briar Patch of Thoughts

My young daughter recently went exploring through our woods. I encourage my kids to get out, enjoy nature, and getting dirty. This day she didn’t get into mud and dirt as is her usual. When I saw her walking back to the house, she was waddling with her pants legs rolled up as high as she could get them. “What on earth” was my first thought. As she approached our back patio, I could see the issue clearly. This time, her fleece pants and sweater were absolutely covered in thorny briars instead of the normal dirt. They were poking her soft skin with every movement. She wanted her clothes off immediately! Once we got her changed, she sat on the back patio working for quite a long time picking these pesky, painful burs out of her clothes. She just happened to be wearing her favorite comfy pants in the woods, so getting them clean became a high priority. Once she was satisfied that she had picked the majority out by hand, this attention to detail mom(not really) threw them in the washer. It gets the dirt off …why not the burs?. They looked good as new when we folded them and put them back in her dresser. A few days later, she was at the breakfast table unable to sit still. She was wiggling and fidgeting all over the place. Finally, I asked her if she had ants in her pants. “No ,Mom,” she said.” But my pants are poking me real bad.” The light bulb whet off in my brain as it registered she was wearing her favorite pants. Honestly they looked perfectly clean, but the problem of the painful poking briars was still present. Isn’t this funny story a picture of the contrast between how we look on the outside and the thoughts we struggle with on the inside. Like the favorite fleece pants we look good on the outside. In fact, like my daughter, it is our priority to have a certain image. We have a belief that we can gain approval and even affection from others if we look beautiful. But, like the pants… our thoughts are a mess of briars poking at us on the inside making us hurt. With this reality in mind, look with me at a passage of scripture from The Bible. Isaiah 55:7-13 “7Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. 12For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” Verse 13 tells us that our thoughts can be like painful thorns. I believe the negative painful thought patterns ladies with eating disorders and negative body images have begin with being taught to think with our feelings and emotions. Often times not learning to process our feelings leads to distorted thoughts. For example, young ladies go through hurtful life occurrences. These occurrences provoke feelings of sadness, rejection, helplessness, anger, or sorrow. Then, the young lady begins to identify herself with the feelings. “I am helpless, I am a reject, I am depressed”. These distorted thoughts then lead to coping mechanisms such as eating disorders in efforts to strive for control and happiness. While on the outside she appears beautiful, trendy and the socially applauded thin, her insides are already a briar patch of pain. Or, she turns to food to attempt to numb her pain and becomes increasingly overrun with thoughts of helplessness and loss of control. She begins to further identify herself with her feelings often making body shaming comments. The passage in Isaiah can bring lasting answers for all of us ladies lost in a painful briar patch of ugly thoughts. First, Verse 7 teaches about Pardon. O’ how I desperately wanted pardon when I was deep in the thorny life of eating disorders. I wanted pardon from being perfect. I wanted pardon from being the mistakes I made. I wanted pardon from the feelings of rejection. Isaiah is teaching his people to turn from doing things their way. Do a 180 degree turn from the pattern of dysfunction, because on the other side is God. A Lord who will not only offer you abundant forgiveness, but also offer you mercy and love. Verses 8-10 Give a true picture of God’s thoughts and how they can give us growth and healing, like the rain to a withered plant we can blossom. Know the things that the world around you teaches are less than what God has for you. His words will not go void in your heart or mind. When you turn your painful thorny thoughts over to God he will replace them with joy and peace!

A video lesson link : https://youtu.be/Wzq1yMrBkMU

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