My Teal Capris and Cream Shoes Stance

Those are my teal capris and cream shoes.

I had really wanted things similar to those for quite some time.  I had been keeping my eye out for a cute pair of capris that actually fit, and I had been glancing at ads to find a pair of shoes that really matched my taste.  Then, while shopping at Kohl's the other day, I spotted those teal capris chilling on the clearance rack and purchased them.  I then ordered my cream shoes at a nearby kiosk.  Twenty-six dollars later, I was walking out of the store contented.


My teal capris and cream shoes have been hanging out in my room these last few weeks.  When I catch a glimpse of them out of the corner of my eye, I smile.
That's something I need to do more often.

By no means am I a pessimist, though.  In fact, if you were to ask people who see me frequently if I appeared to be one, they would probably look at you as if you were from outer space and reply that they often see me joking, laughing, and smiling.  Their response would be partially true, too.  

I do joke.  I do laugh.  I do smile.  
But that is not my day in and day out attitude.

I am infected by what I call "sigh mentality" because, you see, I am an analyzer.  This trait has got me into quite the troubled state.  I analyze practically everything.  I analyze the ad on my kitchen counter, the cashier at the grocery store, and the teenagers at the mall.  More specifically, I analyze those I interact with.  I look at what people are wearing, what they are doing, how they are doing it, why they are doing it, and what that all means about them.  I do this almost subconsciously, almost constantly.

Let me tell you, it's exhausting.

Not only do I analyze my surroundings, but I analyze myself!  This is where things get the most painful.  I draw conclusions from my analysis of those around me and form a standard of how I should be.  I feel I know how I should stand, talk, interact, dress, and spend my time.  I analyze my clothes, actions, words, habits, body language, progress, success, failures etc.  If I don't measure up to my standard, (and I seriously hardly ever do), I become all things ugly - irritated, crabby, depressed, frustrated. 

 I look at life and see an endless list of to-dos and personal failures.  I live with the constancy of a subconscious flaw.  I could be having a fun time laughing with friends, yet at the same time I am not fully engaged because I am trying to look cool and am angry at myself because I am trying to look cool.  There's always a flaw chewing away at the back of my mind that makes me feel again like a failure and self-condemned.  If I were to throw off my weird standards, I know that then I could have tons of fun, life, and energy.  Unfortunately though, I am currently living halfhearted because of the flaw always in my mind.  I could be having lots of fun right now, but I am preoccupied by what they think about me and by trying to give a favorable image of myself.  I rarely go full in and wholeheartedly embrace life.  Instead, I am plagued by I might have fun, but . . .

I have boxed myself in.  My box is not constructed from wood, cardboard, or concrete though; the very walls that trap me in are composed of my own observations.  In between each piece are the feelings of condemnation from failing to live up to my standards and of fear of failing again. These self-condemning thoughts are such as:  If you do that again, you are being stupid.  You're wasting time.  You're dilly-dallying.  You're being lazy.  You're being selfish.  You will never get past this.  You failed again. You look like a bumbling idiot.  You are a bumbling idiot!  I sit, day in and day out, inside these walls.  I sit analyzing my every thought and action and condemning myself for my every thought and action because I didn't meet my standards.  I never satisfy myself.  My faults and failures are perpetually before me. You should have talked to that girl.  You should have spent less time worrying about school.  You shouldn't have wasted energy by being consumed by friends and their opinions of you.  Then you could've been productive and happy.  Then you would've been effective for God, joyful, and fun to be around.   But you didn't.  But you're not.  But your wasting your life.

I'm afraid, afraid to waste my life, afraid to mess up.
 Yet, I feel like I am wasting it and I am messing up.

Thus I sit in my box, condemning thoughts weighing me down and fear of failing again to measure up to my own standard keeping me constrained.
I look at the world and sigh.
I need freedom.

In my quest for this freedom these last few weeks, I have been searching my heart and pouring everything inside it out to God nightly.  As I verbalize my internal thoughts and feelings to God on a daily basis, He, ever faithful, has been revealing truth to me.

He's revealed that I need to put on my teal capris and cream shoes stance.  This stance is a three part adventure I am embarking upon throughout April.  I'm breaking out of my box, my "self-box" in reality.  Inside of it, I am concerned with me - how well I am living life according to my analyzed based observations.  That means most waking thoughts are about me, pleasing myself, and that is not right.  

I'm breaking out of my box.

I've tried breaking out by other means before, and all I end up doing is condemning myself more.  But this time, I am breaking out through somebody else's power.

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).

The goal of my April adventure is finding that it's not about me and living accordingly.  That means I can stop worrying and being so consumed with my actions!  I don't need to worry about if I can get out this time and about what will happen to me if I don't.  For, I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer Deborah who lives but Christ through her.  The life I now live is by faith in the son of God (Galatians 2:20).  So, I live by faith as I live out the rest of my April adventure below.

#1) Keep my head up and smile
I am going to have an underlying sense of positivity.
Instead of having an underlying attitude of "there's always a flaw...," and taking life so seriously, I am going to get real to the truth that Jesus is the Victor and cheer up!  That gives me an underlying sense of assurance and hope because through His victory, I have personal victory.  Accordingly, I am going to hold my head up and do as Phillipians 4:4 says "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice."  After looking back at the Greek meaning of the word "rejoice," I found that to rejoice in this way means to be cheerful, i.e. calmly happy or well off.  This is the underlying positivity that I must have.  
I am calmly happy because I have victory.

#2) Renew my mind
Romans 12:2a "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind"  I must "...destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ" (1 Corinthians 10:5).  Every analytical thought I have, I must strain through my filter: "...Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worth of praise, think about these things." (Philippians 4:8).  Every thought, if it is allowed to find a dwelling in my mind, must pass this test.  You will always be consumed by your failures.  True?  Uh-un.  "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail." (Lamentations 3:22).  I disgust myself.  Lovely?  Definitely not to me!  I wish that girl would be excluded.  Honorable?  Yeah no!  Further, I must be proactively fill my mind with truth through the Bible, songs etc.

#3) Find joy
Philippians 4:6 "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be  made known to God."  With thanksgiving.  After already asking God to do a work in me giving and giving my anxiousness to Him (because worrying is not commendable), I must find things to fill me up with thankful joy to my King.  I must seek the beauty even amidst the broken.  These pieces of joy that make me smile, laugh and praise God will replace my condemning and analyzing.

This is my April adventure.
I am stepping out of my box into Jesus's arms.
Trusting that He will not let me drift back into my "self-box" again,  I embrace Jesus, the Word, and all that He says.
I am calmly happy in my victory.
I am taking every thought captive.
I am discovering joy.

You don't have the strength to do this, Deborah.  That's right.  I don't.  But I know someone who does.
"I can do all things through him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13).

I can do this.  I will do this.  
I refuse to hold back any longer.  I am letting loose.  I am throwing off my chained up stance from this analyzing, and I am stepping out of my box.  I am taking a deep breath and jumping into life wholeheartedly.  I am releasing fear's tension and relaxing.  I am losing myself to Christ and unlocking a whole new world.  I am no longer acting according to my assessments, but from the heart.
Freedom.  Carefreeness.  Boldness.
I can do this.  I will do this.

Today, I am putting on my teal capris and cream shoes stance.

Because it's not about me.
It's all about my Savior.

I'm living all through Christ.

 © 2013 Deborah Hope Shining


I definitely don't want this to be a monologue. What are your thoughts? Questions? Ideas?