Thursday, April 25, 2013

VELCROED Thought Patterns

The invention of Velcro hook and loop fasteners in 1948 was surely the answer to some busy mom’s prayer. Overwhelmed with tasks too numerous to name, she was suddenly freed from the incessant demands of toddler shoe-tying by the eventual application of George de Mestral’s brainchild to children’s shoes. Even the youngest of tykes was suddenly able to keep their footwear tight upon their feet. While some people complained that its use delayed the teaching of an important skill until later in life than was common in previous generations, millions of grateful mothers simply said, “So be it.” and went on about their busy days.

The trouble with Velcro strips is that one side or the other often fastens itself to something it shouldn’t, and they have a tendency to collect stray strings, lint and bits of fluff that are floating previously unseen about our lives, eventually becoming an unsightly mess that loses its original effectiveness and purpose.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that our minds do the same. Out of the multitude of thoughts we process on a daily basis, the negative ones seem to be caught and held more easily than their  positive counterparts. I noticed this especially one evening when events occurred that angered me just before bedtime. Over and over again my mind replayed the incident and the reactions of those involved, keeping me from the rest I so desperately needed. Knowing that I had to prevent the constant rehashing of those events, I repeatedly pulled my concentration off of those negative thoughts like the upper half of a Velcro fastener on a shoe. The problem was that I only completed half of the process. Left open and hanging with nowhere else to go, my thought life simply reattached itself to where it had been before, and went back to dwelling on the disturbing details of the earlier event. It wasn’t until I deliberately refastened my mind to something good that had happened earlier in the day that I was finally able to get some shuteye.

Thankfully God doesn’t ever leave us hanging with nowhere positive to go. Rather He fills our lives with blessings untold, and then gives us the Holy Spirit to remind us of those things when times get tough. We are responsible for selecting which way we’re going to allow our thought life to go. Sometimes it’s necessary to repeat the ripping-loose-and-reattaching process a couple of times before we get it right, but the process is important and becomes easier with practice.

One of the benefits of developing an attitude of gratitude is that you have easy mental access to a list of life experiences that reflect the ever-present goodness of God. He tells us in His Word to think about what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely admirable, excellent or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). Surely that is the pathway to peace…and a good night’s sleep!

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life…”
(Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV)


  1. Elaine, this post is excellent! Right now a couple of my loved ones are struggling with this very thing. Thank you for the vivid illustration!
    Pam at 2 Encourage

  2. Hi, Elaine. Visiting through A to Z, I am delighted with your insights and your way with words. I will be visiting often.

  3. Very nice analogy! Great choice for "V", BTW.


Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts! I appreciate your time. :)

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