I know what it feels like when a cow chews its cud. Really!
We owned cows for a while. They would stand and eat grass for hours, but sooner or later we would see them lying in the field, chewing the cud (the partially digested grass that returned from their first stomach, so they could finish chewing it).
Well, now I feel like I have experience with this process.
I have been eating celery when I need a snack. Celery is supposed to help detox your liver and is just generally good for you. I like celery, so I thought “Why not?”
Some stalks of celery are really tender and easy to chew. There are some, though, that require a substantial amount of chewing. So, as I am driving down the road eating celery, a stalk like this turns into something that resembles a hard piece of chewing gum in my mouth. It reaches a stage where it just doesn’t get any smaller. I chew and chew until I finally have to swallow the lump (I’m sorry if this is too much information), just like the old cow in the field.
The lump is not appetizing, but I have to get rid of it.
As I thought about this, it struck me how I ruminate on thoughts sometimes – thoughts that I would be better off letting go. They don’t start out too bad, but they don’t go away. Things like, “I can’t believe she said that”, or “I wonder if I they thought I looked silly”. Or maybe, “I just can’t do anything right”. These are just a few examples; there are many others that come up during a day. Thoughts that condemn and pass judgment – on myself and others.
Inconsequential and petty thoughts. I worry with them and chew on them until they impact my life in a negative way.
God knew this would be an issue for us humans. That is why He gave us some guidance in His word.
In Philippians 4:8, Paul writes “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
The way I read that, it sounds like a command, not a suggestion. It gives me the idea that I need to control my thoughts and not spend time chewing on the bad ones. I am to be purposeful in my thinking, because my thinking affects my doing. This is further addressed in II Corinthians 10, verses 4 and 5.
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Patterns of thinking can become strongholds my life, affecting my outlook and my witness. God tells me to be proactive in my thinking, to take charge. I don’t have to be ruled by every whim or idea that flits through my brain. When I find myself chewing on a negative thought, it is time to bring it under His control. This includes choosing to think on things that are good and right.
This isn’t a Pollyanna approach to life; it is a way to keep my thought life healthy.
So, just like the cow with the cud, sometimes I need to swallow and move on.