Stinking Thinking: Anxiety

Stinking Thinking: Anxiety

Stinking Thinking: Anxiety

Philippians 4:6-7 and Matthew 6:25-26, 31 and 33

Philippians 4:6
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication (humbly asking) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:25-26, 31, and 33
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not your life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather in barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.”

Stinking Thinking refers to the negative thoughts that torment us especially when we are HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired; thoughts such as a distorted view of God and self, negative thinking, justification, fear, and anxiety. We will address each of these topics so we can discern between the lies we have believed over the years and replace them with God’s truth. Our goal is to equip you so you can have victory in these areas.

I become anxious when I negatively project into the future without God in it. When I do this, I feel weak, hopeless, and discouraged. My head and eyes are cast down and I feel like giving up. But when I recognize I am looking inward, then I remind myself that my help comes from the Lord and I look up to heaven. God has promised us in His Word, that He will meet all of our needs. Are you not of more value than many sparrows? But unfortunately, I did know Him nor did I trust Him, as a result I have made some very bad decisions because I did not trust Him with my future.

I thought I could minimize my anxiety by trying to control everyone and everything. But I realized this was impossible to do and it was very frustrating and emotionally draining. I used to jump in to fix and rescue people because I would become anxious about all the what ifs. I was sinning against God by not trusting Him with my marriage, my children, my business, and ministry. I remember in my journaling, God telling me, “Get out of my way you are preventing me from working.” IN ALL CAPS, TOO. God was not happy with me. God showed me that my lack of trust in Him was a sin and putting others before Him was an idol. I repented and turned away from my sin and turned to God and now I am not anxious about anything, because I know God will provide for all my needs and my family’s needs as well. I am finally free.

Let me ask you, what are you trying to control?

Are you feeling anxious?

 

Blessings,

Toni

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!

Stinking Thinking: Justification—Justifying My Sin

Stinking Thinking: Justification—Justifying My Sin

Stinking Thinking: Justification—Justifying My Sin

Genesis 3: 8-13 and Proverbs 11:14b

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Stinking Thinking refers to the negative thoughts that torment us especially when we are HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired; thoughts such as a distorted view of God and self, negative thinking, justification, fear, and anxiety. We will address each of these topics so we can discern between the lies we have believed over the years and replace them with God’s truth. Our goal is to equip you so you can have victory in these areas.

I define justification, more specifically justifying sin, as the belief that I am making a right or reasonable decision, when in fact the opposite is true. I have heard almost every excuse to justify a woman’s choice for an abortion; I had several myself. I allowed the enemy to isolate me and to lie to me, just like he did to Adam and Eve when they ate the forbidden fruit and sinned against God. As a result of my sin, I rushed to make my decision and not ask for help or discuss it with anyone. It’s the one thing we as woman don’t ask for help with, why is that? We talk to our friends or family about other decisions we make, but why not this one? I believe the enemy immediately swoops in and starts flooding our minds with all kinds of chaos, coupled with lies, fear, and anxiety. This combination is overwhelming to our minds and we scramble to stop the noise in our heads so we can return to normal. I did not have my abortion until my second trimester, but I had my mind made up immediately I was going to have an abortion. I had to wait months to have my procedure because I didn’t follow protocol and ate before my first scheduled abortion so I had to reschedule. I had to make 2 abortion appointments! Perhaps God was giving me a way to escape, but I wasn’t seeking His counsel. Instead I felt justified in my decision to move forward with the abortion.

The reasons I used to justify my abortion were the following: I believed the lie that my baby would be severely deformed because I was doing heavy drugs, drinking excessively, and smoking 2-3 packs of cigarettes per day. I was still in college in Ohio with no job and I thought I can’t have a child now! I believed the father of the child would leave me to raise the child on my own. But the biggest reason was that I was afraid to tell my parents. I regret that I did not have the courage to admit to my parents that I made a mistake. I never gave them an opportunity to have a say in my decision because I took matters into my own hands. My fear and pride prevented me from telling the truth, I wish I would have told them, because I could have my 40-year-old son with me today. But I cannot go back and change my past, all I can do is learn from it and understand why this broken frightened woman could not tell her parents the truth. I remember when after watching the movie, “Unplanned”, I was at my laundry room sink and the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart, “Every child in the womb is mine,” tears filled my eyes and I replied, “I know Lord and I robbed you of the baby in my womb and I am so sorry.”

Sin is never justified. Looking back at our first parents, Adam and Eve. We see they pointed their finger at someone else to justify their sin before God. The exchange is quite interesting and we use the same tactics today. In Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit, God is calling to them, “Where are you?” God called Adam by his name wanting him to confess his sin but instead he justified his sin and accused the woman who God gave him, and Eve likewise accusing the serpent. Instead of taking responsibility for their sins, they blamed someone else. Their pride prevented them from humbling themselves before God and repenting of their sin. My pride prevented me from asking my parents and God for help in my abortion decision. Instead I listened to the devil, and I suffered for years as a result of my decision.

We are here to help you make life affirming God glorifying decisions in your lives. Proverbs 11:14b, “In the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Please reach out if you are struggling with making good decisions.

May I ask you a few questions?

What were your reasons for your abortion(s), that at the time you felt were justified?

How do you see your decision-making process now?

What were the lies you believed?

What is the truth that God has shown you?

 

Blessings,

Toni

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!

Stinking Thinking: Negative Thoughts

Stinking Thinking: Negative Thoughts

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 and Philippians 4:8-9

Stinking Thinking refers to the negative thoughts that torment us especially when we are HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired) or have thoughts such as a distorted view of God and self, negative thinking, justification, fear, and anxiety. We will address each of these topics so we can discern between the lies we have believed over the years and replace them with God’s truth. Our goal is to equip you so you can have victory in these areas.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God for pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself above the knowledge of God, brining every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

Philippians 4:8-9 NKJV

“Finally, brethren whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received, and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with.”

All of us know a person who can suck all the air out of a room because every word that comes out of their mouth is negative. Have you ever experienced that before? It is emotionally draining to be in the company of a negative person for a long period of time, before we too are dragged down into the pit with them. Are you plagued with negative thoughts?

The enemy is continually trying to trip us up, because his goal is to get us to focus on the negative things, instead of all the things we should be thankful for. Do you have a gratitude list? If you don’t, I suggest you do one today, and write down all the things you are thankful for. When you feel a negative thought coming on, just get out your list and remind yourself, God is still on the throne and He is in control and He is aware of everything that is going on in the world. He uses all of it for His purpose and plans in all of our lives. We must remember God is good all the time, and He is love, that is His character. He never changes, He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

The battlefield truly is the mind, that is where spiritual warfare starts and that’s where we have a choice to take it on or not. Right now, we are experiencing a worldwide pandemic, many are fearful, but as believers we need to be seeking the Lord even more now, so we have His perspective on this. What are you focusing on now? Do you feel peaceful and hopeful or depressed and hopeless?

I have a list of Biblical truths that I read over every morning to remind myself that I am adopted and loved by God. This is how I put my armor on to protect myself from the fiery darts of the enemy.

Who I am in Christ, to Combat Rejection.

I am worthy.

I am loved.

I am accepted.

I am adopted.

I am confident and competent.

I am a child of God.

I have the Holy Spirit within me.

I am victorious in Christ.

I have a home in heaven.

Nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.

I am valued by God, I am His precious child, I have a home in heaven.

I will fear no evil!

When I read this every morning it protects my mind from the lies and negative thoughts that the enemy wants me to focus on. When I don’t read my list, I am vulnerable to the enemy’s devices; I am impatient, unkind, and easily frustrated. Lord You are showing me that today in fact, I must make time with You each morning; You are my priority, reading Your Word daily is food for my soul, praying is a time for me to hear from you and to talk to you, and journaling is a time when I go even deeper with You seeking your wisdom and wanting so much to hear from you to lead and guide me in my life and in all I do, because I want my life to be pleasing to you and I want you to be glorified through it. Thank you, Lord, for reminding me and convicting me of that today.

Father in heaven, I pray for each woman on this call and for the women on-line reading this blog. I pray they will seek you with their whole heart. Show them how much you love them in a very real and tangible way. Protect them from the lies and negative thoughts of the enemy and help them to focus on the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. Renew their minds daily as they read Your Word. Heal them and bind up their wounds as only You can, for you only, are their Mighty Counselor and Great Physician. Meet them where they are and lead them by Your righteous right hand. Forgive all of their sins and heal them Lord. Thank you for Your love, mercy, grace, and compassion upon them. We pray this in the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Do you struggle with negative thoughts?

How often are you plagued with these thoughts?

Is there a person or situation that causes you to start thinking negatively?

What have you done to help protect yourself from this kind of negative thinking?

Blessings,

Toni

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!

Stinking Thinking: My Distorted View of Self

Stinking Thinking: My Distorted View of Self

Isaiah 43:18-19 and Psalms 62:6-8

Stinking Thinking refers to the negative thoughts that torment us especially when we are HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired) or have thoughts such as a distorted view of God and self, negative thinking, justification, fear, and anxiety. We will address each of these topics so we can discern between the lies we have believed over the years and replace them with God’s truth. Our goal is to equip you so you can have victory in these areas.

Isaiah 43:18-19
“Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Psalms 62: 6-8
“He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.”

I was the oldest of 3 and came from a strict second-generation Italian-American Family. My father and his 2 brothers and sister ran a family owned Construction Company started by my grandfather in 1948. My grandfather had a drinking problem, and my dad growing up in that environment, acted like an alcoholic even though he did not drink, I refer to his behavior as a “rageaholic”. He worked extremely long hours and was dealing with a lot of stress and competition between him and his brothers. He was not able to communicate in a healthy manner without becoming angry and raising his voice, he had a very short fuse. So, when he was home, I would literally want to run and hide. I had an over developed sense of responsibility and I took on shame very quickly as a child. He was very unpredictable and scary at times. As a result of this I hid behind my wall to protect myself. I pretended to be the good quiet one, in order to protect myself and to set myself apart from my sister who was 15 months my junior and my brother who was born 3 years later.

How was I supposed to get the love and attention I needed? After the “good quiet one persona” was not working anymore I started sneaking Scotch Whiskey from my parents’ liquor cabinet. Like I said, my dad did not drink so he did notknow I was watering down his liquor, until I overheard my uncle comment on it one day when he had a drink.

Now I was really hiding because of all the sins I was pilling up, while still keeping up the façade of the good quiet one. By 13, I was getting high and doing other drugs, having sex at 16, and getting pregnant at 21. That’s quite a recipe for disaster. I felt very insecure because I started gaining a lot of weight from all the extra calories from the liquor, and binging after getting high. I felt ugly, fat, unloved, alone, and depressed. I never developed my voice either, so all the stuffing I had been doing during my life was about to come out sideways, and I will not be able to control it. I would become like my father, a “rageaholic”.

After many years of destructive choices, unhealthy copying mechanisms and addictions; my self-loathing was at an all-time high, my depression was preventing me from functioning normally and all the pain I had been stuffing all my life, was coming out sideways; I was a walking volcano. I literally just wanted to end this disaster of a life and stop the torment I was experiencing. I felt I was not worthy to be loved. In fact, I thought I deserved to be emotionally abused because of my abortion. I did not see myself as a person of value to anyone, not even to God. This destructive pattern would continue until I was 34, when by the grace of God, I heard the gospel and within 4 weeks I got saved and asked Jesus to forgive my sins and to be my Lord and Savior. The most beautiful and memorable day of my life is February 6, 1994 when I received Jesus as my Lord. Jesus met this broken shell of a woman and breathed in me life and I became born-again.

Even after my salvation I still struggled with my stinking-thinking regarding my relationship with God, I felt I had to work for His love and for the approval of others in leadership at Church. My people pleasing was consuming my life and God showed me that this is idolatry, that anything that I put above God is an idol. Slowly overtime as He poured His love and grace over me and many years of recovery, intensive inner healing work, and involvement in high accountability groups; God showed me His love for me was not based upon my good works, but it was only because of Jesus’ death on the cross on my behalf that I was now righteous before God. I stopped striving to please people and only live my life to please God. As a result of this new mindset, I have become more dependent upon God and bolder and more courageous. I am so grateful for the wonderful adventure the Lord and I are on right now.

How has your distorted view of self, opened yourself up to all kinds of abuse and sin as a way of trying to cope with all the pain?

How was your distorted view of yourself especially after your abortion different from the way you see yourself now?

Blessings,

Toni

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!

Stinking Thinking: My Distorted View of God

Stinking Thinking: My Distorted View of God

Proverbs 23:7a, Romans 2:4d, 1 Corinthians 6:20, and John 3:16

 

Stinking Thinking refers to the negative thoughts that torment us especially when we are HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired) or have thoughts such as a distorted view of God and self, negative thinking, justification, fear, and anxiety. We will address each of these topics so we can discern between the lies we have believed over the years and replace them with God’s truth. Our goal is to equip you so you can have victory in these areas.

First, the Word of God says in Proverbs 23:7a, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” What we think about ourselves dictates how we see ourselves, God, and others, and how we respond to things. If we see ourselves as children of God, loved, cherished and adopted into God’s family, we will see we are truly special, set apart by God for good works. We will have a more positive view of the world. If we feel we are unlovable because of our past sins, and not a person of value, we will feel depressed, lonely, and hopeless. Can you see that what we think determines how we feel?

My first distorted view of God started when I was a very young child around 6 or 7 years old. I saw God as an angry God who was unapproachable. I was told as a child, if I did something wrong God would punish me, I was constantly waiting for the hammer to drop on my head every time I did something wrong. The church was old and had beautiful stained-glass windows, but inside it was dark, cold, and people spoke in Latin. I did not see the love of God there. All I saw were strict rules and harsh punishment for disobeying. I saw students hit with rulers on a regular basis. This kept me hiding again, like I did at home, when my father was having one of his angry outbursts.

It’s the goodness of God that leads to repentance. (Romans 2:4d) One method to modify behavior is through fear of judgement; the other is through love. God wants us to obey Him out of love and not out of fear. If you love someone and they love you, you want to spend time with this person, but when you think of someone as a harsh person, this is not someone who you feel safe and comfortable with. Do you see the difference? God is love, and His grace is undeserved. Because of what Jesus did for me on the cross, the least I can do is serve Him and obey His Word. I was bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20); the precious blood of Jesus paid the penalty for my sins and the sins of the whole world.

I did not see the love of God evident in my old church. It wasn’t until I was 34, when I attended a small Baptist church in NJ, that I heard the gospel for the first time. The building was very plain, no stained-glass windows. There was a cross in the front where the preacher stood and a piano. But one thing I did see displayed was the love of God that these people had. That’s what drew me to Jesus. It was the preaching of the Word of God through the Bible and the love of God in the words and actions and on the faces of the people who attended that small church.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son… ” He loved us so much He gave His Son to die for you and me; that is a picture of sacrificial love. Thank you, Jesus, for willingly dying on the cross for us, I know it’s your love for the world that held you on that cross.

I believe the enemy is hard at work to distort our view of God, to make us doubt that He truly loves us and cares about us. Look at Eve in the garden, the snake (Satan), the deceiver and father of lies, trying to plant seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind regarding whether God’s Word can be trusted. I can imagine she was thinking, “God is holding back something good from me, He does not really love me because if He did, He would give me everything I want.” Adam and Eve did not know what was best for them, and it’s the same with us; we do not know what’s best for us either. God told us not to have sex before marriage. Was He holding out on us? No, actually He was protecting us, especially those of us who would abort our babies. He was trying to protect us and our babies.

I realized that it was out of love that God did not want me to have sex outside of marriage, because He wanted to protect me. If only I had trusted God and invited Him into my decision-making process and believed that He would provide for my baby and I, then perhaps I would have had courage to choose life for my baby. Instead my distorted view of God made me fearful to approach Him with my needs, which was the enemys plan. If the enemy can cause us to panic and not seek Gods wisdom, provision, and protection, then he has won the battle.

What were your distorted views of God when you were younger?

How do you see Him now?

 

Blessings,

Toni

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!