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.
“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 not know 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?