Distorted Thinking

Have you ever been to a state fair or carnival? If so, you have probably seen fun house mirrors. As a kid I loved to go into the fun house and stand in front of the mirrors that morphed my body into all kinds of shapes and sizes. It was great fun to see myself tall and thin, short and fat and with my face all swirled and jumbled.

The beauty of a fun house mirror is once you step away the distortion clears up and your image returns to its actual state. What happens when our thinking becomes distorted and remains that way?

Sometimes life presents us with circumstances that are painful. Broken relationships, job loss, health issues, substance abuse and grief are but a few examples. Over time when these issues are not addressed or when the hurt and pain become too much too bare, our thinking can become warped and twisted much like a fun house mirror.

When our thoughts are distorted and unrealistic it begins a chain reaction of beliefs, feelings and behaviors that are rooted not in truth, but in the inaccurate representation of self.

Growing up I was subject to both sexual and emotional abuse. Over time, my thoughts began to morph and become disfigured. As those thoughts remained unchallenged in my life, they grew in strength and number. I began to accept these inaccurate thoughts as truth and my behaviors and beliefs were formed out of a false sense of self.

These distorted beliefs told me that I deserved what happened to me. They led me to believe that I was unlovable, a failure and inadequate. What had begun as a thought eventually became part of my core belief system and it was all based on an inaccurate image of self.

It is important to note that distorted thinking is a subtle thing that occurs over time. This thinking often begins as a coping mechanism to deal with a painful experience. It becomes problematic when it is remains unaddressed and unchallenged.

There are many issues we struggle with in life that may stem from distorted thinking. Alcoholism, eating disorders, anger, lying, anxiety, depression and worry are some examples of what can happen when our thoughts get twisted and our sense of self becomes altered.

If you find yourself stuck in some patterns of thinking that are counter productive – you are not alone. I encourage you to take inventory of your thoughts and beliefs. If you have identified some thinking that feels incongruent, ask yourself how does your thinking line up with what God says to be true of you. Then take the first step and share it with a friend, a Pastor or a counselor.

God has your best interest at heart – He made you in His image, for His Glory and to be in relationship with Himself. If your thoughts are condemning, accusing and blaming these are not from the Lord.
2 Timothy 1:7 talks about how God made us. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

I pray that you are able to know and believe what God says is true about you. I’ve included links for each of these verses as well as some resources of some places you can contact if you find yourself needing someone to talk to.

Psalm 139:14
Phillipians 4:8
Dueteronomy 7:6

Association of Christian Counselors

Grief Share

Celebrate Recovery

Widows Walk – support for those who have lost a spouse.

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