Anxiety & Depression – Distorted Thinking Patterns

crazyMany of us have distorting thinking patterns. We haven’t yet renewed our minds. We have stinkin’ thinkin’ that keeps us in anxiety, depression, negativity, and sickness.

Below are 10 types of distorted thinking patterns.

Negative feelings come from negative thinking, so by monitoring your feelings you will eventually be able to figure out which thoughts and beliefs trigger your anxiety. The first step is to identify the trigger. Most people have thought these ways their whole lives, but God says, ‘Take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ (2Cor.10:5).’ Put your thoughts on trial, convict them, and reprogram them with God’s Word. The mind set on the Spirit brings life and peace. ‘Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on the new nature created to be like God–truly righteous and holy (Eph.4:21-24).’ Your thinking is vital to your spiritual life as breathing is to your physical life.


Distorted thinking patterns:

think1. ‘What if’ thinking

What if I lose my job? What if I lose my home? What if my children get hooked on drugs? What if my spouse is cheating on me?

‘What if’ thinking breeds anxiety and fear. Sometimes this even turns into a self fulfilling prophecy. If you treat someone like they are cheating on you, they might eventually just start doing so. If you focus on ‘what if’, your fear grows. If you focus on God’s Word, your fear goes. Learn to replace ‘what if’ with what God’s Word says: God always causes me to triumph. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. If God be for me, who can be against me?

2. Catastrophizing

worryThe mind magnifies unpleasant events and transforms them into something more awful, terrible, or horrible than they really are. Making a mountain out of a molehill. It’s like spending $10 dollars on a 2¢ problem.

Like pouring lighter fluid on a flame, they use extreme words like hopeless, terrible, unbearable, devastating. These words fuel the anxiety. The only way to put out the fire is to eliminate inflammatory words from your vocabulary and replace them with more practical, realistic, and less emotionally charged words, such as unfortunate, inconvenient, or difficult.  Stop the drama. I choose faith-building words because ‘we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God (Rom.8:28)’. Practice this pattern of thinking until it becomes automatic, making it a habit and mind-set.

3. Habitually expecting the worst outcome

worryThey usually think if something can go wrong it will, and it will happen to me. ‘My boss didn’t acknowledge me today, so I’m sure she hates me and will probably fire me.’ ‘My husband is late for dinner, I’m sure he is having an affair.’

Realize that when you repeatedly think about something, you create the potential for these thoughts to become self-fulling. Especially if you treat someone as if they are already doing what you fear, it makes them more likely to go ahead and do it. Instead of expecting the worst possible outcome, begin to expect something good to happen to you. Confess God’s Word, ‘No evil will befall my family or me, nor will any plague come newer my dwelling (Ps.91:10).’ Expect God to do something good, and your faith will release a blessing.

4. Leaping to conclusions

needsThey mistakingly believe that they know what another person is thinking without having any facts to support it. They repeatedly and habitually make negative assumptions that fuel depression and anxiety.

You walk in a restaurant and find two friends eating lunch; you see them whisper and immediately assume they have abandoned your friendship and are badmouthing you.

Begin to identify when you are jumping to conclusions. Challenge yourself to expect the best of the other person. Instead of becoming anxious about things you don’t even know are real, determine to wait until you have more information before drawing a conclusion. ‘I am ever ready to expect the best of every person (1Cor.13:7).’

5. Black and white thinking 

perfectionismYou can’t see grey. You are probably a perfectionist that thinks their work is flawless or worthless. You see average as complete failure. You think first place is the only winning spot and every thing else is a loser.

This distortional thought pattern sets you up for failure, disappointment, depression, and anxiety. You will work endless hours to make something perfect, or will procrastinate and never finish because if it’s not perfect, you feel worthless. Also, if you struggle with perfectionism, you will need to watch that you don’t fall into the trap of comparisons. ‘Learn to be content with whatever you have (Phil.4:11).’ Quit focusing on what you don’t have, and start thanking God for what you do have. Choose to love yourself, forgive yourself, and accept yourself unconditionally, even if you make a mistake.

6. Unenforceable rules

nowTrapping in anxiety, they make rigid rules about what should, must, or ought to be done, and tries to put people in a box. The more unrealistic and unenforceable the rules are, the greater the disappointment. ‘They should stop cutting me off in traffic.’ Situations, people, and society aren’t usually going to turn out in your favor. The only should statement you need is ‘I should practice mercy and forgiveness’. ‘Love keeps no records of wrongs’, so I throw out my record-keeping book. Eliminate should statements and use I would like to or I prefer.

7. Labeling

‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ is absolutely false. We need to eliminate labeling words from our vocabulary, such as idiot, loser, klutz, failure, stupid, pathetic, pitiful, jerk. Labels destroy self-esteem, self-worth, and as a result many never accept love. ‘Life and death are in the power of the tongue.’ Choose to see yourself and others the way God sees them. He calls me ‘the apple of His eye,’ ‘His beloved,’ ‘His child’.

8. Negative Filter

capableThis person usually discounts all information that is positive. They discredit compliments. They remember mainly criticisms and negative information. They focus on the bad while the good slips away. These ‘pit thinkers’ usually overgeneralize, taking one bad circumstance and believing its it the trend of how your life will proceed. They use words like always and never. ‘I will always be like this.’ ‘I will never change.’ Stop using absolute words that set you up for failure. Try to enjoy the next compliment you receive. Practice eating the meat and spitting out the bones. Remember that God Himself forgives and forgets our failures. ‘Think about those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Phil.4:8).’ Filter the news, tv shows, music you listen to. If anything falls short of every criterion, refuse to watch, think, or speak it.

9. Emotional reasoning

graceThis person feels like their feelings are facts. If they feel hopeless about an exam, they might not even show up to take it. They give up because their emotions make them feel defeated. The healthy thinker separates emotions from their overall self-worth. They realize that despite how they are feeling, they can change the outcome of the situation.

Realize that negative feelings are a sign that you are thinking negative, depressing thoughts. You need to immediately tune in to the thoughts or beliefs that are at the root of the emotion and simply change the channel of your mind to the one of gratitude. I will not be influenced by my emotions or feelings, because ‘the just shall live by faith (Heb.10:38).’ ‘Let us not weary in doing well: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Gal.6:9).’

10. The blame game

Many are stuck in a trap of blaming others or God. This creates a vicious circle of thinking and feelings that leads to anger, resentment, bitterness, depression, and anxiety. People with a victim mentality fit within this group of faulty thinkers. They feel like everything bad that happens to them is someone else’s fault. Blame locks you into the past; it prevents you from examining yourself, recognizing, and removing thought patterns and mind-sets that continue to sabotage your life. Learn to take responsibility for yourself, forgive yourself and others, and refuse to blame anyone. Forgiveness is a choice not a feeling. ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.’ Refuse to rehash any hurt or pain.


mistakeTestimony: I remember when I started trying to reprogram my mind. Every single thought I had was negative. I put a list of these 10 concepts on my dashboard, and memorized them. I started pinpointing them and trying to refuse the negative thoughts. In the beginning I could hardly keep out a negative thought for a whole second. Just like any goal, you have to do some work. Lifting weights will wear you out, but the next time you go, you are stronger. You can work your way up to 2 seconds without negativity. Maybe you can start to think one positive thought; try to convince yourself that it is true. At least believe that God’s Word is true and quote those over yourself. Keep going! It’s been a year, or two, and I am completely changed. I can’t stand hearing a single negative comment. After coming out from under nearly 25 years of negativity, I truly have a distaste for it. I am free, positive, and know God’s plan for me is good. I can see myself through His eyes, and I can see bad situations through His eyes. IT. IS. SO. WORTH. IT. Don’t give up.

distorted thinking

healthy thinking


Worship: Emma, by Jason Upton: Trusting The Angels

facePrayer: God, thank you for creating us and saying ‘It is good’. Restore us back to our factory settings. Help us once again submit our will, ways, and thinking to your ways which bring health and wholeness. Thank you for being the great physician, our healer, and therapist. Thank you Spirit for being our counselor and teacher. Thank you Jesus for setting the example and giving us authority. Help us take dominion over our own minds and submit them to your kingdom instead of this world which bring such distorted thinking. Everything out from under your authority is in rebellion and chaos. We want to overcome the enemies of anxiety and depression. Go to this generation now and tear down the spirits exalted above it. Let the knowledge of you cover the earth as the sea. Stay the death angel and deliver your people from their slavery; free their minds. Bring them out of bondage. Let this generation x, that the world thought would be the dog, rise to be the head and not the tail. Bring transformation to their minds, and to the world. Wrap them up in a cocoon of your Words and see them through this transformation where they will no longer crawl, but sprout wings, in Jesus name, Amen.


For more on this topic get the book:

Bible Cure for Anxiety

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Lord of the Dance


God didn’t create our bodies to respond to music so we would have something else to fight. He made us want to dance, because He wanted us to be joyous! I’m not talking about bumping and grinding, that is a perversion of what God created. The purpose of that dance is to sexually seduce. Footloose did get the Bible verses right though. The true, intended, and holy purpose of dance is to praise God radically and unabashedly! Everything is aligned with its intended purpose when it is used as a tool to love God. Dance is to 1)celebrate what He has done for you, and to 2)ask Him for what you need; it’s 3)to lift moral, because a merry heart brings life and health to the body. Dance is can teach people just as much as song or lecture. Dance is biblical, and maybe if dancing were still in every church we wouldn’t be missing an entire generation of young kids and teenagers; maybe people would wake up excited to go to church, stay longer, build community better, and leave happier

– 1 Cor. 14:26 – What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.

Choreographed dance, theatre, and the arts can show us who God is just as much as anything else. Every person should be able to show what God has given them. Dance doesn’t even have to be choreographed to happen in the church. Everyone should be able to let loose in praise, using their bodies to celebrate the God who gave it to them.

– Ps. 149:3 – Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!

– Eccl. 4:3 -A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance

– Ps. 30:11 – You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.

– Jer. 31:13 – Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

– 2 Sam. 6:14 – And David danced before the Lord with all his might

David celebrated God's presence with dance

David celebrated God’s presence with dance

David’s wife confronted him and tried to shame him, or say it was ungodly, and he responded with:

I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.

When God delivered Israel from Egypt:

– Ex. 15:20 – Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.

– Zeph. 3:17 – The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

– Ps. 150:4 – Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!

We celebrate marriage, and festivities, with dancing, and God wants us to do that with Him. Celebrate the God who gave you the spouse, the job, the raise, the home, the harvest, the souls. Celebrate him everyday, even when it seems like you aren’t winning. Paul & Silas praise him from prison chains and the praise set them free emotionally first, then also physically.

– Rev. 19:6-7 – And I heard something that sounded like a huge crowd, like rushing water and powerful thunder. They said, “Hallelujah! The Lord our God, the Almighty, exercised his royal power! Let us rejoice and celebrate, and give him the glory, for the wedding day of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

Rushing water are shouts of excitement and the powerful thunder is dance? STOMP! How are you going to crush the serpents head without a stomp and a dance? Walking gets tiring, but waltzing to the destination give you something different. Joy takes you further. You don’t even realize you’re tired when you are having fun. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be dancing on my wedding day to the Lamb, and I’m gonna go’head and practice now! At church, on Friday, I grabbed up a flag, went to the back of the church, and danced. Jehovah Nissi, is my God; my Banner and my Victory.


Worship:
Stomp, by Kirk Franklin
Dance, by Jesus Culture
Shackles (Praise You), by Mary Mary


Paul & Silas sing in the prison, then an angel opens breaks off their chains

Paul & Silas sing in the prison, then an angel opens breaks off their chains

Prayer: Lord of the dance, bring back the dance! You are Lord of Lords; You are the king of celebration and joy. Help us see you as you are, break every chain of religion, and loose your people to praise you with all their mind, heart, soul, and strength (Deut.6:5); you tell us that praise looses your people from bondage. Use dance to heal, deliver, and set free every mind and body. Tear down every man made law that stands in the way of your laws. Fear of man leave, and fear of God return in Jesus name. Bring joy back to the church as we realign ourselves to your ways and see who you truly are. We may feel humiliated in our own eyes as we dance, but you exalt those who are unashamed to praise you with all their strength! You made joy to be contagious, so raise up people to dance without shame and show your people that there is freedom in You; let all those who are free from the chains of sin and death rejoice!

As our country continues to talk about black&white, slave&free issues, cause your church to lead. Where blacks were once slaves, and white free, today the tables have turned. Your beloved black church is living in freedom, and your white people are slaves to religion and man-made law. Cause a war to rise up, and people to fight for the freedom of every person. Bring your people together. Send out those who will stand for freedom, justice, equality, and tear down the lies, chains, and man-made law that hold us in bondage and keep us from praising God with every fiber of our being. No longer shall it be shameful to say ‘you dance like a white person.’ Let is now be said with the meaning, ‘Wow, your dancing has put us to shame!’ Raise up whites who are radical in praise! Bring the spirit of Africa to us. No matter if we have food, clothing, or water, make us joyful with what we have. Tear down this idol of reliance on wealth and possession, and cause us to take joy in You. When the foot taps, let the body move, and tear down this idea that skill is required. Let the people dance without care of man or level of learning.


My friend is over in Zambia, Africa changing lives and building water wells. The people there know how to celebrate God’s gift of water. Lord, bless us with this Spirit just as you blessed them with water:

You can donate at Water282.org