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  • Writer's pictureJen Weaver

"God is trying to kill me!" Or, maybe just my unhealthy thinking patterns?

When thoughts or behaviors are getting in the way of the life we want, God can help us identify what's unhealthy. This can be a painful experience. We may dwell on unfairness until we understand His work with us. Maybe God's rooting out the parts of us that have to go?

There've been periods in my life when I've thought, God is trying to kill me! I couldn't come up with any other explanation for my circumstances. Even though that sounds dramatic (and a little ridiculous), I was actually on to something. I love what C.S. Lewis has said about God's work with us, His children:

"I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. ...Hand it over... all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to me... and I will make of you a new self."

- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

That "KILL IT - no half measure will do" opportunity comes for us all. For me, it came when For me, one of the times it came was when my husband became our congregation's ecclesiastical leader. At first, I felt peace. But when I thought of my (small?) compulsion for pleasing others at church, the KILL IT realization hit. It was like seeing an asteroid coming for me. "God is trying to kill me!"I told my husband. He was confused. We were just having an uplifting conversation about the coming change, now there's death?

Those years proved to be difficult. Almost immediately, there was an incident of hurt feelings. Often, people would complain (right in front of me), about something my husband had or hadn't done (or the way he was doing it). There were times people lashed at out him, me, or even our teens. With those experiences, my weakness was unearthed. I became a walking example of something I'd read before, but struggled to understand. To be clear, the following is in reference to normal imperfect human interactions and not abuse.

To believe that someone or something can make us feel offended, angry, hurt or bitter diminishes our moral agency and transforms us into objects to be acted upon. As agents, however, you and I have the power to act and to choose how we will respond to an offensive or hurtful situation..."
"In many instances, choosing to be offended is a symptom of a much deeper and more serious spiritual malady."

- David A. Bednar, “And Nothing Shall Offend Them.”

Those words were hard.

After hurtful things were said or done by others, the reactions I experienced felt involuntary. If these were "symptoms" of a deeper problem, I didn't know what that could be? Soon came little miracles and opportunities for understanding.


One Sunday, I came to church pretty upset. Throughout the meeting, I didn’t sing any hymns, I just sat and straight-neck stared with my arms crossed. When the service was over, someone who had been pretty vocal about how my husband had handled something approached me. Given my state of mind, I feared what he was going to say. “Are you okay?" He said. "You don’t seem yourself today." I know it doesn’t sound like much, but at the time it meant a great deal. You care about how I’m doing? (I almost said). I felt my anger slip away and a thought replaced it, People don’t have to always agree with you to value or love you. That thought was foreign to what I believed. I realized how personally I’d been taking things. Maybe things weren't as they seemed? I believe in that moment, God was showing me an inaccurate thinking pattern.


Mislabeling: Taking something that happens and making a broad or incorrect statement.


Another Sunday, sitting in a women’s meeting, I felt full of fear and anxiety. I kept telling myself to keep it together but it was too late, I was already crying. I wanted to leave, but felt too embarrassed to get up. A woman sitting on the far side of the room kept glancing back at me with a concerned look. Our teens had had a rocky relationship where resolution had failed despite our efforts as parents. Resigned to the situation, our interactions were limited and awkward. Her seeing me crying like that made me feel so vulnerable. But then she got up from her seat, walked through the hall, and in through the opposite door and sat next to me. Without saying a word, she put her arm around me. We sat that way for the rest of the meeting. My anxiety calmed, and a little voice somewhere said, See? It can be okay -- even when it’s not perfect or the way you think it needs to be. It was another time God was showing me something new:


All or Nothing: Seeing situations or people as all good or all bad. Look for phrases with words like “always” and “never.”


I could give dozens of examples of the inaccurate thinking patterns that ran through me so deeply and for so long, I had no idea they were even there. Here's a re-fresher on inaccurate thinking patterns, many of which overlap with the examples above. How are inaccurate thinking patterns possibly distorting your reality and relationships?

  • Jumping to Conclusions: Interpreting others' thoughts or assuming the worst possible outcome. Example; “After that incident, everyone probably talked about me.”

  • Personalizing: Blaming yourself or someone else for a situation that in reality involved many factors. Example; “They didn’t call me back, so they must be mad at me.”

  • Emotional Reasoning: Judging a situation based on how you feel. Example; “When she acts cold and unfriendly, I feel guilty. I must have done something wrong."

  • Overgeneralization: Applying one experience to all experiences. Example; “That didn't go well. I shouldn't plan anymore group social activities.”

  • Negative Mental Filter: Focusing on a negative detail and dwelling on it. Example; “She complained about where we ate, then after that, the whole night was ruined.”

  • Discounting the Positive: Rejecting all positive experiences because you don't feel like they count. Example; “We finished the entire service project, but that didn't matter, because they only cared about the poor paint job on the shed."

  • Magnification: Exaggerating your weaknesses or comparing them to others' strengths. Example; “I can barely prepare a lesson, and when I do, it's nothing like her lessons!"

*Taken from the workbook Emotional Resilience for Self-Reliance, chapter 2.


When these patterns are with us for a long time, it can be hard to determine when or where they began. What are the inaccurate thinking patterns you struggle with the most? Are they tied to another time or place?

The years I struggled, I thought a change in circumstance would solve my problems, when really it was my relationship with the past that needed to change.

There were many times it felt as if my Savior was saying to me, "Look, I have something NEW for you! Put those old beliefs down!" Feeling my way through darkness, He was always there bringing light. Do you know that He is there for you?

It can be easy to think if only certain circumstances would "change," then I would be "happy" -- or not so hurt, anxious, lonely, afraid, or angry. But what if it's not about a change in circumstance? My thoughts still return to that idea of Jesus Christ giving us a new self. Yes, God was trying to kill me -- or at least the parts of me that had to go, the parts that were broken and needed to heal. And for that, I'm so very grateful.

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