Is Stinkin’ Thinkin’ Affecting Your Life?

I sensed something was wrong. Let me rephrase that. I smelled something wrong.

I was fairly certain the odor came from somewhere in my youngest daughter’s room. A quick look, though, seemed to indicate everything in her bedroom was fine.

I opened closet doors. Nothing. I got down on my hands and knees, and peered under her bed. Nothing there, either.

I opened drawers, one by one. Still nothing.

Until I saw an odd-shaped thing, half-way sticking up from underneath a sock.

Slowly, I lifted the sock to reveal a half-eaten piece of pizza and a Styrofoam cup, half full of molded smoothie.

I glanced toward the floor, and there, right beside her dresser, was her trash can!

Why hadn’t she made the effort to throw away her garbage? Why did she hang on to her half-consumed meal like it was a pair of familiar socks?

Ashton and I laugh about the incident now, but it serves as a reminder of what happens when we hold onto emotional, mental or relational garbage, allowing it to fester and ferment. Eventually our garbage starts to stink, which affects our relationships, our emotional well-being, and even (or maybe, especially) our walk with God.

This is the very definition of “Stinkin’ Thinkin’.” Truthfully, many of us do it. All. The. Time.

Why do we allow ourselves to hold on to thoughts that stink up our heart, our relationships and our peace of mind, when all it takes is a little effort to toss them in the trash?

The top 3 reasons we hold on to stinkin’ thinkin’:

1.  Laziness

Part of the reason Ashton stuck her pizza in her drawer rather than take the steps required to throw it away, was just plain laziness. Truthfully, I can be prone to laziness, too, especially when it comes to filtering my thinking. It takes effort to rein in my thoughts, sorting through which I should keep and which should go.

It means I have to actually think about what I think about.

Is it really worth all the effort?

Well, yeah, when we consider that we feel the way we feel because we think the way we think.

We feel the way we feel because we think the way we think. Click To Tweet

When I don’t trash my stinkin’ thinkin’ it robs me of peace, it steals my joy, it undermines my confidence, it fractures my faith, it hurts my relationships.

I’m pretty sure I see you nodding.

And so, the few steps we take to trash our stinkin’ thinkin’ is worth the effort.

Today, think about what you think about. Trash the garbage and replace it with God’s Word and God’s truth. I’m not being glib; try it and see what happens.

2. Habit

We hang on to thoughts we should toss simply because they’re familiar: We’ve been worriers for as long as we can remember; we’ve been cynical since life threw us a curve ball years ago; we’ve been timid and fearful since childhood; we’ve been negative and critical so long we can’t even recall why we became that way.

See what I mean? Habit.

Habits like these are not healthy, but maybe more important, they aren’t holy. They stink up our lives because that’s what sin garbage does–it creates the stench of death.

Perhaps it’s time to create some new habits and replace things like grumbling (even in our heads) with gratitude; thoughts of fear with thoughts of faith; patterns of worry with the practice of worship.

Let’s stop embracing what we should be replacing.

If a thought habit isn’t helpful, heave it. It doesn’t belong in your mind any more than pizza belongs in a sock drawer.

  1.  Ignorance

Sometimes we don’t recognize trash as trash.  After all, we reason, Everyone thinks this way.

Everyone criticizes their spouse; everyone blames their parents; everyone feels pressure to be perfect.

But, if I want to trash my stinkin’ thinkin’ I have to recognize trash when I see it. Or think it.

Maybe, though, your ignorance manifests itself in the lie, no one else thinks this way. You think you’re the only one; the sole loser who struggles with fear, anxiety, defeat or discouragement.

May I take your hand and whisper something to your tender soul? You are not the only one.

We all struggle with stinkin’ thinkin’. It’s part of our fallen human condition.

But we can, and we should, do something about it. Because here’s the kicker: What controls my thoughts controls my feelings. And what controls my feelings controls my joy.

Romans 8:6 puts it this way:  The mind controlled by the flesh is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “I’m entertaining the thought”. But here’s the deal: I shouldn’t entertain a thought if I don’t want it to pull up a chair and make itself at home. I don’t need negative, critical, untruthful, prideful, selfish thoughts stinking up my life with the stench of death.

And neither do you.

We need to take our stinkin’ thinkin’ and put it where it belongs: the garbage.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

(Philippians 4:8)


If you wonder whether you suffer from Stinkin’ Thinkin’, take the quiz below to find out. See if you find yourself habitually thinking any of these thoughts:

  1. I’ll never forgive
  2. I’ll never be good enough
  3. I’m all alone. No one understands
  4. I can’t be myself
  5. I have to keep up
  6. I need to do more
  7. Nothing will ever change
  8. What’s the point?  Why try?
  9. I’m too old, young, fat, thin, tall, short, stupid, shy, loud…..
  10. I should just quit.
  11. Why can’t he/she/I be more like_____?
  12. I hate my house, body, wrinkles, job, life, _______.
  13. You can’t trust anyone.  Everyone’s out for themselves.
  14. I would be happy if only_______
  15. It’s all your/his/their/my fault
  16. I can’t handle this
  17. I’ll never get over this
  18. I’m a loser
  19. It’s too late to change
  20. God doesn’t love me/couldn’t love me
  21. God doesn’t care
  22. God doesn’t answer my prayers
  23. God can’t use me
  24. God doesn’t see
  25. God is always mad at me

If you realize you’re holding on to stinkin’ thinkin’, don’t shove it back where you think no one will notice. It will eventually come out. Do the only thing that really makes sense: throw it in the trash and replace it with the truth of God’s Word.

Don’t embrace what you should replace.

Remember: The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)

You are loved,


P.S. Join Donna on Instagram for more encouragement. You can find her @donnaajones or @donnajonesspeaker (or both!)

And…Look out for Donna’s new Podcast coming soon!