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Pointers along the way #88

When a bad mood creeps in
- Jacob Ninan

A bad mood can come up suddenly, apparently without reason, and before we realise it, it can have us in its vice-like grip, pushing us down to lower depths. But does it have to be like this?

The Bible says very plainly that we are not obliged to yield to the whims of our flesh just because they come up (Ro.8:12). If we can see them as temptations that are enticing us, we will understand that we have the opportunity to make a choice. We have the authority to say "NO" to our feelings and thought patterns before they take us to wrong destinations.

We know that we have no direct control over our feelings. We can't become happy just be deciding to be happy, and we can't get rid of our gloom just by deciding that we don't want to be gloomy. But still there is a way to deal with our bad feelings.

The first step is to recognise that we are getting into a bad mood. This not only means that we call it by its name, but we also recognise that it is a bad mood and that we need to get out of it as fast as possible.

The next thing is to see why we have got into this feeling. The reason may be that something happened to us, someone made some remark, we are physically unwell, we are fearful about some task ahead of us, we are guilty about something we did, etc.

Our feelings are related to what we believe about our situation. We may or may not be consciously aware of what we believe, but still they are there in our mind. For example, if we have bungled up some matter and we believe that it is going to get us into trouble, it is natural that we get into a bad mood. But on the other hand if we believe that with God's help we are going to get over it, we will soon have good feelings. So it is helpful if we can pinpoint what is causing this bad mood.

The solution is to look to God and see what He has to say about the situation. For the example above, God may say that even though we have messed up something, we can still sort out things and go ahead with life (Is.1:18,19). When we change our belief system from "There is no hope for me" to "Oh, God is still with me. He will help me through", our feelings also will begin to change!

This is so simple, and yet we are tempted to think that once a bad mood creeps in we can't do anything but endure it. Let us not respond anymore in that habitual way, but go along victory's way with the Lord's help.