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Pointers along the way #608

A blue moon arising
- Jacob Ninan

Are you someone given over to frequent bad moods? I am not talking about mood disorders that are serious enough to require medication. But common bad moods are several minutes or hours of negative feelings (in contrast to fleeting feelings) that come to all of us. But we don't have to think they are inevitable. A bad mood slips in unnoticed, and soon it takes over, spoiling the rest of the day for people. It all usually starts with one negative event or something that is wrongly interpreted as a negative event, and then that triggers off a series of negative thoughts. Then one comes to a conclusion that all people are like that, all men/women are like that, life is like that, or even that God is like that! This is actually over-generalising one event. The actual fact is that some people are sometimes like that, one or two people are usually like that, sometimes life is tough, and sometimes it is difficult to understand God. But if we get locked into a bad mood, it usually reduces our ability to think coherently.

It can even be that people who are in a bad mood get upset with others who try to encourage them by clarifying their thoughts. What such people are looking for is not clarity but only support for their way of looking at things!

But clarity of thoughts is what we need to overcome bad moods. Once we recognise we are in a bad mood (which takes some learning for some folks), we can ask the Holy Spirit to help us out of it. He usually brings some word of God to our mind which we should grab hold of and not let go. If we now start meditating on that word, whether it is a promise of God or some fact that corrects our present thinking, we will find that the mood begins to lift.

One of the promptings that we constantly get from the spirit that is in the world is to look outwards or into the future and to avoid looking inside at all costs. But actually, unless we learn how to look inside our mind, we can't notice the things that are going wrong, and then we won't be seeking correction. Another thing that we need to learn is to look at ourselves objectively, without taking our own side by justifying ourselves, blaming others, denying the reality, etc.

Our salvation starts with right thinking. When we realise we are sinners who deserve punishment, it is then we look for a Saviour. After we have been made a child of God, the way we become more like Christ is also by acknowledging where we are unlike Him and then seeking help from the Holy Spirit to transform us. This is why we are exhorted to renew our way of thinking (Rom.12:2), from the old way where we tried to 'save our own life' to the new way where we seek to receive the life of Christ in us (Mt.16:25).

On the contrary, if we allow ourselves to be led by our feelings, e.g. anger, bitterness, jealousy, discouragement, etc., we will ultimately ruin our life. When we are in a bad mood, and we allow ourselves to continue there, it can be very dangerous indeed.


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