The Lasting Power of a Momentary Mood


We may think we're at the mercy of our moods, but we're not. In reality, our moods are at OUR mercy.

It’s Monday. The first day after a holiday. The day when all breaks seem too short, no matter how long they were, and when getting back into the routine is harder than walking through a swamp in boots and ankle weights. It feels like a set-up, maybe even a personal insult. And I have pretty solid evidence that it is. It’s raining.

That’s irrational, you say? Please. I have very little tolerance for logic when I’m feeling persecuted. Never mind that I just spent several days thanking God for all the blessings in my life and feasting on some of them. Today’s the day many of us turn our attention from the blessings and back toward the lack—the have-to, ought-to, could-have-been, should-have-been things in our lives.

I could get all preachy about how thankfulness should be the norm and complaining should be the rare exception. Or I could simply refuse to face my mountainous to-do list—it keeps growing during off days, you know—and extend the holiday a little longer. But no, I’m just going to make two simple observations and then get on with the day.

  1. Moods seem trivial and peripheral, but they are really a big deal. Mine can affect my entire family immediately and many others around me over time. They are highly contagious. They are momentum-shifters. Even when they start out small, they have huge impact. The good ones are fuel for our own lives and those in our environment; the bad ones are deadly poisons that have a startling ability to foster discord and discontent all around us. As much as we might want to be self-contained, we’re not. We profoundly affect our spiritual environment.
  1. We think we’re at the mercy of our moods, but that’s an illusion. In reality, they are at our mercy. We can change them. Our emotional habits may seem to have the upper hand, but our wills are actually stronger. It isn’t that we need to deny our emotions; we just need to redirect them. That’s why scripture often tells us things like, “In everything, rejoice,” “Sing a new song,” “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise,” “Be anxious for nothing,” “Make a joyful noise,” and all sorts of emotion-filled instructions. Far from downplaying the importance of feelings, it urges us to synchronize our feelings with truth and with the heartbeat of God himself.

So on this rainy, gloomy, end-of-the-holiday-and-back-to-the-grind Monday, I ask myself some penetrating questions: Is God discouraged? Is he overwhelmed with his to-do list? Does he feel like he’s walking through a swamp in boots and ankle weights? No, I think not. So apparently my heart began this day out of sync with his, and that needs to change—both for my sake and for the sake of those around me who need to see a clear a reflection of God’s heart. At this moment on this Monday morning, the direction of this week for myself and others hangs in the balance. And I’m making a powerful choice: it’s going to be good.

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