In the 70’s someone created a piece of jewelry that, for awhile was quite a fad. It was called a “mood ring.” This ring contained a stone that changed colors as you wore it, supposedly based on the particular emotional state you were in at any given time. It came with a color code so that after wearing the ring for a while you could glance at it, note the color of the stone, and understand your mood — angry, anxious, calm, relaxed, happy or sad. Part of the theory of the ring was that moods just happen biologically and involuntarily, and the chemistry of your body will reflect them. Therefore, the best we can do is to recognize our mood in the moment, and go with it’s flow!
While we have moved on from wearing mood rings, unfortunately we have not left behind a basic part of the theory that made them popular. All too often we still buy into the idea that moods are outside our control. They just show up in our lives based on biology or circumstances or whatever. We can do nothing about them. We should enjoy them when they are good and endure them when they are not so good. They come and go, and there’s not a lot we can do about them. And when they are not so good, our attitude is “Just leave me alone, I’m in a bad mood!”
There certainly are biological rhythms to life, and reactions, not consciously chosen by us, in the chemistry of our brains that affect our moods and feelings, but we are not left to the mercy of our moods, with no control over them. According to the Bible, we are not absolved of responsibility for our moods. Scripture teaches us that moods can be managed. Attitudes and emotions can be changed.
Take a look at some of the Apostle Paul’s instructions to us about managing our moods:
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with f love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” — Colossians 3:12-15 (NLT)
This passage is filled with mood management instructions. Nowhere are we told to just go with the flow of feelings. We are taught to choose our moods — to determine our attitudes — rather than passively allowing them to conquer and control us.
Oswald Chambers, in his wonderful devotional, “My Utmost For His Highest” makes this statement about mood management for Christian believers:
“There are certain things we must not pray about – moods, for instance. Moods never go by praying, moods go by kicking … It is a continual effort not to listen to the moods which arise from a physical condition, never submit to them for a second. We have to take ourselves by the scruff of the neck and shake ourselves, and we will find that we can do what we said we could not … “
A great goal for all of us is to become better managers of our moods. It is challenging, but the rewards are worth the effort!