Is Moodiness a Choice?
I can be in a bad mood with the best of them. Wanting to pout and growl and show my teeth just because I’m not happy. Today as I sat dwelling in my mood because something wasn’t going my way, I began to think about the last time my son was in a bad mood, and how my husband was able to help him out of it.
To explain I’ll have to start by sharing an experience I had as a newlywed. When I was in a bad mood or feeling down, my husband would try to cheer me up by trying to make me laugh. As a therapist in training, I found that to be kind of offensive. I would fight back with more moodiness and think about how he should be listening to all the details of the mood and just let me sit in it. After all, aren’t we all allowed to have our feelings? Shouldn’t we all be validated for expressing our thoughts and feelings? That’s what society tells us. However, God has helped me to see over time that we do have a choice.
The power of choice
It’s funny how our moods can change as soon as we get into a new environment. For example, a mom who is mad at her kids but suddenly feels much better and is able to smile at her children’s embarrassing behaviors when guests arrive for a playdate. Or the man who is mad at his wife but gets to work and is still able to function well. In the story I referenced earlier for my son, he was mad that I had forgotten to do something I told him I would do. As he came downstairs with his arms crossed, a scowl on his face, and many groans to express his frustration my husband cut him off. He started laughing and telling him we would fix the problem and that it was no big deal. My husband is good at making any problem seem smaller with a playful game or funny face. As I walked over I could see the change beginning to show in my son’s face. He was trying to stay in his bad mood but also wanted to laugh at the playful behavior of my husband. He was trying so hard to stay mad at me but at the same time he became less and less mad and eventually his mood dissipated.
God cares about our state of mind
As I continue to remain in my bad mood I wonder, what if I were able to use positive self-talk, or remind myself of something funny or find a comforting passage in God’s Word? What if I regained my perspective of how much God loves me just the way that I am and that I have a purpose here on earth to show his love to others. Would I be able to snap myself out of this mood if I just gave up the fight? Maybe I’m just choosing to think about the negatives and not the positives. God tells us not to dwell on negative things.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).
Maybe it’s not only a choice but it’s actually a behavior that goes against what the bible teaches us to do. I know I’m going to try to start using this information to make better choices.
Tools to improve your mood
- Think about things that are positive
- Remind yourself of something funny
- Think of things for which you are grateful
- Find a comforting passage in God’s Word
- Remember that God loves you just the way that you are
- Remember you have a purpose on earth to show His love to others
- When was the last time you were in a bad mood?
- What brought you out of it?
- Have you ever been in a bad mood, but chose to hide it when entering a new environment?
- What does God want us to dwell on?
- The next time you’re tempted to be in a bad mood, what will you do to help improve your state of mind?
Father God, please help me to choose to think on things that are excellent and praiseworthy, instead of dwelling on negative thoughts. Thank you that you love me, and that you never give up on me. Please help me to have a thankful heart and remember I have a purpose on earth to show others your love.
“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
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