SCRIPTURE: “Acquire your soul with patience” 2 Peter 1:5 (RV)
OSWALD: (May 26th)
There are certain things we must not pray about – moods, for instance. Moods never go by praying, moods go by kicking. A mood nearly always has its seat in the physical condition, not in the moral. 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. The curse with most of us is that we won’t. The Christian life is one of incarnate spiritual pluck.
The timing of Oswald’s entries in my life always amazes me. It has been a not-so-groovy, somewhat-moody week. I still have dizziness left over from a week-old cold plus an overwhelming amount of work at home and at church. My lower back has been hurting and I just want to curl up and sleep for a year or two. I’m crabby when I wake up in the morning and, unfortunately, my mood doesn’t improve much through the day.
It’s easy to rationalize that everyone has a blue day now or then…after all, life is difficult. It seems only right to throw a full-fledged pity party when things don’t go our way. But, as Christians, we are called to maturity and part of maturity is to put away childish things…like temper tantrums and tizzy fits. To take ourselves, like Oswald says, by “the scruff of the neck and shake ourselves” and give ourselves a little talking to like the psalmist did.
“Why are you downcast, O my soul?” Psalm 42:11 says. “…Put your hope in God.” When you consider the entire chapter, the writer appears to have a lot of reasons to be sad. God seems far away, he is in physical pain and tormented by enemies. And yet in the middle of legitimate excuses to feel moody, the writer pours out his pain but refuses to give in to despair.
As I’ve watched the news coverage of killer tornadoes ripping through the south this past week, I’ve wept at the destruction of homes and lives. What in the world do I have to complain about? Why do I so easily allow puny annoyances to destroy my focus and steal my joy? When it comes right down to it, I know little of true difficulty. Only occasional inconvenience.
After praying for those thousands of people who have lost so much, I repented of my petty moodiness. Then I blew my nose, wiped my eyes and got up to do what I said I could not.
You see, what Oswald Chambers says is true…I’ve tried praying away my blues, but instead of dispersing them, my moods only seem to increase with the increased attention. It is when I stand up and say, “No more, in Jesus name!” that I have experienced victory. For I’ve learned that if I don’t master my emotions, moodiness proves to be a slippery slope that can lead to full-fledged depression.
So, out you go, moody blues! As for me and my shifting emotions… we’re putting our hope in God.