“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5
I can be cruising through life with a smile on my face and a song in my heart and then BAM! Party over. What causes such an abrupt deflating of my balloon? Other’s attitudes and moods.
This is a constant battle for me. I seem to be hardwired to take personally a loved one’s bad mood. The bad mood may have nothing to do with me, but that doesn’t matter to this chronic people pleaser. “Must fix bad mood” becomes my obsessive mantra.
But have you ever tried to fix someone else’s bad mood? Let me break it to you: you can’t – it doesn’t work! Oh it may for a minute or even a day, but you cannot change someone else (oh if only I could permanently learn this lesson!)
So what happens to my mood after my attempts at fixing other’s moods fail? I get down, depressed, and in a bad mood. To quote the psalmist, “My soul is downcast.” I feel as though I have allowed others to steal my joy.
But the minute I think that, I realize it’s a lie; for how can someone steal my joy if it is something that Jesus put within me? (“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11.)
If Jesus’ joy is literally in me than no one can possibly take it away! So then why do I become so joy-less? I think I have figured that out: I allow other’s moods and attitudes to build walls around my joy.
Think of joy as a warm light in your heart. A light that chases the darkness away and allows us to SEE Jesus in our every day to day lives; a light that wraps itself around us when things don’t make sense and reminds us of God’s sovereign reign; a light that shines brightly in the darkness of this fallen world.
When I allow other’s moods to affect my joy, it is like I begin placing bricks around my “joy light.” My joy is still there (because Jesus put it there) but it becomes hard to see because I have allowed others to hide it. Does that make sense?
So now that I know the problem, what is the solution??? I think I may have stumbled on something yesterday which God confirmed to me today. Yesterday after realizing that I was allowing my joy to be hidden, I sat down and wrote a letter to my heart (does that sound weird to anyone?) As I wrote I reminded myself who God is and what He has done in the past. I reminded my heart that this trial is only temporary and that my joy is Jesus.
After my “Dear Heart” letter (not at all like a “Dear John” letter) I turned on some worship tunes. And then I sang – my heart out (or more appropriately – I sang my joy free!)
It is really hard to have a downcast soul when you are singing praises to your Creator. I’ll admit it took about 5 songs until my heart caught up to my words. But keep singing until your heart believes the words coming from your mouth. Then this morning my devotional was from Psalm 42, where the psalmist instructs his downcast soul to trust in the Lord. It is a beautiful Psalm and instruction manual for down times. I urge you to go and read that Psalm today!
Did my solution fix anyone else’s mood? Nope. But did my joy return? Absolutely!
Maybe your not a chronic people pleaser (and for that be eternally grateful 😉 ) but maybe your joy is being hidden by other circumstances today. One thing I am learning is that our joy is independent of our circumstances. My friend, I pray that you will talk to your heart. Remind yourself that God is so much bigger than your circumstances and that He has given you the gift of indwelling JOY. Let Him remove the bricks that surround your joy. Let His love and His light pour over you today. Press into Him and ask Him to meet your needs. Then trust Him to do what is best as you snuggle into His arms and bask in the glow of pure JOY.