More than a ‘Mood Ring’ (Part 2)

23 Mar

In Fantastic After 40, Pam Farrel describes the domino effect of allowing emotions to control our lives ~ soon our emotions run rampant!

Question: How many women with PMS does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Answer: One. One! And do you know why it only takes one? Because no one else in this house even Lightbulb_smashedknow how to change a lightbulb. They don’t even know the bulb is burned out. They would sit in this house in the dark for three days before they figured it out. And once they figured it out, they wouldn’t be able to find the lightbulbs despite the fact that they’ve been in the same cupboard for the past 17 years. But if they did, by some miracle, find the lighbulbs, two days later the chair they dragged from two rooms over to stand on to change the stupid lightbulb would still be in the same spot! And underneath it would be the crumpled wrapper the stupid lightbulbs came in. Why? Because no one in this house ever carries out the garbage! It’s a wonder we haven’t all suffocated from the piles of garbage that are 12-feet deep throughout the entire house. The house! The house! It would take an army to clean this house … *

(Sounds like there’s a wee bit of anger mixed in with that moodiness, don’t you think? I imagine this moody woman smashing a lightbulb!)

In the last post, we discussed some of the reasons for moodiness, and saw that there were many various causes ~ some physical, some emotional or mental, and some spiritual.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a moody person is “subject to depression, gloomy; subject to moods, temperamental; or expressive of a mood.” That’s a pretty wide spectrum. Some people don’t like their own moodiness, and others with physical problems struggle with moods; but some say, “That’s just the way I am,” leaving others to deal with them. And heaven help us when we deal with teenagers’ fluctuating moods!

So, how do you respond biblically to a person who is moody?

(1) Give them lots of love and grace. Many times when a person is moody, they are not likely “themselves,” so don’t take what they say too seriously when moodiness makes them lash out. Keep your distance for a while, if the moodiness includes anger. Offer consolation, but not in the heat of the moment. Give the person time to calm down a bit, and then, with compassion, try to get them to open up. Listen, and don’t offer advice at this point unless asked. Be tender and selfless. Do not judge them. Think of many of the “one another” scriptures ~ so many of them will help you respond correctly.

(2) Guard your own heart (Proverbs 4:23). While you can be empathetic, don’t allow your own mood to mimic theirs.  Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a spirit of kindness and  inner joy, and practice self-control. On page 149 of Fantastic After 40, Pam recommends remembering the acrostic C-A-L-M to “maintain that inner peace, balance, positive confidence, and a ‘Love of Life’ attitude'” ~ Care enough to confront; Accept that people grow and change; Learn to forgive, reconcile, and release; and Move yourself forward. Ask God to give you a serene soul (Psalm 131:1-2) ~ “calm and quieted.”

(3) Help them respond in healthier ways. Perhaps when the person is in a better mood, you might explain how you or others feel when mood swings enter into relationships. Discuss a way that you can deal with the mood swing as it begins. Help them formulate a plan, or at least a signal you can recognize that can be their “cry for help” before things get out of hand. Be an accountability partner.

(4) Offer good reading material that is both medically and biblically sound. For example, Pam recommends Leslie Vernick’s book, Defeating Depression: Real Hope for Life-Changing Wholeness (Harvest House, 2009). In one of my favorites, Elyse Fitzpatrick and Dr. Laura Hendrickson addressed “Out of Control Moods” in their book, Will Medicine Stop the Pain? Finding God’s Healing for Depression, Anxiety, and Other Troubling Emotions (Moody Publishers, 2006). I also recommend Putting Your Past in Its Place: Moving Forward in Freedom and Forgiveness by Stephen Viars (Harvest House Publishers, 2011) in helping someone deal with issues from their past that may have lingering effects.

(4) Pray for and with the person (James 5:16). Pray by yourself when they are deep into a mood. Pray for wisdom to respond in a godly, helpful manner. Ask God to expose the reason for the moodiness. At the appropriate time, offer to pray with the person for their needs ~ perhaps something shared with you as you listened, earlier.

Friend, God can indeed help us deal with our moods. Nothing is too hard for God! (Jeremiah 32:17; Luke 1:37) He gives us many principles that lead to peace of mind, inner joy, sound, biblical thinking.  Also, as Christians, we can come alongside our friends and family to help them deal with their moodiness.

When our responses go beyond fun with a mood ring, we may be crying for help. If you struggle with moodiness of any kind, turn to Christ and His Word, seek counsel where needed, and enlist the help of a compassionate, understanding accountability partner. God wants to restore your joy.

* Fantastic After 40, (Harvest House Publishers, 2007), pp. 51-52

[Disclaimer: I do not intend here to diagnose anyone’s mental or physical state. Complicating factors that lead to severe depression or thoughts of suicide are not meant to be addressed here. Please see your doctor for health-related concerns, and a competent, well-trained counselor or spiritual leader for other issues. ~ DW]


3 Responses to “More than a ‘Mood Ring’ (Part 2)”

  1. Kay March 23, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    Good suggestions for dealing with people who are moody! I look forward to reading more of your helpful posts.

  2. Sharon G. March 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    Don’t forget The Bondage Breaker by Neil Anderson. That book changed my life. It’s a bit intense but I’m sure I’m not the only one it could help.

  3. Dawn Wilson March 23, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    Elyse Fitzpatrick has some good books, too: “Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety” and “Will Medicine Stop the Pain?” are two good ones.

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