Do you ever feel like your mood changes faster than the stock market? One day you’re in a very content, happy place, and a day later you’re feeling lonely, depressed or sad?
Or better yet, do you feel wonderful in the morning and by the afternoon it’s like the tide has flipped your mood on its axis and you have no idea why?
That’s how it’s been for me a bit lately. Very mercurial. Up and down.
At the moment I tend to blame it on the winter season (insert visual of me with my fist held high at the bleak, cloudy, cold sky) … but in reality, I think it goes a bit deeper.
I think that in the moments of our lives when we tend to go up and down in our emotions, we need to have a look inside. Become interior. And it’s in these internal moments that we are forced to confront ourselves in honesty.
Our interior honesty.
And a part of finding that interior honesty is to face a simple truth: we are often very skilled at lying … to ourselves.
Not the, “I couldn’t make it to work because there was a four-car pileup on the interstate,” type of lies.
No, I’m talking more about the kind of lies where we deceive and justify our actions, or the lack thereof.
For example, are we spending enough time in the company of God?
Are we talking to him regularly?
Are we praying often or enough?
Are we living in a way that represents how God would want us to live?
These are very simple interior questions, but the answers can often become very complex.
So let’s answer them honestly.
With no defensiveness. No excuses. No pride. No avoidance.
Just honest-to-goodness truthful answers that, heck, God already knows the answer to anyway.
For me personally, when my interior honestly kicks in, the dirt comes out faster than a clogged vacuum cleaner.
And I start to realize just how weak and miserable I am when God isn’t truly the center of my life.
And I’m willing to bet that most of our excuses are pretty much the same: “I’m too busy,” “I’m feeling spiritually dry,” “I’m suffering” … the list goes on and on.
But the funny thing is, when we really examine the reasons for not praying (and again, being completely honest with ourselves), every excuse is actually a validation of why we absolutely need God at that moment.
I love the quote from Saint Francis de Sales, “Everyone of us needs a half hour of prayer every day, except when we are busy — then we need an hour.” It sounds so counterproductive, but actually, it’s spot on.
It’s easy to be happy and confident when things are going well. But it’s also very easy to go to the other extreme of discouragement, sadness, or fear as dryness or difficulties come into our lives.
But it’s only when we put our complete dependence on God that we’re better able to navigate and manage the hard times, whether they last for days, hours or minutes.
Because at the end of the day there is a hard but vital lesson that each and every one of us must face — without God we are nothing.
And a deep appreciation of this truth will help us to better control our thoughts and desires. And it will help us to be stronger in times of temptation.
When we are feeling defeated or weak, it’s then that we must pray and converse with God the most, so that we can rise from the ashes of sadness and despair with more determination.
God has a plan for every single one of us. A unique plan. A plan that fits each of us perfectly as individuals.
Stop and think about that for a moment. It’s worth repeating.
God has a plan for every single one of us.
A unique plan.
A plan that fits each of us perfectly as individuals.
God has a plan for you. A plan that is focused on your eternal happiness and salvation.
There will be times when God gives you interior joy, peace and even exhilaration to do good and to help others.
And at other times, you will feel void of these interior gifts, perhaps feeling dejected, gloomy, unhappy and discouraged. And somehow, with God, you will still be able to reach out and show kindness to others who are in need of it.
But with God in your life … in your prayers … in your thoughts … and in frequent conversation with Him, you will begin to feel more balanced, without giving in to the moods and feelings that can ruin the day.
You’ll more quickly recognize and understand that moods and feelings shift often, and that through the interior honesty that God provides, you’ll be reminded during times of trials and struggles, that the peace you experienced previously will return again in due time.
Life is a journey. A journey that if we choose wisely leads us to an eternal union with Christ — even starting here.
The next time you’re feeling down, whether it be a rainy day, or a terrible suffering, know that God is there with you and for you. Always. And through the hard times, He seeks you even more, so that He can be your strength. The Rock that you need at this very moment.
Stay at the side of our Lord always, whether you feel yourself raised up in joy or submerged in spiritual darkness and sadness. Or even if you’re just sick of winter.
Learn to become dependent on God for all things. Because without Him we are nothing and can do nothing.
And by admitting our dependence on Him, our daily life becomes better and more fulfilling, in both the happy and sad times.
So let’s give our whole selves over to God. Right here. Right now.