A Mood Fast

Since the beginning of the New Year I have asked, encouraged, and sometimes pled with people to consider fasting one day a week. Four days out of the month is what it requires. The time frame is from sunup to sundown and to have a fast throughout that day. The first fast was a meal fast — not just doing without food for that period of time but filling that space when you would be eating with a new, higher level of thought and need to focus your attention on the Lord rather than on your appetite.

The second fast, I call a media fast. I have already heard from several people who found it very difficult to actually spend a day out of an entire month not getting up and turning on the television or radio, or picking up a digital device to answer e-mails, text messages, Instagrams, missed calls, and voice mails, all to prove, “I’m going to live my life giving time for me to spend with the Lord more than being covered up with all of the media that comes into my life either to bring me joy or distraction or trash.” It is not easily done, but it can bless you.

Today I want to address a mood fast. Every one of us are people of moods even though we may not be moody. Even in the Bible when you begin to think about all the words that are connected with our moods, we are a combination of good, bad, and in-between moods. You find words in the Bible that certainly identify how our moods get caught into various area of emotion in our lives. Words like anger, joy, happy, misery, troubled, mournful. The list is extremely long in the Bible, but when you look at it in life, when you pass through each day, people can be melancholy, sulky, grouchy, dour, ill-tempered, cranky, gloomy, glum, sullen, and you can finish your own list.

We are a combination of moods. Most of us would quickly recognize that good moods — proper, healthy moods — are better than the ones that pull you down and sour your whole day. Whether it’s coming from you or at you, moods — the bad ones — can really disrupt everything. Here’s the challenge for people who are willing to fast and have a mood fast: be aware that whenever your mood begins to go into one of those less-than-helpful, less-than-healthy kind of moods, to stop.

To give up that mood. To replace it with a mood that would be far more helpful to everybody around you and more honoring to God because it would be uplifting rather than depleting and will be a mood that you can remember with a smile rather than a grimace or sadness.

Most of us, unless we deliberately focus on it, do not even think about changing our moods, but you can. I believe God would have us to give attention to it, to change our moods. Recently, I was visiting with a friend who is usually fairly positive, on the upside of things, and sees an opportunity for God to work in most areas. On this particular day, he was expressing some of his deep, unhealthy, and unhappy moods. As he was expressing himself about those moods, he stopped and said, “I’ve been trying lately to change my attitude about a lot of people on a lot of things.” Then he said, “I’m not making much headway today.”

The fact that he recognized his wrong moods were controlling his life at the moment was a positive thing. He began to be more positive just expressing a different attitude and a different mood, a different spirit about what he was dealing with. All of us can do that. Don’t think for a minute it’s not a challenge. It’s a God-sized challenge. It’s a desperate kind of radical turn around to change your disposition, your attitude, your mood.

Do you know people who are always upbeat and have a good attitude and a good mood? Probably 99% of them if not 100% will tell you that you have to work at it. It is a daily call to be in a better humor. I’m not asking you to give up a bad mood every day, just one day a month. For many, it will be the first day of your life that you started out at sunrise saying, “Every time a bad mood tries to weave its way into my life and worm itself into my brain, I’m going to stop, commune with the Heavenly Father, ask Him to give me grace and strength and a different attitude about the thing that I’m about to slide off into and be angry or bitter or heavy hearted about.” God will help you, but it will not be easy. If you think for a minute that a mood fast is not challenging, it’s evident of the fact that you’ve not tried to do it for a day.

Listen to Jesus as He talks about fasting in Matthew 6:16. Don’t be like the hypocrites who go out with their face all twisted around and their attitude hanging out on their grim look. Jesus said to clean up. Spice up. Put joy in your heart and on your face and go out and meet the day. If you study what Jesus said, you will find out He was saying you can change your attitude about today. You can turn those bad attitudes into good attitudes and those angry feelings into joyful, helpful feelings.

Today is the day you can begin a first-time-in-your-life experiment to go through the day meeting every bad mood with a stop sign and pausing to follow the detour sign that leads to a better attitude, a better spirit, a better emotion, a better day. Just try it. Under the help of Almighty God, see what He does in your life today as every time you have a bad attitude show itself, pause and ask Him to lead you into a good place, a right attitude, and ultimately a right relationship both with Him and with the people that you deal with.

The author can be contacted at directions@mbcb.org.

Jim Futral

Executive Director-Treasurer