It was only a small little torch but when I flicked the switch and pointed the beam of light at the ceiling the whole room filled with light. It doesn’t take much light to chase the darkness away. Moods can change when we flick the switch.
The brain takes the shape of whatever the mind rests upon. Dr. Rick Hanson
When depressed, a dark mood can become like a swamp holding you in its grip. You want to break free of the suction but you are held firm.
You need to get up. You’ve got things to do, commitments, relationships that rely on you but the gloom of a dark shadow grips you.
Then someone says ‘This too will pass’ or ‘You’re being lazy’ or ‘Every dark cloud has a silver lining’ and you want to throw a dark lazy non-passing black cloud up their …
DIET OF TEARS
Someone once described their dark moods in these ways.
- A diet of tears
- Being thrown down
- A soul singing the blues
- A sense of drowning under waves
- Of being in the middle of a storm where thunderclouds are banging and crashing all around you.
- As being forgotten by God
- The carrying a deadly wound
I don’t know who wrote Psalm 42 but I do know that they wore skin as the overcoat to their soul.
They were human like you and I. They had a deep dark mood that was difficult to shake off but they did have an awareness of control. That they could influence their situation even in the smallest of ways.
LOCUS OF CONTROL
Who or what is in control of your life?
This is one of the most crucial decisions you will have to make, and continue to make for your mental health
In psychology, there is a concept called Locus of Control. The word ‘Locus’ refers to a place where something occurs or is situated. Think of the word location.
A locus of control orientation is a belief about whether the outcomes of our actions are contingent on what we do (internal control orientation) or on events outside our personal control (external control orientation). Philip G. Zimbardo
It is embracing the ownership of our own life. My life, my responsibility.
THE ‘GOOD CHRISTIAN’ TRAP
In my youth, I learned that a good Christian is one where God is in control and you follow the rules. If you follow the rules then you will be ‘happy all the day’.
Just note how this can lead to having an external locus of control. That God is actually going to determine my outcomes and really I don’t have much influence on it, well as long as I follow the rules.
Where does grace come into this law bound life?
I now view life in a different way.
I am in the driver’s seat. I have control and I have invited God to ride up front with me, real close. We talk as we drive. I ask questions and seek help with navigation and how to change the tyre.
I still take wrong turns at times but with grace and delight, God helps me pull my life out of the ditch and get me back on track.
The pressure to perform is off. I am gifted with grace.
Let Jesus teach you how to drive rather than abdicating
the driving to him – before you have a crash that
results in a crisis of faith.
If you delegate to God what he’s delegated to you
tears are coming. David Riddell
HOPE IN GOD
The soul in Psalm 42 could easily sing P.L.O.M. (Poor Little Old Me). Instead, the writer gets proactive about the problem. They take responsibility for themselves and they speak truth to themselves.
From their internal locus of control, they speak three words. ‘Hope in God’
They spark themselves back into life with positive truth filled self-talk.
‘Sad self moods, I’m talking to you. I am choosing to Hope in God. You can come along on the journey with God and me but you’re going to sit in the back seat. You don’t get to navigate anymore. Oh, I know that you will habitually jump in the front seat because you always have, but with Gods help, I am going to keep on putting you in the back. Let’s get on the road’
I am not negating the need for medication. For many of us, including myself, medication enables the brain to think clearer and be able to speak the truth and to flick that small switch.
A SMALL SWITCH TO CHANGE THE MOODS
It was only a small switch that I had to move so that light filled my dark room. It was a choice of mine to move that small switch. It was a habit that grew deep in my brain that I have control over my life. It was a small switch and it was significant.
Quotes to consider
- An internal locus of control emerges when we develop a mental habit of transforming chores into meaningful choices, when we assert that we have authority over our lives. Charles Duhigg
- The choices that are most powerful in generating motivation are decisions that do two things: They convince us we’re in control and they endow our actions with larger meaning. Charles Duhigg
- To change your emotions, first get control of your thoughts. Ruts of the mind become moods of the heart. D. Riddell
Questions to answer and leave a comment below or anonymously
- What challenges arise in having to take responsibility for yourself, to be in control?
- What are three words that you can speak to yourself that are like a small switch that brings light to your darkness?
- What do you think this quote from David Riddell means. ‘If you delegate to God what he’s delegated to you tears are coming.’
Image cc:William Carlson
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