From the televised sermon: "Controlling Your Moods" ....
Another important key to not living our lives moody is we have to learn to be realistic and not idealistic. Idealistic means that we think everything is going to always go our way. Everybody's going to treat me right today. Every freeway is going to be traffic free. I'm going to get out of this parking lot tonight in five minutes. No, that's not realistic. Even Jesus said "In life we will have difficulty." I know people that are so idealistic, that they set themselves up for disappointment.
And I'm all for expecting good things. I'm all for expecting the best. But the reality is we live in an imperfect world, with imperfect people. And there are going to be things that don't go our way. Sometimes simply so God can test us. Sometimes so our character can be developed. If you're expecting your children to always be perfect. Your spouse to never hurt you and that every break go your way, then you're setting yourself up for disappointment. A better way to live is to say "God, here are my plans for today. I'm submitting them to you believing for the best. But whatever does or doesn't happen, God my trust is in you. And I believe that because I keep my trust in you you've already promised that you'll cause all things to work together for my good."
When you have that kind of attitude, even if your plans don't work out, even if you go through some dissappointments, you don't have to be frustrated. you know that God has you in the palm of your hands. You know in those tough times your character is being developed. You're growing. So you can stay consistent and enjoy that day anyway. But don't set yourself up for disappoinment by expecting everything to always go perfect.
For some reason, this jumps out more at me this time than it had before. But I think it speaks directly to those who would suggest something less of Joel's ministry. But I guess this is just one of those sermons they choose not to hear.
This actually ties in a bit to the section covered in Koinonia by John Maxwell. The chapter was on "The Approachability Principle." The point of it is that, by making ourselves approachable, we help others become more at ease with us. Think about it. If you don't know how your boss is going to react to bad news, are you more or less inclined to approach him with it? If your friend has wildly differing reactions to certain topics, does that make you more or less likely to bring them up in conversation?
There's a section of this principle in which Maxwell notes that one way we help make ourselves more approachable is to delay our emotions, maintaining a consistency in mood. That set off a bit of discussion after the video at our table (abley led by FBB commentor and my good friend Dale). I think there's some inherent difficulty in grasping this point, though. After all, didn't Maxwell have another principle in this same book that spoke to the need to confront people ASAP whenever conflict arises? But to the degree that this principles get confused, I think it's that we confuse our reaction with our emotions. They're not the same.
Emotions are best formed gradually. I've never been one to make a great deal out of first impressions, despite everyone saying how important they are (and, really, they are). Part of that is because I've been through enough moments in life that I've been grateful to have a second chance at making a good impression. But there are moments where something or someone rubs you the wrong way far more quickly than you'd like it to. When that happens, however, I can address the situation or person involved far better if I keep an even keel. That's different from my emotions, which may as well be to strangle someone. But I may learn something in the course of addressing the situation that gives more background to it then I had before. So what's the point of letting off a hotheaded emotion if there's a reasonably good chance that it's not fully formed by fact? It doesn't do me any good ... I'm not sure how it really does anyone else any good either. That's not to suggest you should store up everything and never let it out. But it is to suggest that you should go with a fully-formed emotion moreso than one that doesn't have enough information behind it.