Turning it over to God

October 27, 2006 | 14 comments

So I’m in a horrible mood today. We’re spending the weekend at my mother-in-law’s house and I’m worn out from traveling with two little kids and just grouchy in general. It’s one of those days where I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. A couple little things irritated me this morning and put me in an even worse mood and I’ve been sitting here stewing about all that is wrong with the world ever since.

I actually have a moment alone since the kids are out with my husband and his mother, so I took the opportunity to reflect and see how I can push through this funk. I tried praying, but it came out more as whining in God’s general direction (“Lord, did you see what So-and-so did to me?! That was so rude! Aren’t they just awful?! Look at what a bad person they are!”)

I realized that I was not going to pull myself out of this downward spiral of negativity, and I thought of the advice I recently heard that you can not do this sort of thing alone. We must have God’s help in order to be the people we need to be. So I pulled out the Abandonment Prayer that our RCIA director gave us and said that. As I read the part about abandoning myself to God’s will I thought, “Yes, this is what I need to do! I really mean that!…But how on earth do you do that?”

Once again, I am hung up on technicalities. I have no idea how one goes about abandoning oneself to God. Should I fall to my knees and pray continuously until the kids get back? Should I pray a rosary? Should I ask myself what Jesus would do in this situation and do only that? (I am going to re-name this site The Stupid Questions blog).

I don’t have much more time to write since everyone is about to get back, but I throw this out to you guys: what do you do when you’re in a horrible mood, feeling easily irritated by everyone and everything and grateful for almost nothing, and simply cannot pull out of it on your own?


  1. Julie D.

    My answer is on my blog because I thought it was such a good question … and since I’ve been living it lately!

  2. SteveG

    I pray two short prayers.

    Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

    O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

    Then…I get up and try to think of something I can do for someone else that will brighten their day. I try to find some way to share my love. To take the focus of me. It’s actually ‘painful’ to do that at times (depending how badly I feel), but its starts a process of getting myself out of that self-centered phase.

    Look for opportunities to give and in giving you will receive. Even if you don’t feel GREAT, you’ll be better off than if you hadn’t tried that.

  3. Sarah

    Wow, Jen. That’s a great thing to think about. I direct you to my blog, because I’m right there with you today…and it seems my reflection this morning speaks right to this (just as your reflection speaks right to me…LOUDLY!)

  4. Kiwi Nomad 2006

    I usually try to have some exercise, even a short walk. Amazing what a little bit of oxygen does for the brain.

  5. Martin

    Jen, try not to get caught up in the technicalities. The rosary can be wonderful … and I really enjoy the Scriptural Rosary (to help keep my mind from wandering so much). I have a nice booklet that I use.

    Sometimes when I run across situations that I don’t know how to resolve or fix, I just pray for guidance, wisdom, and peace. I know that with whatever happens, I trust in God to help me through it.

    As one of the Psalms says: “In peace I shall both lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me secure.” (Psalm 4:9)

    Our petitions should be, not that our wishes be done, but that God’s will should be fulfilled in us and by us. When something bad happens to us, we should accept it … even with gladness. As did the apostles “who went from the presence of the council rejoicing, that they were accounted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus.” (Acts 5:41)

  6. Anonymous

    Jen, I have no great advice because you are way ahead of me. I usually stew in it until God picks up my special 2×4 (the one with my name on it) and WHACKS me. Then I pray (with no special words), “Lord, help me.”

    If I get that much. I mostly just think those un-word-able thoughts that look for direction so as not to take my grouchy mood out on the kids. Usually it follows the *Heavy Sigh* that I let out.

    Then I ask my children’s forgiveness, which I think is God’s way of pounding some humility into me.

    Not a dumb question at all, because I’ve never even heard of an abandonment prayer, and I think that your formation will be light-years ahead of my own. 🙂

    Now, I’m off to read what everyone else said, because I’m wondering how I can handle it better, too.

  7. Darwin

    I can think of three very Catholic answers to this:

    1) Grit your teeth and “offer it up for the poor souls in purgatory” (my Mom’s favorite cure for all complaints when I was small)

    2) Grab a few minutes alone to say a decade of the rosary.

    3) Have a drink.

    The great thing about the last of these options, is that you can use it as a follow-up to either of the first two 🙂

  8. Adoro Te Devote

    I also struggle with giving all up to God…I have a hard time remembering that no matter what, I have no control over the situation. Frustration as you describe results when we think we can control the details and thus the outcome.

    So I often have to take a step back, ask God what I’m supposed to be learning from this (the answer is often “patience” –for me, anyway), and then I grab a crucifix. I will take a few moments, meditate on Jesus’ suffering, and realize if he can deal with that on our behalf…I can handle whatever is grating at me.

    I also tell Jesus that it’s too much, I can’t handle it, and beg for His mercy, take a deep breath, and go back to work.

    You’d be surprised how often God steps in at that point and provides some relief…som “problem” suddenly goes away, or someone arrives to help.

    Sometimes all we have to do is ask.

  9. Will Duquette

    I take a deep breath, ask Jesus for peace, and tell everyone I’m dealing with (usually my wife and kids) that I’m in a foul mood (as if they didn’t know) and that It’s Not Their Fault.

  10. Georgette

    Great question, Jen! And I am enjoying the responses, too.

    As for myself…what I would LIKE to say is that I immediately run to God, completely abandoning it all to Him by giving him my awful feelings, laying them at the foot of His cross, having a good cry, unloading it all on Him until I have gotten all the rotteness off my chest and out of my mind, and then I am restored to a fresh purpose of amendment to do better and to love more.

    But what I USUALLY end up doing is letting my husband or daughter get the full brunt of my frustrations (in the form of complaints usually–or if it’s a real bad day, ranting and raving like a maniac). And it is only after I have added THAT extra sin to my already long list (wallowing in self pity and impatience with others’ own shortcomings and unwillingness to forgive and all the other focus on self– is really where all the complaining and bad mood is coming from), that I am ready to do an examination of conscience and ask Him for forgiveness. I then ask Him for a sense of humor to see everything for what it really is. To see things as God sees them. And boy, do I start to look funny! Almost ALWAYS my bad mood is based on me taking myself too seriously. How can I get offended when I realize that I do the same things, and worse, to GOD all the time? What an arrogance on my part to ‘get offended’! sheesh!

    Then I pray for all those who I have been ranting against: Lord, bless them. Show them Your great Love and Mercy and Peace and grant them many blessings in their lives. And make me better. Poor Jesus. You have such a slow, dull student in me. Show me Your ways, Lord.

    If I REALLY learned something, I would skip the ranting part and go right to this final act and prayer. But, I am a slow learner, even after all these years. Poor Jesus, what He puts up with in me! But it only makes me love Him all the more.

  11. paula

    Man, Jen-you sound alot like me. This is something I have had to struggle with for a long time as an adult. Just being able to turn to God is huge progress-usually I just want to continue beating up whoever is in my way. The first thing that I say, almost in desperation, is “please, God, help me”. If necessary, I remove myself from the situation by going out for a walk or a drive. The older I get, the more I see the astonishing beauty of the Lord in nature-it’s all around us. And by getting a good dose of oxygen (as someone pointed out) and letting myself just wonder at the beauty outside, I can calm myself down and get out of whatever snit I might be in. Then I say a prayer of thanksgiving: “Thank you Lord for not letting me kill so and so…”

  12. Laura H.

    i, too, wish i could say that i have some great way to sovle this problem and i wish i could say i turn everything over completely and quickly to God when this happens but honestly, i usually end up getting so frustrated with my inability to just chill out that i end up crying. and then i, still crying and annoyed, ask God to take it away. then i try again to snap out of it. if it doesn’t work, i repeat the process.

  13. Blair

    Some simple things that help me:
    -Realizing I’m not in control. When I’m stressed or anxious about something or someone, I have to recognize things that I can’t change and try to be more at peace with them.
    -Try to listen to the Holy Spirit when I’m making a decision. Whether it’s how to speak to my family member I’m annoyed with or what to do with a sick child, I need to try to still myself and think about what decision I am being led to and have more of an inkling that it might be of God.
    -Reading the Gospels daily. The more I know about the decisions Christ made and the way he approached people, the better I am at choosing to do good in imitation of Him.
    -And I’ll agree with the other comment about exercising. Yesterday I was at my parents’ and was feeling like this. My dh encouraged me to just go and take a long walk. It really helped!

  14. Jerret

    On days like that, when I’m just pissed off at the world and snap at everyone, I just listen to music (usually angry) or watch a movie, and try not to think about it. I tend to get over things like that pretty quick when I ignore it.

    Or I go out with some friends to forget about whatever it was. That always helps.

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