Who Is in Control? When You Long for a Peaceful Heart

Gold Brush Stroke

Few things are more frustrating to me then when I find myself critical, cranky, and crying for no apparent reason. And while I can make wise choices to help turn my mood around, I’m learning the key to a peaceful heart isn’t in my power but in God’s transforming Word.  

Down-in-the-Dumps Attitude

Some days my feelings yo-yo around. They dip and peak with little apparent reason for the changes. One minute I’m satisfied and content, yet an instant later I’m irritable and sad.

As I snap at my husband after joking with him a minute prior, I’m left to wonder, Where did that come from? As uncontrollable tears replace the worship song that was on my lips an hour earlier, I can’t help but ask, What is wrong with me?

My life abounds with blessings. Sure there are challenges: with parenting/guiding my adult and teenage sons, being caretaker for my young adult daughter who has special needs, trying to figure out housing for the not-so-distant future. But God has more than provided. So why the quick shifts in my attitude?

The short answer? Because I’m living in an imperfect body, with imperfect thoughts and feelings, in an imperfect/broken world.

However, the bigger problem is what can I do about it? Sometimes nothing seems to help.

Searching for Answers

I experienced this again recently. My day remained the same, but my attitude decided to sour. It didn’t make sense. The morning and afternoon were fine, yet shortly after I walked in the door that evening I felt the change.

Chastising myself did no good. Desperate prayers didn’t immediately lift my spirits. I wanted to hide away, but that wasn’t an option. Motherhood called.

Recognizing my crabby mood, I chose an evening activity with Rachel that wouldn’t involve a lot of effort (thus more frustration) on my part. Snuggling together under a soft blanket and reading aloud is a favorite activity of mine. Still I remained moody.

My patience waned thinner as our bedtime routine began. Once she was in bed, I collapsed in my own.

What is wrong with me? I chastised. There’s no reason for me to feel this way!

I didn’t want to fall asleep while in such a funk, so reading a short devotion sounded like just the thing to reset my mood. I opened a couple devotional books I had, but nothing grabbed me.

Finally, in desperation, I picked up my old travel Bible on my nightstand. A year or so ago, I had retired the tattered, rubber band–bound book from daily duty. Tonight I felt drawn to it.

Who’s in Control of Your Heart?

Immediately upon opening it, an index card slipped out, landing in my lap. The words written on it nearly leaped off its surface:

“And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.” Colossians 3:15 HCSB

Who is controlling your heart? Peace of Christ

That’s it! I felt it deep down. Not the “be thankful” part. I’d been trying to do that on my own: recalling and recording at least three things from each day I was grateful for. It is a great practice, yet I controlled it. 

The missing part was, “let the peace of the Messiah [of Christ] control [rule] your hearts”! I have been trying to manhandle my heart, instead of letting Christ do His work in it.

Instead of manhandling your heart to feel a certain way, let Christ do His transforming work in it. Share on X

A Peaceful Heart Is a Transformed Heart

Doing our part to stay grounded in the truth, hope, and love of God is important, but critical to walking in the peace of Christ is letting Him have control over our hearts. Wishing won’t make it so. Manhandling it won’t do it either.

A peaceful countenance comes from a peaceful heart, and that’s only possible when our heart is transformed and filled from His well.

Doing our part to stay grounded in the truth, hope, and love of God is important, but critical to walking in the peace of Christ is letting Him have control over our hearts. Share on X

In fact, the very next verse in Colossians alludes to that very truth: 

“Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Colossians 3:16 CSB

“Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you,” the Word, Holy Scripture: God’s Holy Bible is the well from which we get lasting peace. That’s why I felt pulled to grab my Bible when in my funk. I needed the peace only God can provide through His Word. 

A peaceful countenance comes from a peaceful heart, and that's only possible when our heart is transformed and filled from His well—the life-giving well of the Holy Bible! Share on X

Maybe we place too much hope in our own ability to control our feelings. Perhaps, instead, we should release control to God. After all, He did create emotions. He knows better than any of us how to best secure lasting peace. And it’s not by trying harder.

Where do you turn when you’re in the dumps for no apparent reason? How have you experienced the truth of the Word’s transforming power? 

If you would like a little more encouragement to grab onto the peace our Lord offers, check out my devotional, Everyday Praise: Walking in Greater Peace, available on Amazon. Everyday Praise

*Disclaimer: I’m not addressing clinical depression in this post. If you think you or a loved one might have clinical depression, seek professional help. 


By His Grace,



  1. Francois Badenhorst on March 14, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    Dear Julie, thank you for a wonderful friendship and all your encouragement which means a lot to me. Blessings IN Jesus Christ. Francois.

    • Julie Sunne on March 15, 2019 at 6:10 am

      Thank you, Francois! I’m blessed to be able to encourage you.

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Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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