Years ago when Dave was praying for a wife, he asked God to give him someone who needed help.
And God gave him me!
At the time, I was twenty-three years old and I was a mess. I had grown up in a very unstable atmosphere, which made me unstable. I didn't know what peace was and had, in fact, never experienced it.
My dad was an alcoholic and sometimes violent. He was a controller, a manipulator and a very angry man. There was a lot of fear in our home continually.
When Dave and I had been married about three weeks, he asked me, "What's wrong with you?" The problem was, Dave was stable and knew how to enjoy his life. And he didn't let me control him with my bad moods or temper tantrums. But I, on the other hand, had never seen stability, peace or spiritual maturity before. It made me uncomfortable, and sometimes even angry.
It took a few years of living with Dave for me to realize that he had something I needed. He was a great example for me. I finally became so hungry for stability that I was willing to do whatever I needed to do to get it myself.
I finally learned the key to emotional stability.
I believe that God is more interested in changing us than He is in changing our circumstances. He wants us to get to the point where we are content and not dissatisfied or disturbed, no matter what state we are in. When we're content, we can still desire change, but our circumstances won't bother us and distract us from living like Christ.
Psalm 91:1 says, "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]." So we know that we really can be stable, and the way for us to get there is through God.
There are two things I want to encourage you to do:
1. Get around people who will be good influences in your life.
2. Spend time with God and in His Word.
It's so important for you to spend your time with people whose example will help you to develop emotional stability. Dave's example was life-changing for me. His behavior modeled the "remain stable and fixed" part of Psalm 91:1.
We also need to spend time with God – consistently. The word dwell means "to live, remain and abide." So we can't just go to church once a week to develop a relationship with God. We need to spend time with Him by praying, which is simply talking to God and listening to Him. And we need to meditate on His Word. This basically means that we need to read it and think about it, rolling it over and over in our mind.
I like to take time every morning to pray and read the Bible. It helps me to get my mind and heart set on the right things before I start the day. I purposely think about how I want to treat people. I don't know what I might do without God, and I don't want to find out!
It's true – seek first the kingdom of God and then…
You may have heard people say many times, "Keep God first in your life." And I'm saying it again: Keep God first in your life! It really is the key to living a stable life, filled with purpose, peace, love and joy.
I remember when God spoke to my heart about this. He said, "You need to stop trying to work Me into your schedule and start working your schedule around Me!" That's why I strive to start every day with Him. And as I do, He helps me to develop the fruit of the Spirit, which was put in me when I became a born-again Christian.
I have learned that I really do have discipline, self-control, and patience. But they were given to me as a seed, and it's up to me to choose to develop them. I had to stop thinking and saying, "I wish I had self-control. I wish I was patient. I wish I was more disciplined…" Now my confession is that in Christ, I have this "fruit" in my life and I can display it, by God's grace.
You can too. You don't have to be controlled by circumstances or other people's behavior. You can live with God's peace and joy, and be an example of patience and self-control to the world around you. Know that as a Christian, your destiny is to be Christlike in all of your ways. So make the choice to develop the fruit of the Spirit in you!