Joyce Meyer - Emotional Stability
Well, thank you for joining me today on "Enjoying Everyday Life". You know what? It just wouldn't have been the same if you wouldn't have joined me. I believe that you'll help me preach better today. So, you pray for me while I bring you the word. And I've already prayed for you that you'll receive it and that it'll help you in your everyday life. Today, I wanna talk about something that we all need, and that is emotional stability. Wow. I tell ya, I was so emotionally unstable 55 years ago when Dave and I got married because I'd been sexually abused by my dad and really mistreated in my childhood and never had a really good example.
And I remember Dave saying after I did have some positive change in my life, he said, "I remember when I used to drive home at night thinking, 'well, I wonder what she'll be like tonight'". And you know, that's pretty sad to have to live with somebody like that. But I was that way because my circumstances dictated how I felt and what I did. Now, you know, the Bible says in Romans 8:29 that we are predestined by God to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ. So, that basically means that we're all to grow spiritually and keep growing until we become like Jesus. And course, that's gonna take a lifetime plus. None of us will have arrived, even when Jesus comes to get us, but we should always be making progress.
So, Colossians 1:28 and 29 says, "He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may", listen to this, "Present everyone fully mature in Christ". Now, the apostle Paul said that was his goal to keep working with people until he could present every one of them fully mature in Christ. And if you listen to me teach very much, you know that a good portion of my teaching is about spiritual maturity. It's about growing up in God and not just remaining a baby Christian. It's about really living the life, not just going to church on Sunday and thinking that's all that's required, but actually, hearing the word and then doing what we hear.
Paul said, "To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me". So, he said, "I really work at this. I strain myself to work with you and to help you mature in Christ". Are you growing in your relationship with God? Are you growing and improving all the time in behavior? Are you growing in the area of not letting your circumstances dictate how you feel and what you do? Can you say now, that you've made a little improvement from the way you were last year? God is not the least bit upset if we haven't arrived, but he does want us to be making progress. Emotions are said to be the believer's number one enemy. And we all have 'em. Probably more than anything, people tell us how they feel. "Well I feel. I feel. I don't feel. I don't feel".
And you know, we really just cannot live by our feelings and ever be spiritually mature. Emotions tell us how we feel, but they don't tell us the truth. Emotions are ever changing, and usually without any notice. I call 'em fickle feelings. You can go to bed feeling one way and wake up the next day feeling a totally different way. They change daily, or sometimes even hourly. I told somebody this week, I said, "Our bodies are so interesting". Like, this is a Thursday that I'm here doing this. But on Tuesday I got up and I just felt really good all day. And Wednesday I got up and for some reason I just never could get with it that day. I was just like, I really couldn't get fully awake or just, I just, I didn't feel sick, but I just didn't feel right. And this morning, I woke up and I felt fine again.
And so, it's hard sometimes to figure those things out, but there are some things that we can learn. We may see something and feel like we wanna buy it. But truth is we probably can't afford it and another truth is we probably don't even need it. Have you ever emotionally bought something and then two days later think, "Why did I buy that"? Or "I wish I wouldn't have bought that". And it's really bad if you buy something and agree to make payments on it for five years and you didn't even take time to think it over. We need to, I always say, "Let emotions subside and then decide". And I'll tell you a little story that I tell once in a while that helps make this point.
Several years ago, like probably by now, 35 years ago, we didn't have very much money and I had worked and saved to the point where I had $275 saved. And that was like a fortune to me, back then. And I wanted a good watch. If I wore a watch that was not a good metal, it would turn my arm green. And so, I wanted to get something that was good. And so, we were out at the mall one day, and I really didn't go intending to buy my watch. I didn't think I had enough money for it. But we went in this Jewelry store and there was a really pretty watch there. You know, they can make something pretty but that still doesn't mean it's really a good quality. It was really pretty, and it had some rhinestones on it, and they were sparkly and shiny, and it was gold plated, which that plating can wear off, you know. And I tried it on, really liked it.
And you know, salespeople that are really good at it, they know how to help your feelings want something more and more. So, he said, "I'll tell you what, if you'll buy this today," and that's always the way it is, you gotta do it right now. "If you'll buy this today, I'll give you 10% off. But that's only good for today". Well, I was so tempted to just buy that watch, but it would have taken all the money that I had. Oh, let's say it was $259 or whatever, so with tax it would've taken all my money. But I'm learning and already preaching some things on emotional stability by then. And so, I was already saying, "Let emotions subside and then decide". So, I said, "I'll tell you what, I'm gonna think about it for just a little bit and then if I want it, I'll come back".
So, I went out in the mall, and started walking down the mall and I was thinking about, "Do I really want to spend my money on that"? I just wasn't sure. And walked by a store and there was a suit in the window. I remember it was a purple suit and it was trimmed in black. And it was a suit that it cinched in at the waist and then it had this little ruffle thing. And I just really, really, really liked it. And then Dave didn't help because he said, "Oh, that's really pretty. That would look good on you. You need to get that". And so, "Come on," he says, "Let's try it on". So, I went in, and I tried it on and sure enough it looked really good on me. Bad thing was they even had it in two colors. They had it in red too. And I look good in red, and I look good in purple. But the suit, one of them was gonna be, take almost all of my money. Well, now, I've got a dilemma because I can't buy the suit and the watch.
So, what am I gonna do? So, I said, "I'll tell you what. I'm gonna take a walk and I'll decide, and if I want it, I'll come back". Now, I want you to remember this because some of you start needing to take a walk before you buy something, or you need to sleep on it. It's amazing how we can want something so bad the day we see it, but if we just go home and sleep on it, the next day we'll think, "You know, that's not really that important to me". So, I took a walk thinking, "What do I wanna do? What I wanna do"? And you know what I ended up thinking? "You know what? More than I want that watch and more than I want that suit, I don't want to be broke".
I wanted to have enough money that if I wanted to take one of my kids to lunch, I could. Or if I saw something smaller, I wanted, that I could buy it and still have some money left. So, I just went home, and didn't buy either one. And you know what? If you'll obey God, he'll bless you. A couple of weeks later, my husband took money that he had saved, and he had saved more than me. We both had an allowance then, and he bought me the watch and the two suits! And I still had my money! Oh! Well, that's the way to live, see. I waited, and God blessed me. I wanna encourage you to learn how to wait and to really take time to search your heart and really think about what you wanna do, what God wants you to do before you just jump off and do something emotional.
Hebrews 5:12, Paul tells the Christians, "By this time you ought to be teachers, but you still need someone to teach you the very foundational elementary truths of God's word all over again". He said, "You keep needing to hear the same stuff over, and over, and over, because it's still not working in your life". And, you know, no matter how many times we've heard something, unless it's working in our life, we need to hear it again. He said, "You need milk, not solid food"!
Now, what did he mean by that? Well, you know, a baby has to drink milk for a certain period of time because that's all their system will handle. And then you finally start putting them on solid food, usually stuff that's all mashed up at first or baby food, and you gradually add more and more solids. Well, the Word of God is like that. You know, I can preach you what I would call "Milk messages," or I call 'em, "Dessert messages". And you'll be happy with those, you'll love 'em, you'll receive 'em. I can tell you how much God loves you, how wonderfully God has created you and the gifts that you have and the good plan that God has for your life. And everybody's gonna love that. But if I start teaching on: perseverance, patience, going through things that are hard and not giving up on them, giving things away that God tells you to give away that you really don't wanna give away, now, that's another story.
A lot of times people don't receive those messages. They may listen to 'em, but they don't obey them. And it's very interesting to me because I can go into a church service and say, "Well, today, I'm gonna preach on how to receive your miracle from God". And boy, everybody will clap and cheer and they'll be so happy. But I can say, "Today, I'm gonna teach on patience". "Oooh..." nobody claps. Or dare I say, "Today, I'm gonna teach on suffering". Dead quiet in the room. You know, as a minister of God's word, you gotta have courage to preach things to people that they really don't wanna hear because the feedback you get from them is not gonna be very encouraging to you.
Paul said, "Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the spirit but as people who are still worldly, mere babies or infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, because you were not ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready for it. For you are still worldly. For there is jealousy and quarreling among you". Now, that's interesting. So, he's saying as long as we are jealous of one another and we quarrel with one another, we're still baby Christians. You know why? Because those things are emotionally driven, "You hurt my feelings. You made me mad so now I'm not gonna forgive you and I'm not gonna talk to you". Or whatever the case might be.
And we need to learn how to not let what other people do, pull us down to their level. We need to know what Jesus wants us to do. He never changed. I mean, no matter what the pharisees accused him of, no matter what people accused him of, no matter how people treated him, he always remained the same. And boy, that was such a desire of my heart for such a long time. I didn't want my circumstances to control me. You know, as long as our circumstances control us, we might as well say that the devil's in charge of our life because he can mess around with our circumstances. He knows just how to push your buttons and which ones to push at what time. And I'll tell you a little secret, one of the times when we're the most vulnerable is when we're really tired or when we don't feel good. You're much more likely to behave in an ungodly way during those times than other times, so sometimes you need to just go off somewhere and be quiet.
You know, when I get finished with the conference and I've preached three or four times and traveled, and I've talked, and talked, and talked, and talked, and talked, many times, I'll just tell Dave, "I'm probably gonna be pretty quiet today because I'm just recovering," and he knows that. And a lot of times I just wanna be by myself. And it's better because then I can just rest and recover and come back to being the person that I should be. Don't ever make real serious decisions, major decisions, when your emotions are high or low.
You see, if you feel really great, you feel like, "Boy, I can do anything"! And if you feel really low, you feel like, "Man, I don't wanna do anything". And I've learned, even with me, it's like, when I used to go out of the country and do mission trips two, and three, and four, times a year. Oh, we would have these big crusades in India or Africa and have hundreds of thousands of people there and it was so exciting. Wow. I would be, after I would preach to those people and maybe it was the last session and thousands of people had been saved and it was just wonderful. I mean, right then, we'd start home, and I'd start making plans on coming back, "I wanna come back here, and do this, and that, and something else".
And my son who handled all that, he, in the beginning, would start making plans. And then, maybe, by the time I got home, and I was exhausted, I would think, "Oh, I don't know if I wanna do that". And so, he kinda learned to wait until my emotions calmed down before he really found out what I really wanted to do. So, I wanna repeat again, don't make major decisions when your emotions are extremely high or when they're low. Wait till things settle and balance out. Let me say again, learn how to wait before you make major purchases, before you make major decisions. If you're an impatient person, you don't wanna wait, you don't like wait. I don't like to wait. I'm a quick decision maker and it's challenging for me, sometimes, to wait. But boy, you'll stay out of trouble if you just learn how to wait.
And, you know, I think I'm really talking to some people today that need to hear this because you're right on the verge of making a decision that maybe is not the right decision for you to make, or maybe you're about to turn something down that God wants you to say, "Yes" to. Just live a little more carefully and you'll like your life a whole lot better. And, you know, you have to be careful, too, when you have wounded emotions. Our emotions can get bruised, and they can even I call it "Bleeding". They're not actually bleeding blood. But, you know, your emotions can be wounded and hurt, just like your arm or your leg. And people have been mistreated: you've been abused, you've been mistreated, you've been cheated on, you've been lied to, whatever the case might be. That's not a good time to make decisions.
And people with wounded emotions, to be honest, don't make very good decisions a lot of times. Like I'd been abused and so I felt like nobody would ever want me. And I married the first guy that came along, and I knew deep, deep, deep down that it was a wrong decision, but I was so afraid that nobody would ever want me, I did it anyway. And sure enough, it was a five-year nightmare. It's just not wise to do things out of fear or just out of emotions, especially if you've been wounded. Anger, self-pity, jealousy, insecurity, guilt and many others were making people and me miserable. If you're miserable, you're gonna make the people around you also miserably.
How we feel today is often the cause of something that happened yesterday, or last week, or last month, or even when we were children. If you're in a bad mood or you're emotionally upset, being easily angered or impatient: look at what happened yesterday that might be causing your problem. You know, I had an incidence one time where I wasn't sleeping good, and I didn't know why. And finally, I asked God, "Why am I not sleeping"? And it's amazing what God will tell you if you just stop and ask him instead of trying to figure it out yourself. And immediately I thought of a situation where I had been rude to somebody, but I had not repented, nor had I apologized to them. And as soon as I made the decision that I would apologize to them as soon as it became morning and I repented, asked God to forgive me, I went right to sleep.
You know, if you have unconfessed sin in your life, it's gonna bother you. If you're a believer, it's gonna bother your conscience. You're not gonna feel good. And sometimes if we won't face the truth about what's going on, then we blame it on things that's not even really the truth. Or, you know, you could be in a bad mood today because you ate too much sugar yesterday. I have a daughter that's real sensitive to sugar. She has some low blood sugar issues. And if she eats too much sugar, it'll make her grouchy or sometimes even more easily angered. Know yourself! And take care of yourself. Don't just let your feelings ruin your life. What was your day yesterday like? Was it stressful? Did you sleep good last night? Did you get bad news or maybe have a big disappointment? Did you get offended, argue with someone, or become angry? Are you holding unforgiveness?
If you have unresolved issues, they will continue poisoning your soul until they are resolved. We get pretty good at denying things, don't we? And the only way that can be resolved is by facing truth and truth is hard to face. Especially if that truth is something not so nice about us that we don't really want to deal with. Boy, I loved blaming everything on Dave until God told me it wasn't Dave's fault, it was mine. And I didn't like that, but it was true. I was the problem. It wasn't him, it was me. And one of the things I was doing was giving Dave the responsibility for my joy. And God said, "It's not his job to make you happy. It's your job to be happy". And that's true. We give other people responsibilities that are ours and we need to stop it.
Have an honest conversation with God. He can help you so much if you'll just have an honest, open conversation with him. And whatever you do, don't hold unforgiveness in your heart because you can never really be a joyful person if you have hatred or unforgiveness in your heart for somebody else. One thing's for sure, toxic emotions will never be resolved by ignoring them. Emotions that do the most damage are rage, unforgiveness, depression that's left untreated, anger, worry, fear, guilt, and frustration. And I wish I had time to teaching on every one of 'em, but I don't. The Bible says a lot about anger, "In your anger don't sin. Don't give the devil any foothold".
So, you may feel angry, but you don't have to act on it. You know something I've been saying recently that I think is worth hearing today, and maybe if this is the only thing you remember about today's teaching, if you remember this, it'll help you: you don't have to feel like doing the right thing in order to do the right thing. Come on, let's say it again. You do not have to feel like doing the right thing in order to do the right thing. Do you know what? Jesus didn't feel like going to the cross, but he did. He asked God three times, "If you can remove this cup from me, please do so. However, nevertheless your will be done and not mine". And that's what we need to say to God.