If life is a baseball game, then we sure can have some curve balls thrown at us. Financial problems due to unexpected repairs on our home or car can be upsetting. There are other curve balls in life that can throw us for a loop — like losing our job or changing jobs or having to move. Other curve balls can be those "natural developmental challenges" — like our little children becoming teenagers and having their own opinion on everything. Other curve balls are health issues to deal with that can be painful and expensive. Life can serve up some really tough and stressful pitches from time to time.

We know the curve balls are going to come, so maybe the curve balls aren't the issue. We probably should examine ourselves and see that when these curve balls are thrown our way, do we hurt the ones we love?

When life is what I call "unsettling," we often become short-tempered and mean-spirited. If we are not careful, we end up taking out our frustrations on the ones we love. Isn't it ironic and sad that we often hurt the ones we love the most.

If it seems that everyone is really bothering me and getting on my "last nerve," I know that it's probably not them that has the problem; it's me.

We shouldn't hurt the ones we love during those unsettling times when life seems full of curve balls. Instead, there is a better way to deal with our frustrations, disappointments, and confusion.

First, let's apologize to our families and friends with whom we have been short tempered. They'll appreciate the apology and we will all feel better.

Second, let's spend a little extra time in prayer, commit ourselves to proper thinking, and follow the example of those who are spiritually mature:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:6-9 NKJV)

It's probably not them; it's me!
During stressful and unsettling times we need an extra dose of God's peace.

Third, let's remember that one evidence of the fruit of the Spirit is "self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23) When we find ourselves with a short fuse, we need to talk to ourselves. We need to say, "You know you're on the touchy side. If someone says something that makes you upset, it's not a good time to over-react, even if you think it will make you feel better." When we let our temper flash and let our mouth go, it seems like we feel better at first, but we often regret the way we acted and the things we said. Let's give the Spirit a chance to rule in our hearts before we let go with our mouths! Paul pointed us to the truth a long time ago when he wrote: "Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil." (Ephesians 4:26-27)

When life gives us curve balls, let's not throw anger back in the face of those who love, support, and encourage us.