Saturday, November 3, 2012


Don't sweat the small stuff.  (And it's all small stuff.)

Have you seen that on a bumper sticker?  Maybe on an office plaque somewhere?  Perhaps it's popular because there's wisdom in it.

I'm finding myself fretting less about the small things.  Those little bumps along the road of life seem far less troublesome when I think about the canyon I've had to cross.  It's as if, when I weigh a problem or hardship against Bryan's death, it naturally can't come anywhere close to matching the magnitude of that.  "Well, it's certainly not the worst thing that's ever happened to me," I think to myself.  When I realize this, I let the problem go , assigning it its proper place among the other "small stuff."  And you know what?  Things usually work themselves out.  This change in perspective is something that I really don't want to lose as life moves on.

I suppose we all have scales on which we weigh our problems.  Each person probably has a unique weight he assigns to his own hurts and frustrations.  And everyone reacts differently to the weight.  One person wails and storms when faced with a ten-pounder, while another's fifty-pounder gets no mention at all.  (And sometimes those two people get married, much to the amusement of their friends.)  We're all different.

Jesus knew, as always, of our tendency to "sweat the small stuff."  But when I really spent some time thinking about it, I was surprised by how high He set the bar for what qualified as "big."

"Do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink; 
or about your body, 
what you will wear.
Is not life more important than food,
and the body more than clothes?
Look at the birds of the air,
they do not toil or reap...
and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.
Do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself."
From Matthew 6

So what are the small things?  What we will eat and what we will wear.  Now, Jesus isn't talking about struggling with a dinner menu or going through our overstuffed closet to find something flattering.  He was addressing a crowd with legitimate survival needs.  "What will we eat?" to many of them meant, "Are we going to starve or live another day?"

And yet, He tells them that's a small thing.  Not worth worrying about.  There are things, He says, that are more important than even our basic needs.  Life, for example.  Did you wake up today?  Did those you love wake up too?  Then it's a good day, period.  God has promised to take care of the little details.  Our job is to keep our eyes focused on  Life with a heart of thankfulness.

In my own life, the things I "sweat" the most, those things that I obsess over, allowing circumstances to rob me of joy, don't really even qualify as small things.  If I were honest, I'd know they were minutiae.  Teeny, tiny aggravations, situations that aren't going my way- now, those can cause all kinds of trouble.  I recognize them as minutiae, largely because I never even remember them later.  They're just that unimportant.  If they leave any lasting impact, it's only because my over-reaction caused fallout for the people around me.  That's never fully forgotten!

I hope the lesson of keeping the minutiae in perspective stays with me.  The end result is peace.

No comments: