Don’t sweat the small stuff.
I know you’ve heard that saying numerous times, but it really is a huge waste of time to be concerned about things that just don’t matter all that much. Of course, it’s a lot easier said than done.
In my 30’s, my kids were little so things were always a small disaster, and I so desperately wanted order in my home… for things to look beautiful. My solution: I literally took all of the ‘pretty’ things on my coffee table and the other places that cute little hands could reach, and put those items up high on my fireplace mantel by day. Then by night, as soon as the kids were in bed I put them all back down again… every single day, for years. Looking back, I still can’t believe I did that. Not only was it a time-consuming exercise, but it took up an extremely large and unnecessary amount of brain space to keep up with it all.
That example is minor in comparison to how I felt when my kids spilled things on their clothes or the sofa… or they were seen in public without their hair brushed or wearing mismatched clothes… or they didn’t make the bed just right…or as they grew, and they made blaring mistakes for all to see. Like the time our sons got into a fist fight with each other at school. Great – the pastor’s kids are a mess! Granted, it’s not a bad thing to want your home to feel sane, and your kids to look and act like decent human beings. And depending on your personality, these things probably bother some of you less than others. I’m sure by now you’ve guessed that I’m a first born, ducks in a row, recovering control addict. But the issue was not so much external as it was internal. The bottom line is, all that focus on the small stuff simply wasn’t important, but it was driving me crazy on the inside.
What helped me change? I’d be lying if I said I finally reached a place where nothing small ever bothered me, but there are a few thoughts that helped:
I began thanking God every day that I have kids. And that God uniquely created each one just exactly how they are. When I caught myself complaining about or comparing them to others, I took that as my cue to have a gratitude party! Being thankful for what I had always changed my perspective from negative to positive and helped me let go of those little insignificant things!
1 Thess. 5:16-18 - Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
IT IS WHAT IT IS
I can still hear her now, my friend Jess, calmly saying those words over and over: ‘It is what it is.’ I can’t tell you how many times I felt ruffled by the relentless monotony of parenting, or weary of trying to keep up a perfect home or image of the kids… then those words would come flooding into my mind. I’d tell myself: If the milk spilled – ‘it is what it is - so what?’ If the car got a scratch – ‘it is what it is - who cares?’ If our AC broke again – ‘it is what it is - o well.’ Those words rang in my ears over and over until I finally realized that when I accepted what was – my frantic state of mind calmed down and I was able to see that those seemingly monstrous situations weren’t as big a deal as I originally thought, and they certainly weren’t too much for me and God to handle together.
Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
LIVE IN THE MOMENT
It seems like when you’re young, you go from one thing to the next… Always trying to reach that next goal. Hoping, wishing, praying that ‘when’ you get that one thing situated, fixed, or done– ‘then’ you’ll enjoy life more fully. But the fact is… There’s always something else that will need your attention, a new issue to deal with, another problem that demands to be solved. The proverbial arrival of Nirvana will never happen because life is in constant motion. One of the quickest ways to keep the small stuff small is to tune into the moment right in front of you. Relish in that chocolate covered little face, the fork marks in your table, the lovely sunset filtering through your baby’s cries, and the quiet nights as a single person when you thought by now you’d be married. When you stop and live in the moment, the insignificant items slip into the background, and the beautiful & important come alive to satisfy you heart and soul!
Psalm 118:24 – This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Whatever season you find yourself in right now, married or single, your perfect weight or not, working at your dream job or counting down the days to quit, living your ideal life or in the midst of a dark battle… please let go of the silly little things that seem to bug you, there’s a big wide world waiting to surprise you with wonder.