Thursday, August 4, 2016


“Way back” in 1997 a little book hit the popular reading market titled, “DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF.” Another way of saying it might be, "DON'T MAKE MOUNTAINS OUT OF MOLEHILLS."

I bought and read the book when it was first published, and it has kept nudging me from my bookshelf every time I glanced in that direction. I have been reminded just by reading the title on its spine since the subject is one of my problems. Recently I relented and took it off the shelf to thumb through it again. 

Time has moved on and each of us is changed over time. Whenever we pick up a book we have read before, its message applies to us in a new way because we now have different issues.

However, I had to disagree with part of its title “...and it's all small stuff.” No, it's not ALL small stuff. There's BIG stuff out there in all of our lives, in mine, in my family's relationships, in the issues my circle of friends are going through, and certainly out there in the crises our nation and the world are grappling with. Those I should be serious about.

The point is, we should be perceptive and discerning and not make mountains out of mole hills, as they say. Not ALL things are mole hills for us to brush aside. Things or events or words of great importance, or national and international disasters or tragedies or catastrophes require serious thought, and fervent prayer and trust in the Lord—yes, and maybe “sweat” too. But not the passing trivia of daily life and happenings that seem to morph before our eyes into something monstrous and menacing.

I shouldn't waste time and energy and anxiety and worry about things which are temporal, of this earth, of this flesh, of the strictly now kind of situations. I shouldn't argue about the inconsequential or insist I am right about unimportant matters. Truly, “What difference does it make who wins a debate over lilliputian issues?” By next week or next month or next year, will I care about the worries about which I lost sleep last night? So other people are imperfect—so am I. If we don't agree on some matter—so what? Life isn't fair—who said it is? Not every urgency is an emergency—I should get a perspective. So what if there is a glitch in my well-laid plans. Is it worth losing my peace over? Couldn't I give everyone the benefit of the doubt rather than fret uselessly about something that isn't the way I like it?

We are told to choose our battles wisely. That's only half true. Perhaps I shouldn't battle at all if I've concluded that something is really small stuff. There will be times when I'll want or need to argue, confront, or even fight for something I believe in. So many things in life are really not a big deal. Why should I be frustrated and unhappy by fussing with the inconsequential?

A part of not sweating the small stuff, is my tendency to be melodramatic. I blow things out of proportion. I can get too worked up about something that should be minor and petty. I know I should lighten up. Moreover, why do I too often feel compelled to deal with other people's issues? I need to butt out of things that are not my business. I trespass into places where I have no control and in which I can't be of any help. My efforts prove fruitless and almost always unappreciated or resented.

So it boils down to discernment as to what is really important not only in my limited finite sight but from God's eternal perspective. Where is my focus? I must know what are genuine priorities. My earth-time is not endless. I have a choice to make that affects eternity. I know I shouldn't invest/waste my efforts in the niggling quibble about the small stuff. 

Scripture lays out plainly what are the important things I should seek for—the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. And also what things I should lay aside or avoid. The “small stuff” is in the latter category. If it's my words I should be careful about, I will pray, “Set a watch, O Lord, o'er my lips.” If my thoughts or actions draw me to sweat the small stuff, I should pray for perceptiveness to understand what is really important and then be about my Father's business.

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