Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

This is one of the best pieces of advice I've ever received, especially when I realize how much of what happens in my daily life is "small stuff". When I put my life into a Christian perspective, I realize that love and relationships are the main point, and the rest is just a collection of details that aren't worth my worry or my anger.

For example, my marriage is very important. I lean on my husband a lot because he is the person I trust most in the world. He is my partner and my companion, and I want us to have a mutually beneficial marriage. I know that I should focus on nurturing our loving relationship, but sometimes I let the small stuff get in the way. When I get angry over a thoughtless mistake or a chore left undone, I put distance between us that interferes with our ability to emotionally support each other. I've come to realize that our relationship is far more important than the trivial thing that made me angry with him. I need to be understanding with him when he fails to live up to my expectations, and I need to help him be understanding with me when I fail. That's what our marriage is really about. We still have to discuss our problems sometimes, but I don't find myself getting so angry anymore. Instead I remember what a blessing he is in my life and I tell him I love him, when not so long ago I might have been yelling at him and creating a rift that would take days to heal. I am slowly learning how to apply the lessons I am learning from my marriage to other relationships so that I may become more like God, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

I'm also learning not to worry quite so much about things that seem important but really aren't. On the surface, my career may seem like a big deal. What am I doing to put myself in a position to advance up the career ladder? What am I doing to ensure I make more money? Am I a productive enough employee? These are all relevant questions, but I've discovered that the answers to those questions are far less important to me than the answers to questions like, "How am I spreading God's love in the world?" or "What actions am I taking to help myself become more Christlike?". In the bigger picture, it doesn't really matter what job I have or how much money I make. What's important is how good and faithful a servant I am to the God I love. My life on this world is temporary, but my relationship with God and with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is eternal. That means my physical needs are small stuff compared to my spiritual needs and my contributions toward meeting the spiritual needs of others.

Why should I waste so much of my energy, emotions, and attention on temporary things? Instead of focusing on how much money I'm making at my job, I want to challenge myself to figure out new ways to be a blessing to others while I'm at work. Instead of worrying about how much my mortgage costs, I want to rejoice in the fact that I have a special relationship with a God who will keep my soul healthy no matter what happens to my body. Instead of getting frustrated because a friend is late for an appointment, I want to rejoice when she arrives because of the time we will get to spend together. I want to make love my priority, and in the meantime, I will endeavor not to sweat the small stuff.

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