The small stuff

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

I agree. Now whether I’m always able to avoid stress-related perspiration . . . well, nobody’s perfect.

I was thinking yesterday when a friend of mine commented on how clean my house is that in some ways, the small stuff does matter.

I’m not referring to stressing out over every nook and cranny being dust-free and sanitized. I’m not implying that I think it’s wise to over analyze every single aspect of each of my relationships until I’m exhausted from aiming at perfection. Nor am I insinuating that I prefer to spend seconds of my precious life painstakingly dotting every i or crossing every t.

When I looked around our home last night, I certainly did not see a perfectly kept house. There was a stack of mail which needed to be tended to in the living room. A broom in the corner of the kitchen. A few dishes in the sink. But overall, the house was the way I like it–generally tidy and clean. At the end of a long, hot day, there’s nothing more relaxing than walking into the house, looking around, realizing there are no chores urgently calling my name, and enjoying time with my husband.

That would not be possible if I didn’t pay attention to the used paper towels left sitting on the coffee table. The pile of clean towels waiting to be folded. The pair of flip-flops flung into the corner of the wrong room. Lots of daily and hourly decisions to maintain the home combine to produce the desired end result: a comfortable, relaxing, and stress-free place to prop up my feet.

I suppose I could ignore all the little hourly messes and live in squalor, maybe even achieving hoarder status. But I’d rather make those small, daily decisions that are simple and quick than allow the clutter in my life to compile and overwhelm me. I’d ultimately have to dig through the rubble, and as I’ve learned, the easier way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

Thankfully, I’ve learned to apply the same principle to the hours of my life in other ways–spiritually, psychologically, mentally, and physically. I’d rather choose water over soda pop today than wind up attempting to burn a ridiculous number of calories after letting my weight go berserk. I’d rather make the daily, sleepy decision to talk to God every morning and meditate on Scripture rather than turn on the television right away. I’d rather face the bitterness I feel toward someone who’s hurt me while the wound is still small and stinging than allow it to fester, become infected, and poison my attitude and relationships.

Sometimes, making the simple decision–over and over again–to pay attention to the small stuff helps me avoid the inevitable consequence of eventually wading and sorting through waist-high garbage in my life.

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One thought on “The small stuff

  1. Bethany, this reminds me of how Martha was so busy getting things in order for Jesus’s visit…and being frustrated that her sister wasn’t helping…because she felt listening to Jesus was more important…. Luke 10:40-41 Good read today, thanks!

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