Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Another driver cutting you off. Running late to work or school. Long lines. A rude remark. A bad hair day. Spilling something on your clothes. Your toddler throwing a tantrum in the middle of the store. Forgetting your wallet.

How often do you allow the little things to ruin your day?

How often do you take that frustration out on those around you?

How often do you forget the big picture?

Or as our priest once said, “Do you major in minors?”

It’s normal and understandable to want everything to be perfect all the time. Who wouldn’t want that, right?

But life isn’t perfect. Human beings aren’t perfect.

I remember the day I proposed to my wife, everything was so wonderful. As we were going out to celebrate, I received a message from a producer who had just read the first script I’d ever written. I called him back, full of enthusiasm and thought this was going to really cap off the day. Except for one thing: he said he didn’t like my script and he wasn’t very nice about it, either!

Huh? Didn’t he know this was supposed to be my perfect day?

So, before going back out to see my future wife, I called my best friend and lamented that I didn’t want what this producer said to ruin our day.  My very wise friend said, “Bob, there are no perfect days. Some are better than others and some are worse than others.” I never forgot that.

I went outside and told my future wife what had happened and that I didn’t want it to ruin the day. We talked about it a bit and then moved on and had a great time.

One last note on this (you know I just love this part!): 30 years later, I looked up this producer and saw that he’s long since been out of the movie business and only made a few forgettable films, after our conversation.  And that script he didn’t like? It became my first successful movie that to this day, so many people love.

I’m glad I didn’t let him ruin my day.

So, don’t you let anything or anyone ruin your day, either.

When we allow the little inconveniences, the “small stuff,” the stuff that won’t matter tomorrow or next week or next year, to ruin our day, we’re only hurting ourselves. Instead of enjoying all of the blessings that God has provided for us—our home, jobs, food, family, friends, the beautiful world we live in—we focus on the flaws and rob ourselves of the joy God wants us to experience.

When you’re feeling this way, think of Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Think about all of the blessings in your life that God has provided. Instead of focusing on the little inconvenience and allowing it to derail your entire day, think of everything you are thankful for.

After all, at the end of your life, when you’re on your death bed, will that driver who cut you off that one time matter? Will the fact that you waited an extra 10 minutes in a line matter? I would bet good money that you won’t be focused on that.

Instead, you’ll remember the way your spouse made you feel when you first started dating, the moment you said “I do,” the birth of your children, the way they felt curled up in your arms, watching those babies grow up and become parents themselves, taking home your favorite dog, the way the sun felt on your face while you relaxed on the beach…or any of the blessings from God.

Find the beauty in the moment.

Focus on the blessings in your life.

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