Monday, March 3, 2014

Sweating the Small Stuff

I remember those times in my life when I was overwhelmed. I just couldn’t figure out how to get through, take the next step, or get everything done that needed “doing.” Honestly, you know it happens almost daily. There is so much to consider and so many things tugging at us that it is easy to get lost in the stress. When that happens, every once in a while a little popular phrase pops in my head.  It was a popular saying in the late 90’s with the book by the same name: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff….And it is All Small Stuff.” This book stayed on the New York Times Best Seller list for two years. So, no doubt you’ve heard it, maybe even said it to ease a stressed friend, or yourself. But I must admit that I’ve always thought it an odd saying. Even through all of my stress and through the feelings of anxiety, it just doesn’t make sense to me, because I believe it is the small stuff that really counts. But more importantly, I believe it is all of the “stuff,” big and small that is important to our Father.

Consider just the general instructions about the attention to detail (or small stuff) our Father instructed in the building of the Ark of the Covenant in Exodus 25: 11-15:
 “And they shall make an ark of acacia wood; two and a half cubits shall be its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height.  And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and shall make on it a molding of gold all around. 12 You shall cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in its four corners; two rings shall be on one side, and two rings on the other side.  And you shall make poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. 14 You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, that the ark may be carried by them. 15 The poles shall be in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. 16 And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you.”

And the details didn’t stop there. That isn’t all of the detailed instructions our Lord gave the builders. Consider the details of the temple Solomon built in I Kings 6. The attention to the “small stuff” is huge. I have heard some say how they  “skip” over Leviticus, or other similar Old Testament books because they are full of “boring details.” It may sound strange, but those "detail" books have become some of my favorites. They give me insight into the mind of my Father.
That is why I’m always taken aback when people argue that "details" in worship  (Lev 10), salvation (Acts 22:16) , daily living (Rom 1)  "don’t matter" to God. Really? Our Father is all about the details. It doesn’t take much to see our God in the “small stuff:” consider lady bugs, the fact that each snowflake is different, thousands of species of wildflowers blooming in the spring and summer, and even a trip to the grocery store is evidence of the “small stuff” that our Father attended to in the creation of the world.

I understand that popular saying about not sweating the small stuff is supposed to ease our minds, maybe even help us focus a bit on what is most important, but I you probably can admit that the sprinkles on top of the cupcake are what makes it special, the little blades of grass painstakingly added to the sweet birthday card my daughter made me is what tugs at my heartstrings. It is these little “small stuff” things that make moments, gifts, and well….life special. It is the small stuff that shows we really care.

 I believe God is in the small stuff, and His attention to detail is overwhelming. So, I’m not sure where we decided that the details or the small stuff is unimportant. God didn’t ,and I can’t imagine this world without the “small stuff” can you? 
~Tracy Frederick

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