Sweat the Small Stuff…Really!

Sweat the small stuff. I know. We’ve been told, don’t sweat the small stuff. That may be the reason we’re in this mess today.

We’ve been led to believe we should take care of the big stuff and not waste time on the small stuff. That’s a terrible strategy for the Christian life. The small stuff is where we get in trouble.

We’ve been led to believe we should take care of the big stuff and not waste time on the small stuff. That’s a terrible strategy for the Christian life. The small stuff is where we get in trouble. Click To Tweet

Example: our prayer life. Crisis drives us to Jesus. We know immediately the matter is way too big for us. Jesus is our only hope. We have nowhere else to go. There’s no one to help. We have no other options. We must pray about the big stuff.

But the small stuff…that’s a different matter. Insignificant stuff. We think we can handle that.

Years ago I heard someone say, “I don’t think we should bother God with little stuff.” His life ended up a train wreck. I think I know why. He didn’t sweat the small stuff.

A young friend shared her heartbreak after hubby deserted her. Admitting they had some problems, she mentioned a few, adding after each, “It wasn’t a big issue.” No big issues? Sweating the small stuff might have saved the marriage.

That small grudge. That tiny sprig of bitterness. Take care of it before it grows. Listen to these wise words.

“Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord. Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it” (Hebrews 12:14-15 Amplified).

Sweat the small stuff.

How big must a problem be to deserve prayer? You would be quite astonished to know what I pray about. I pray about everything!

Probably you’d also be astonished by the way I pray. I don’t often approach God with “Dear Heavenly Father” as we do in a formal setting (church). I pray as though I’m walking through life with my best Friend—because that’s what I’m doing. When a need arises—no matter how small—I tell him about it.

This is what Paul was talking about when he encouraged us, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Life doesn’t allow us to spend all day on our knees in prayer. We have responsibilities—places to go, people to see, things to do. We can’t spend all day in prayer.

Of course we can! We can stay in constant communication with our Father, maintaining an ongoing conversation. We talk about small stuff. He’s really interested in that. Remember what Jesus said—that the thought or desire is as much a sin as the action: “…everyone who so much as looks at a woman with evil desire for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).

Deal with the small stuff. A lot of small stuff makes a big pile…and a big mess. Take care of it before that happens.

My prayers are not eloquent, but God hears them.

Lord, give me wisdom! Show me what to do!

Help, Lord! I’m desperate! I can’t do this without you!

The word conversation implies back-and-forth communication—and that’s what we do. I talk and he responds. He talks and I respond.

My part of the conversation includes requests, but I’m generous with praise and thanksgiving.

Lord, thank you! That careless driver missed me by inches! Thank you for protecting me! Why not thank him on the spot?

Look at that blue sky! Thank you, Lord, for this glorious day! Sometimes I even say it out loud.

And there’s some confession, too. Lord, I’m sorry! Forgive me, cleanse me of all unrighteousness, and fill me with your Spirit!

At the end of the day, in my comfy bed, I don’t have to spend time clearing the slate. I’ve been doing that all day long. So I fall asleep praying Scripture back to him. This honors him and his truth comforts my heart.

An abundance of joy and peace invaded my life when I started sweating the small stuff. Click To Tweet

An abundance of joy and peace invaded my life when I started sweating the small stuff.

© Dianne Barker

4 responses to “Sweat the Small Stuff…Really!”

  1. Fresh and wise insight as always, Dianne. The old adage not to sweat the small stuff didn’t seem like a big deal to me before. But now, after you’ve so beautifully and powerfully explained why the logic is incorrect, it makes perfect sense that it’s not good sense. 🙂 Communicating with my Lord in a personal way throughout the day is the best way to really pray without ceasing. And the best part? We know God cares about the tiniest details (that could turn big) of our lives and we grow in intimate relationship with Him.

  2. I loved this. I understood. I desired to apply this principle with all my heart. Within hours of reading, I had an unpleasant encounter with a sales clerk. (The small stuff is important, indeed.) I’m glad that God’s mercies are new every morning. Rereading your wise words.

  3. Karen, you are right on target! A tiny detail can turn big in an instant. Handling the small stuff is preventive. And communicating constantly with our Father is essential. We know He cares and will always do what’s best for us!

  4. Wow, Cindy! I love your teachable spirit! Thanks for sharing your personal experience. I’m thinking of how that unpleasant encounter could have spoiled your entire day, causing you to fret over it and perhaps snap at people you care about. Taking care of the small stuff immediately interrupts this cycle. Good for you!

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