Twenty years ago, Dr. Richard Carlson released a new book entitled, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. Before long, the book was far more than just something to read. It was an entire movement dedicated to helping people focus on the big things in life while releasing anxiety and stress. The book and its concept were very well received. In fact, the book has sold over 25 million copies around the world. Why is it then that stress and anxiety are at an all-time high?
To be honest, I'd have to say that the reason for this is because while we know what to do, we often fail to do it. We know we shouldn't focus on the negatives – God's Word tells us as much – yet we do it day in and day out. And strangely enough, the small stuff becomes very, very big! What we often fail to realize, however, is that while the small stuff becomes big, the big stuff becomes small. What I mean by that is that we spend far more time and energy focusing on the bad things in life than we do on our blessings.
Now, I know sometimes the trials of life seem like giants, hardly small stuff, but in the grand scheme of things, how do they really compare to our blessings? Why is it that the good things in life get lumped together into a group we assume we deserve while the bad things in life get itemized and blown out of proportion? For example, if you asked me about my day yesterday, I would tell you it was a bad day. My chiropractic visit revealed more joint issues. My computer software was acting haywire. The progress on the project I was working on seemed slow. and on and on I could go, listing out my many woes from the day. But what about my blessings? I woke up. I spent time with my mom. I had good food to eat all day long. I had the opportunity to work a job I love. I got to spend time in the word of God in prayer with my Heavenly Father. If I were to continue the list, I would see that my blessings far outweighed my troubles. So was it a bad day? Only because I allowed it to be.
The first part of Zechariah 4:10 says, For who hath despised the day of small things?
I believe the reason we are living stressed and anxious lives is because we have categorized our blessings as small things and our troubles as big things. So, when we tell ourselves "Don't sweat the small stuff," what we're really saying is "Don't focus on your blessings." Yes, there will be days when those blessings do seem like small things, but they are blessings nonetheless. It could be something as simple as finding a good parking space or having a co-worker compliment your outfit. Small things, but only if we choose to let them be. Let us not despise those things. Let us not overlook them or treat them as things that we deserve. Let us keep track of each and every blessing that comes our way and focus on them more than we do our troubles.
When it comes to the negative things, don't sweat the small stuff. On the other hand, when it comes to blessings, make much ado about everything!