Welcome Back! This is Part 3 of “It’s All About the Little Things”. I am so glad you’re here. I’ve subtitled today’s conversation “How do I Regain Control”. It is important to understand how to exercise power over the little things that come at us because that which we fail to control could end up controlling us.
A little thing, by itself, is manageable. A single stone can be easily tossed aside. But when they accumulate, they get heavy in a hurry. Our little grievances are the same way. Ideally, we process them as they come. If we have already allowed them to pile up, we need some tools for sorting and removing them
If you read Part 1, you know I recently found myself heavy hearted because of the little things I had piled up, unaddressed. I gave a few examples of the many I needed to sort through. Hopefully you were able to identify some little things you may have swept aside and realize how quickly they can amass into something major.
In Part 2, I shared what happens to me, physically and psychologically when I allow my little things to build. Did you pinpoint some symptoms of your own which alert you to the fact that your pile of little things has gotten out of control? When we’re feeling the weight of our little things, it’s a sure sign that we’re carrying too many of them!
How do we regain control of the little things which threaten to control us?
We hear something on the radio, and it irks us. We get cut off in traffic and we’re bothered. We get to work and realize we forgot lunch. Someone looks critically at our outfit. The printer is out of paper. The boss changed the meeting to an earlier time, and we’re not prepared. All of this can happen within a single hour. Most of it is out of our control.
We may choose to focus on the positive things. Take the same hour of time, for instance. We hear something on the radio that makes us laugh. We see a great bumper sticker in traffic. We realize we forgot lunch, so we invite someone to grab a sandwich down the street. Someone compliments our outfit. The printer is easy to reload. The boss changed the meeting to an earlier time and that frees us for another project. We control our perspective.
Even so, stuff slips through. And just because we swept the negative away and put a happy foot forward, doesn’t mean we weren’t affected by it. We just stuffed it in a corner of our psyches where it doesn’t show through. After a while the pile of them grows into something we can no longer hide. They affect our attitudes, our relationships, and our wellbeing. Deal with them, we must. But how?
My process for dealing with little things includes five steps.
I need to take the time to pay attention. If I am going to get rid of my little things for good, I need to deal with them individually. I need to get alone with God in a quiet place. Then I’m able to go through these five steps with each little thing I can recall.
What is the little thing? What is the cause of its irritation? I have to identify it before I can correctly handle it. (i.e., This is the surcharge that was added to my lunch bill for ‘the additional costs of running the restaurant’, which took me by surprise.)
Where does this little thing start and stop? What are its parameters? I need to extricate it from the other little things so I deal with each of them separately. (i.e., This has nothing to do with lady talking so loudly at the table next to me. That is a different issue. This is about the surcharge.)
How does this little thing make me feel? I sit in the emotion of it for a minute. I want to understand why it makes me feel the way it does. (i.e., I feel robbed by this charge. I think they took advantage of me.)
I evaluate the power of the little thing over me. Is there a lesson I can learn from it? Has God allowed me to encounter it for a reason? (i.e., If I am ever tempted to ambush someone into doing my will, I will remember how this feels and be forthcoming instead.)
Lastly, I pray about it. I ask forgiveness if I notice I have dishonored God in my hoarding or handling of this little thing. When I have finished, I give it to God for disposal. (i.e., Is this irritation caused by greed? I don’t think so. I would have gladly paid the extra percentage to help the small business stay open. It might be about my pride, though. This one didn’t just get off-handedly brushed into my pile of little things. I put it there because I wanted to come back and wallow in it. Please forgive me, Jesus. I give it to you, free and clear.)
Once I have emptied my pile of everything I can think of, I ask God to remind me of anything I’ve missed. When every little thing has been dealt with, I can sanitize the area, so to speak, with Scripture. I pray verses, such as the ones below, and any others the Holy Spirit brings to mind.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”Psalm 51:10, 12
“I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.”Psalm 119:58-60
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”Psalm 143:8
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”Hebrews 10:23
It is a process, but my heart and mind get lighter and freer as I go. When the little things which were controlling me have been discarded, I can give control of my life back to God. I can renew my resolve with Him to deal with my little things before they pile up.
I have worked through the process of regaining control this week and I have gotten right before God. I feel so much better! I can think. I can breathe and sleep. My joy has returned. I pray the same for you.
I’m not saying this is the only way to deal with little things or even the right way. This is just the habit I’ve tried to keep. Do you have any other suggestions?
Of course, there are many positive little things too, and they add up to piles of good things in our lives. I believe it is important to store those in an intentional way. Maybe that is a discussion prompt for another time.
Thank you so much for joining me here on the Back Porch this week. The process of regaining control of my little things has been so much sweeter with your company. How has it been for you? What are you feeling? Have you been surprised at anything you’ve discovered along the way?