“Don’t sweat the small stuff.” I am not sure where this phrase originated from, but it seems to share a fair bit of wisdom. One of the gifts that God has given to me is the ability to look at the heart of something and at the bigger picture. I never want to overemphasize the details of something at the expense of the greater message that it holds.
Unfortunately, I am often tempted to dwell too much on the future, and it causes me much anxiety and stress at times. What is my major going to be? Where am I going to live next year? What am I going to do after college? These are the kind of questions that occupy my mind on a regular basis. If the future and my life plans are not within sight, it’s easy for me to lose my sense of motivation.
I want to be able to carve out a path and see what lies ahead. However, this is rarely possible when I concentrate solely on my own wants. By constantly trying to plan my own future, I shortchange the life-transforming power of Christ. Somewhere along the way I equate the act of looking past the everyday details of the world with knowing the heart and will of God. And in doing so, I create my own suit of fig leaves Jesus warns us so much about.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
I’ve been trying to build up a house that will stand on its own strength. Satan has been telling me that I can build a strong, steady house on my own that will endure anything without a doubt. Yet I have no knowledge of the storm ahead of me. I cannot see that nature of the storm or the damage it will bring. It is all the more painful when I realize too late that my short-lived plans for the future cannot withstand the storms that I encounter in my life. Every person on earth knows what it’s like when things don’t go your way. It’s much like the illustration of flood coming and wiping everything away.
The truth lies in the words of Christ. When this truth sinks into my heart, I am reminded that even though my abilities have been given to me by God, I must look to Him for the use of those abilities. We were created in the image of God. Everything that is good comes from Him. So why do we keep treating our faith like an on and off switch? God desires to have an ongoing relationship with us.
So where am I going wrong? Doesn’t Christ call us to look at things in an eternal way, and look to the heart of all situations? Yes, but I’m trying to arrive at a destination without traveling along the pilgrimage. Maybe I shouldn’t try so hard to not sweat the small stuff. Maybe God uses the experiences we go through on a day-to-day basis to shape us. Maybe we can finally see glimpses of eternity when we look to the work that God has called us to this day.
In the words of Bob Dylan, I am just like “every grain of sand.” Why would I want to build a house of my own strength if I know that a house built on sand cannot stand? God is calling us to build our life on Him. As we attempt to build a strong house each day, it is most important to look to the foundation for support.[Eric Jensen is working toward a BA in English Lit. at the University of Oklahoma. Fortunately, he has friends who help him see the light of God in day-to-day living.]