Don’t Sweat the BIG Stuff!
Each morning when I begin to write, I have no idea as to what is going to come from my mind and ultimately appear on the pages of my blog. It’s not until after it’s written that I get the message I was trying to convey to myself. To begin the process, I sit down at my keyboard, open the day’s Proverbs and search for the message God wants me to see. Most mornings I feel a bit of resistance and struggle to “hear” the message. But sometimes, the message is clear, and calls out, “this one Kevin!” On those mornings, even though the message is clear, often times I am still left to consider what it is that I am going to be writing about. This is one of those mornings.
Today’s verse is Proverbs 24:32 “I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw” How many times have you made a mistake? Seriously, could you even begin to guess? I’m not sure I could guess the amount of mistakes that I make in a day or week, more less over my lifetime! In fact, as I am typing this, I have already made numerous mistakes. Some that have caused me to backspace, others that have required me to choose new words or phrases and some (well, many) that have caused me to consider my punctuation. (I’m still considering it by the way) The truth is that mistakes are a part of life. If you are living, you are constantly going to make mistakes. There is just no way around it. So then, why is it that when we make some mistakes we are simply able to hit the backspace and “delete” key with no further consideration to our error but other mistakes that we make cripple us and leave us laying in a pile of mush for days, weeks, years and even decades of our life?
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could recover just as quickly to the mistakes we make in life as we do when typing a quick text to a friend? Go back and look at some of your messages, I would be willing to guess that they are FULL of mistakes! “To” where it should read “too”, “there” where it should read “their” or one of my favorites, a question with no question mark. Although we all make these mistakes, especially my male readers, we do so with little worry, consideration or impact on our day. In fact, most of us don’t even care, as long as we send the message, “how” the content is delivered, matters little. Now, get divorced, lose a job, get in a car accident or put on a few unwanted pounds eating Grandma’s homemade chocolate chip cookies and that little mistake can turn into a relentless boxing match with ourselves that leaves us black, blue and wounded. Even worse is when our past mistakes cause us to no longer trust our decisions in the present moment.
For years, I have been struggling with two major themes in my life, my career and my relationships. Both of these struggles are the result of a mistake or a series of mistakes that I made long ago. Though I was wildly successful in my career as an account executive, I focus on that time of my life in a very negative way. The long hours worked, resulted in a great deal of stress. The time away from home, resulted in a lost connection with my spouse. Chasing money versus passion, left my soul aching for more. “Holding on”, when I knew it was time to “let go”, resulted in a lack of trust for myself and the decisions that I make. The list could go on and on but that’s not the point. The point is that while making mistakes is an inevitable part of life, the meaning we attach to those mistakes and the speed to which we recover isn’t. It’s the meaning we attach to those mistakes that creates our attitude. If you were to look up “perspective” in the dictionary, one of the definitions states that “perspective” is a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view. That’s why when it comes to little things like spelling and punctuation mistakes in a text to a friend, the mistakes we make are no big deal. In fact, they don’t even phase us in the slightest amount. However, if you were to write a book that you wanted to become a “best seller”, punctuation and spelling would matter a great deal! It’s all about our attitude and perspective!
So then, how can we use this information to recover from the “big” mistakes we make just as quickly as we do from all the “little” stuff? The answer is simple, change our attitude and gain a new perspective of the situation.
When we are told in Proverbs 24:32 “I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw” we are being told that if we use our “heart”, which in this case refers to our Center of Hidden Emotional-Intellectual-Moral Activity, we can use our intellect to find a new perspective, change our attitude and learn a lesson from the “big” mistakes we make.
They key here is that while we are brought up with the belief that “time heals all wounds”, it is this belief that can also leave some of us in a pile of mush wasting away the best years of our lives. After giving much consideration to the “big” mistakes I’ve made, it wasn’t time that healed my wounds, it was creating a new attitude towards my mistakes, that made all the difference. The only “mistake” I made was thinking that a certain amount of “time” was required in order for me to do so. They truth is, it wasn’t. I didn’t need time to heal my wounds, I just needed to learn the lessons my mistakes taught me and then move the __________ on. Just like I have done over and over again with the small stuff.
The saying says, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. However, after a lot of consideration, today I am going to change my perspective and attitude towards this age old saying and make a new decision to live the rest of my life “not sweating the ‘big’ stuff.” I invite you to join me and do the same!
Have a great day!