Monday, August 10, 2009

sweating the small stuff

You always hear not to, and for the most part I don't have that much trouble letting the little things slide. But every once in awhile, I catch myself knotting up in a wad over something I know is not that big of a deal. The problem is, I can tell myself "This is no big deal. This is no big deal" until I'm blue in the face, and still sometimes, it seems like a big deal. Of course the disconnect between what I know and what I feel is almost always to blame. Knowing that it shouldn't be a big deal doesn't always stop me from running mental marathons around the subject.

Yesterday was definitely one of those times for me. A tiny nothing worked it's way into the forefront of my mind, and wouldn't you know I could think of hardly anything else the rest of the day. I was preoccupied, unable to take my Sunday afternoon nap (yes, I actually let it steal nap time away when everyone else in my house slept!) and all around just as frustrated with my inability to let it go as I was with the issue itself.

This had been going on for hours before I finally was able to come to the answer. And no, the answer was not to tell myself to buck up and move on. That doesn't always work as well as I might hope. Instead, I turned to a little verse tucked away in 2 Corinthians 10:5 that says, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." The last part especially is what I had to remember. When I know that I'm off on something, or when I can see that letting go is clearly what the Bible would have me do, I have to take captive those thoughts that want to run away with my head. It is something intentional, and something I have to do sometimes many times over again. It's not a one stop shop for throwing the thought out never to have it come back. At least not always. In fact, yesterday I had to stop those thoughts in their tracks. And then I had to do it again when they popped back in my head. And again, and again and again until they were put to rest, once and for all. So finally, with a lot of prayer, I was able to lay that little thing down and go back to being a normal human again. I could focus on other things, enjoy reading a book, take part in the family conversations, and enjoy all the other lovely and ordinary things that were happening all around me.

The situation itself didn't change a bit, but what changed was my determination not to let my head become consumed with dwelling, rehashing, and sorting out something that I knew was no big deal.

Sometimes it's a whole lot easier said that done to get over the "small" things in life because they often are no small a all to you. It's naive to think a "pick yourself up and shake it off" approach is always going to work. But God gives us the power to do what He commands in His word, and this verse tells me that I can and must take put a stop the thoughts that don't fall in line with what God has for me. It's not easy, but boy is it freeing to finally let go.


Cathy said...

Thank You! I thought I was the only one this happens to. Everytime I just keep asking God to "answer that door" when the thought of it comes to mind. Thanks again for sharing!

Rachel said...

This is a great reminder! I all too often like to talk an issue to death that's bugging me, instead of taking the thought captive, and essentially just deciding to "get over it!"

katherine said...

good thoughts. thank you.

Lee said...

As a melancholy temperament, I deal with that stuff a LOT. It takes only a small thing to creep into my mind and I can dwell on it until it has grown to gigantic proportions. This process of thought captivity is such an opportunity to relinquish control. It so easy to think my way through a matter rather than "obey it through" in the words of Oswald Chambers. Thanks for the reminder.