Dealing with the Small Things

"The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace" (Romans 8:6 NIV)

Life is made up of little things...
It's funny how I can handle major challenges/stresses in life so capably, if not exquisitely; and fumble around, really sweating out when it comes to the daily, the ordinary, and the mundane. It takes me by surprise how inept I am. On other days, it sneaks up on me and totally renders me powerless and shows me for who I really am--- a helpless, pathetic, unprepared coward. I am usually left all spent after an aftermath of seemingly ordinary trial or after the realization of how I was overthrown again by something so simple. It is very upsetting to be aware of how hopelessly human I am.

For the past two days I have been ruled by my emotions. The result is a poor example of self-control, or the lack of it, and a method of discipline that is arbitrary. The girls were confused. I could see it in their eyes. And so am I. I couldn't understand why little things as the TV or my phone or the stress of cooking without a menu had me exploded right before them when  big, mighty waves have not moved me and proven me steady. Or so I thought.

Someone has said that emotions should not be dictators of our actions or behavior, but indicators that something is amiss. And it is so easy to see what has been missing. The Bible explicitly states, "The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace" (Romans 8:6 NIV). I have given myself (and that also goes with my emotions) free-rein with matters that I think are small stuff, instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to take control.

It is not the big struggles and the monumental victories that define what life really is, but the daily, mundane cycles that we go through. Life is daily. Life is the ordinary. Life is really about the small things. The waking up early to get the kids ready to school. The sweaty, heavy stuff of food preparation and cooking. The discipline of putting down the phone for a time that matters more. Or the vital decision to turn off the TV. The control not to freak out when one of the kids disobey and spill water on the computer desk. The effort to make a menu so as not to feed the family with just rice, everyday of their lives. The oftentimes messy routine of getting kids to bed. The drudgery of laundry and dishes. The discipline issues--- when to say no, yes, or maybe. The maintenance of balancing love and justice. Hormones. The daily dying to self--- of not retaliating, of being meek and humble, and dutiful even when you and your efforts go unnoticed or unappreciated. 

When it comes to the big issues in life, I know where to go. I cast myself at my Savior's feet. But the daily is so often confused with little things, and most little things are often thought of as those that don't matter much, therefore, have no significance. But they do matter. A lot. The daily is what tips the scales and has far-reaching consequences. So I often find myself struggling in the daily grind of getting through the day without mishaps or loss of control. After all, I am a big girl now. I can handle things on my own. And I should be able to handle small stuff. 

But small stuff that occurs in the daily are sneaky and get past our watchful radar. They are like the termites that the kids and I were talking about the other day. They gnaw away at our spiritual facade, which we thought is strong and sure, but without our knowing, is slowly and so imperceptibly crumbling away. And at the next unforeseen small challenge, we fall apart. Surprise! 

We are aghast. We handled the discipline issue with our kids so terribly. Overreacted over a minor disagreement with a co-worker. Gone overboard with emotions when a total stranger seemed to judge and look down on us. Got drunk with power and authority, and our rights. Fight back when we hear a cutting remark.

I do these. Is there still salvation awaiting for me?

God knows what we are going through, and that we need comforting and counseling all the time--- daily, moment by moment. That is why, when Jesus had to go back to the Father in heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit. He is our much needed Comforter and Counselor. We need comforting for the ghastly deeds and thoughts that fill us with guilt, not to accuse us but to convict us of the right way. We need a counselor to get us back on track to where we are going and not get totally dismayed and hopeless, which would tend to make us seek the wrong way and be lost without hope. 

The Holy Spirit daily fills us up with His power to get us through the mundane and the ordinary, and to help us conquer our own weak, sinful selves when we ask Him. We may fall many times but there is always hope that we can get back on our feet again. The Scripture tells us, "A righteous man may fall seven times and (yet) rises up again" (Proverbs 24:16, emphasis supplied). Isn't that hope enough for me? God offers salvation to us new everyday. His mercies never come to an end (Lamentations 3:22 ESV). 

Oh, how we marvel at the great faith of people who had overcome extraordinary struggles but often fail to recognize the little, daily trials that come our way, and in being unaware have succumbed to them. As we need God in the big waves of life, just so we need Him in the small stuff of our daily lives.

I will not quit doing the little things. But sweating through them and through the ordinary alone is a lonely, non-progressive endeavor. It's what people refer to when they say 'one step forward, two steps backward'. And it's what I have been doing time and time again.

To move forward, I need God to do life with me--- in the storms and in the calm summer afternoons. Praise God He is Emmanuel--- God with us! Praise God He is faithful! He makes the sun to shine every day without fail. The seasons come in their due time as He dictates. Praise God His love endures forever! He feeds the birds and makes the flowers beautiful even without labor. He feeds both those who look up to Him and even those who don't acknowledge Him. 

In every minute of life, God wants to be a part of my life. He already is. I just need to know that He is with me all the time through the Holy Spirit. Oh, how much easier it is not to sweat through the small stuff and though struggling with the mundane, get to celebrate little victories with Him.

The next time I'm up to my head with the ordinary--- the daily duties, the discipline issues, the biting back of the tongue, and the hormones--- I got to remember, I am not alone on this. God is with me. The Holy Spirit is in control, not me. 

Daily practice of allowing the Holy Spirit to take control will surely result to a life of peace and a person who is gentle, patient, temperate, good, kind and loving. I got to believe I can be this person. It doesn't matter if I will appear child-like--- no big girl! I don't want to go on fighting the same small battles and end up lonely, miserable and a loser. I am making a decision.

Life is the small stuff. I am not sweating it alone. Let God take control… and I can deal with any small stuff. Daily.

You may also like to read…

Living a Miracle
Emotions in Motion
Hands On (and More) Part 2


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