I’m sure you’ve noticed how anxieties crowd out God’s message of peace. We aren’t meant to carry them. We are meant to cast all our cares upon Him.
A wise person once asked me: Can you make this “issue” a “nonissue?” Can you just say, “This really isn’t that big of a deal”? It’s a true friend who gives honest feedback.
Nonissue, Embarrassing Moments, and the Like
Oh no! Over went my glass of iced tea on the place setting beside me. Formal night on my first cruise was in full swing. Men and women were dressed to the nines eagerly awaiting the first course. I was the entertainment.
The waiter tried to be nice but didn’t succeed. It wasn’t hard to miss his displeasure. (A kind word would have gone a long way. See Proverbs 12:25). Already overworked, he immediately devoted his full attention to my unfortunate event.
Since I had everyone’s attention at my table, I had a relevant story to share.
As a stay-at-home-homeschooling-mother of two boys, I often pursued interests outside the walls of my home for sanity’s sake. This included taking courses through my city’s community education. One course I took on the subject of etiquette was especially entertaining, not for the subject matter alone, but for what occurred during the class.
The class was held at an upscale restaurant. The waitress returned with a tray of drinks balanced on her extended hand. She lost her footing; the drinks left the tray and spilled over the table, onto us, and into our handbags on the floor. The class on etiquette had just begun.
Most of us were wet, but the instructor was soaked to the bone. She persevered through the lesson and three-course dinner. She exuded etiquette.
Make Issues Nonissues
To the instructor, this disaster was a nonissue. Her resilience was a testament of grace, benevolence, and years of studying etiquette, no doubt. I watched as she resiliently took life’s (small) blows in stride.
Isn’t it easy to be anxious and troubled by the little things in life? Jesus makes an observation about Martha: “You are anxious and troubled about many things” (Luke 10:41). See, He understands human nature; He knows what we turn to. But He offers this antidote: Rest, Martha. Make this “issue” a “nonissue.” Look through my lens.
God Wants You to Pursue Peace
God wants you to see green pastures and calm waters, a yoke that is easy, a burden that is light (Matthew 11:30). He wants you to be delighted with creation (He was!): the sunrise and sunset, the eagle resting upon the tallest tree; the butterfly fluttering across the path; an infant smiling at his parent, and hearing, really hearing Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” I like Solomon’s version as well: “There are three things that amaze me—no, four things I do not understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman” (Proverbs 30:19).
The beautiful moments of life are vying for your attention. Even song sparrows, according to writer Ben Mirin, “alter the frequency of their song to become audible amid city noise.”
So Here’s What I Do
I try to take uncomfortable situations and embarrassing moments in stride too. Like the time I prepared a meal for twenty people, and it didn’t quite turn out. Or the time I met Andy Card, George W. Bush’s chief of staff, and embarrassed myself thoroughly. The office manager from the Republican office—where we volunteered—bragged to Mr. Card about my sons’ volunteer work. Thinking I deserved a little recognition as well, I took the moment to shine, but my words didn’t come out as I had planned. I piped up, hand grasping his in greeting, and proudly announced, “And I’m your mom!” meaning rather that I was the boys’ mother. It was an awkward moment that ended in silent nods between us. I’ve since recovered.
I have found that the sooner I make these small, daily annoyances into “nonissues,” the happier I am. These moments have a way of stealing the joy right out from underneath me, and in this case, ruining an amazing night on a cruise. This time, I remembered my “nonissue” mantra.
There is nothing quite so invigorating and joyous as to not cry over spilt milk.
BY PAULA NILSEN
Mirin, Ben. “Obsessions Birding.” National Geographic Traveler. January 2018.