I’m finding out that I can sometimes be a pretty petty person. This is a devastating thing to know about yourself.
I don’t tolerate pettiness well in other people; in fact, it is a personal pet-peeve. Pettiness feels a little overly-dramatic and small-picture to me. Being around a petty person feels negative and kind of makes the petty person sound spoiled and ungrateful. So you can imagine my disdain to hear, in my own voice and life, a little bit of pettiness coming through.
In just the last couple of weeks, I have witnessed huge and scary things in people’s lives. I heard the miraculous news that a bus full of kiddos (including my nephew and his Daddy) was struck by an 18-wheeler, and by the grace of God, everyone lived and most walked away with only a few scratches and bruises. I watched a dear friend of mine face a terrible medical scare with her darling 4 year old son (don’t tell anyone, but I love this kid) and we will all be chained to our phones this week as we wait for more test results. I prayed alongside some incredible ladies for a sweet girl from our office who sits in the hospital day after day and hour after hour (all hooked up to a bunch of monitors) doing her best to toast up the precious twin baby-girl-muffins in her tummy, just as fast as she can, before it gets too dangerous for them to be in there together anymore. I read through our prayer chain and my heart broke for all those hurting people; at all the pain and cancer eating away at our congregation and those they love. And tomorrow I will cry and cry some more and join probably half the zip code as we gather together at a funeral to mourn the loss of a friend/mentor that finally slipped away after a good long life of loving the unlovables like me.
All this has happened and will continue to happen, because the weeks seem endlessly full of big things that need big prayers and a big, big God. And I will genuinely care about those things and witness those events with compassion in my heart. But then, because I can sometimes be a pretty petty person, all of that will vanish instantly from my mind for a moment when something really earth-shattering happens, like being told that I can’t have the kitchen backsplash I want.
Life is so much bigger than this small little thumbnail lens I view it through sometimes. It is crazy bigger than stupid things like tile prices or paint colors or kitchen backsplashes (but in my defense, it HAS to be this perfect vintage-meets-contemporary material, it just HAS to….) My finish selections are so tee-tiny on the totem pole of priorities in comparison to some of the things people I love are facing this day, this week, this month. And the little house on Larkhall Drive will have absolutely nothing on the mansion in eternity I get to live in. Yet, even knowing all of this, I will have the audacity to freak out over something so insignificant as a tile pattern or lighting. Talk about sounding spoiled and ungrateful.
YUCK. YUCK. YUCK.
I so know better. I know that life – that GOD – is so much bigger than these tiny things. In fact, He is so much bigger than we could ever know or see or touch or grasp or begin to understand this side of heaven. He is big enough to have a personal relationship with each and every one of us, all while simultaneously performing miracles and running the world.
When I spend my time thinking about and being amazed at how big God is, it shrinks me and my dumb little problems down to the grain-of-sand size we should be. And small is good for me because small is the antagonist to petty. It is only when I get smaller in my world that I can allow the space for GOD to be the big thing in my day and in my life.
So this week, I am going to try to really focus on the goodness and graciousness and great big-ness of God. I am going to choose to not spin off about those tiny stupid things and instead care about the big things and the good people He has placed in my life. I will choose to see his miracles and wonders and blessings all around me. And I will try my best to be big-picture and big-hearted and full of the things that really matter.
The hugeness of God is incomprehensible. I hope I spend the rest of my life in awe of that. And when I spend just a millisecond thinking about it, I am so grateful that in all his vastness and powerfulness, He still sent His Son to save the little bitty petty people; the overly dramatic, small-picture, spoiled, and ungrateful folks… like me.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
~ Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)
do you find yourself forgetting the big picture from time to time? what insignificant things set you off and what eternal consequences might that have? what do you do to keep yourself focused on the things that really matter?