I was participating in a mastermind group one day and my mentor shared a story about how we need to be cognizant over the small things in our lives because they can derail us. She shared two examples to illustrate her point. The difference between a motorcycle that is upright and traveling safely is a pebble, because over a certain rate of speed a small thing like a pebble hit the wrong way can result in a motorcycle accident. Also, she shared that periodically a large airplane can crash because a bird interfered with the flight mechanism. This is exactly what happened in the famous Hudson River landing. A bird was sucked into the jets and it caused the plane to crash.
Interestingly, later that week the topic of small things came up in Bible study and I started to think about just how much the small things matter and the ways they can occur in our lives. The small things can be anything. It can be how we handle tense situations. Do we respond with worry, anxiety, or fear or do we respond in faith and kindness? Do we practice humility; make good spending decisions; practice healthy eating habits; exercise; express love and appreciation to those we love; use good communication skill, tell the truth with love; keep our word; practice patience; respond to inconvenience righteously? These things are easy to do, but can also be difficult. When these things aren’t done constantly in the right way then they can cause conflict and chaos in our lives.
Therefore, we need to watch the birds and the pebbles in our lives because small things left unchecked can become bigger things that can derail our lives, dreams, families, and can even interfere with our relationship with God. For example, picture the old cartoons where a snowball starts rolling down a mountain and as the snowball continues to roll unchecked, it gets larger and larger and larger to the point where it can start to destroy everything in its path. Conversely, the opposite is true as well. It can be a snowball for good that gets larger and larger and larger that brings hope and the Word of Jesus to all those in its path. Our actions help to impact which snowball we will see play out in our lives.
We need to watch the birds and the pebbles in our lives because small things left unchecked can become bigger things that can derail our lives, dreams, families, and can even interfere with our relationship with God.
There is a great book, The Slight Edge, which discusses the importance of doing the small things. These small things are the small daily disciplines that are easy to do, but can also be a challenge. These are the things that usually go unnoticed and appear insignificant, but when done over time, add up to something that really matters. This is why we need to be aware of the birds and pebbles in our lives, because if we don’t make a change (slow down, pay attention to the route, etc. ) then the small things can negatively impact us.
Therefore, today I wanted to share something I learned from my personal study of Philippians 4: 6-7. I was so excited about the insight God revealed to me in me study that I wanted to share it with you all, because I think this scripture gives us the perfect blueprint for how to handle the small things and other things we encounter in life. The scripture is below:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4: 6-7 (NIV)
The verse starts out by saying, “Do not be anxious about anything.” This is a powerful statement because it is a command. The Lord is commanding us not to be anxious. Since this is a command, this means if we are anxious then we are disobeying the command and disobedience is sin. To be anxious is to also have worry and fear. We see in Hebrews 11:6 that if we don’t have faith then it is impossible to please God. If we know we can’t please God without faith, then worrying and fear is the absence of faith. Therefore, we must take captive all thoughts and things that could bind us to anxiety, worry and fear and then make those things obedient to God (2 Corinthians 10:5).
If we keep reading the verse, Paul goes on to tell us how to do it. This is done by doing the following things in ALL SITUATIONS. This means that we don’t do it sometimes or when we feel like it, but all times. This doesn’t mean we will always get it right, because we won’t. It takes a lot of work. We just have to keep working on it day-by-day and moment-by-moment. Here is what you should do:
- Go to God in prayer and petition. We need to go to God in prayer in make our requests known. The definition of petition is, “to make or present a formal request to (an authority) with respect to a particular cause.” Prayer is an opportunity to go into the presence of God and speak to Him and to talk to Him about what is on our hearts and minds. This is not something we should take for granted, because in the Old Testament, people were unable to do that. When people wanted to make a request to God, they needed to see a prophet or a priest and even then there was a protocol attached to it. Therefore, we should be grateful we are able to have a personal relationship with God the Father, because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Prayer is something that should be done regularly and not something that is only done in times of trial.
- Go to God in Thanksgiving. When we go to God, we need to have a grateful and open heart. It doesn’t matter if He says, yes, no or maybe. At minimum we should be grateful we can come before Him. The other thing is we need to praise God in advance because whatever His response, it is for our good. Trust He is ABLE. When we are thankful that really is a sign of faith.
- Present our requests to God. When we go to God in prayer and have a heart of thanksgiving, then we can present our requests to God. This is when we pour out our hearts, desires, fears, and concerns to Him. Ask Him for strength, wisdom, insight, and whatever else you need. However, when you do this, be humble and truly seek Him, then He will answer you (2 Chronicles 7:14). Don’t dictate to or attempt to micromanage God, because you will fail. Leave room for God to be God, because He is Sovereign.
This is where things start to get exciting.
The next part is, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
This is important. I don’t want you to miss the conditional statement. Once you go to God in prayer, in thanksgiving, and present your requests to Him, then He will guard your heart and give you peace. This is so important, because so many things eagerly compete for our attention (social media, news, drama, negativity, etc.). Many of these things are simply distractions designed to take our eyes off of Jesus. However, we need to fix “our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2). When something tempts us to turn our eyes away from Jesus, we should go to Jesus immediately and ask for help to turn back to Him. This is an ongoing effort all of the time. But the good news is God will help you. This is why people don’t look like what they are going through, or they have a peace that, on the surface, no one can understand or may not make sense. That’s because they have Jesus. Jesus is guarding their heart and giving them peace. This gift is priceless, but God so freely gives it to those who love Him.
This is how you handle the small things and all things that come up.
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Aisha Taylor is a single mom of twins, personal financial coach, work from home entrepreneur, and #1 Amazon Best Selling Author of the book “5+5 FNPhenomenal Ways to Save $100 This Week Without Killing Your Lifestyle.” Aisha has been featured in ESSENCE, Jet Magazine, and Black Enterprise. She is also the Founder of FNPhenomenal (Frugal –n- Phenomenal), a movement designed to help single moms create a vision for their lives, craft a financial strategy to support that vision, and show them that phenomenal living is possible. It’s time for you to be Financially Phenomenal!