Small Things

I’ve been thinking, and I’m pretty sure life is about the small things.

Ecclesiastes hints at this.

I know that there is nothing better for men than to rejoice and do good while they live,and also that every man should eat and drink and find satisfaction in all his labor—this is the gift of God.

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

I love watching movies and reading memoirs about the candid, real rich people. Partly out of curiosity, partly guilty pleasure. But partly to remind myself that this is as good as it gets. Money and power and fame doesn’t make your life any happier or any more fulfilled. If anything, after a certain point wealth and fame reduce your quality of life.

I’ve found that the truest joy I will experience this side of eternity is fully comprised of the small things.

  • Cute things my kids say.
  • A quiet walk in nature.
  • Exploring a new city with my husband.
  • A satisfying training session with my team.
  • Coffee and warm conversation with a friend.

These aren’t just little things. These are, in fact, the big things.

This is what life is about.

If we’re to make the most of our short time on earth, we’d do well to stop focusing so much on getting ahead and chasing after the “big things.” Those are the things unhappy, unsatisfied people chase after.

Life is made up of millions and millions of little moments.

The Bible reminds us not to chase after wealth, possessions, and power. Yet we continue to do what the culture around us does. It’s considered “normal.”

It doesn’t just warn against this because it’s selfish – it warns against this because it’s harmful and empty to us as well.

God made us and knows what we need to thrive better than we do. He authored the “instruction manual” of how to be human and flourish.

Look no further than Proverbs for examples of how chasing after money and the things of this world is fruitless.

So why do we find this advice so hard to follow?

Selfishness. Fear. Conformity.

It’s not that money or wealth is bad.

But it should be the byproduct of a life lived for the right reasons. Not the focus of our time and energy.

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats bursting with wine.

Proverbs 3:9-10

How can we get less wrapped up in the things of the world and more wrapped up in the little things?

You could make a “little things bucket list.” One by one, add those things to your calendar.

It could also be as easy as noticing all the little things that are already around you.

Sometimes the most transformative things are also the smallest.

Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing…. Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away….

They say time is money, but that’s not true. Time is life. And if I want the fullest life, I need to find fullest time… the busyness of your life leaving little room for the source of your life….

God gives us time. And who has time for God?

Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

Sometimes all our striving and all our goal-setting actually keeps us from noticing the very things we should be striving for.

Everyday we have choices to make.

On my free days I can choose to go shopping or I can go for a walk in Forest Park.

I can choose to meet a friend to talk.

I can choose to read a book and pray.

We feel like we aren’t “doing anything with our lives” unless we’re maxed-out, stressed out, and incredibly busy.

As a stay at home mother I sometimes feel like I’m not “earning my keep” or contributing to society.

Why do I feel that earning an income is evidence of a life well-lived?

Why is it that retirees often struggle to find purpose and meaning at first?

I suggest we change the culture. Embrace those small, seemingly-unimportant things.

Those things are what life is actually about.

Yes, we should dream. Yes, we should be ambitious.

But not at the expense of the little things.

The cuddles with kids. The good cup of coffee. The smell of a fresh rain.

It all adds up to something pretty incredible.

 

Photography by Trollinho

3 Comments

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  1. Exactly! Life is so much about the “small things.” I liked Ann’s quote in your post so much, that I ordered her book (our library is closed due to the coronavirus outbreak) second-hand, of course.
    Another excellent post!

    • Thank you! I’m sorry your library is closed. Ours isn’t yet so I just stocked up on things to pass the time! It really is a lovely and moving book. I hope you enjoy 😊

  2. Emily,
    Well said, thank you very much and God bless.

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