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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Tonight I watched what some consider the best rivalry in college basketball: Duke vs. Carolina. There are quite a number of my fellow divinity students who went to Carolina undergrad, and they were quite heartbroken as the time ticked off the clock in overtime, sealing their fate and giving Coach K (or rat-face as they lovingly call him) another win.
Now I’m sure you’ve all read or heard at some point a sermon saying we should get as excited about Jesus on the cross as we do about sports. I think that is a pretty stupid argument, because we know that Jesus has victory. There is no question of whether or not he has won. Plus, it always feels a little shame-y, like we are supposed to feel bad for being passionate about sports. That’s dumb. We are passionate creatures, and shouldn’t be scolded for being excited about a good game.
The game did get me to thinking however, about something else: the weight of performance on the shoulders of 18 year old kids. Can you imagine being the player who misses the pass, drops the ball, or bricks a free throw in a game that is hyped up as much as this? It is conveyed as life and death. Outside of sports we do the same thing. We take small goals we have, or career choices, or anything really, and make it a do or die scenario. When we fail we kick ourselves for weeks, and shame ourselves by thinking we aren’t good enough, or smart enough, or unworthy of love, etc. etc. But whatever it is that we feel the weight of the world from—we aren’t supposed to feel that way.
Growing up my dad used to read to us from a book every night entitled, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” I’m not sure what initially made him want to read this, whether it be my sister’s type-a tendencies (she wouldn’t open Barbie dolls because it would depreciate their value) or my anxiety about them leaving the house and not saying bye, or just that he thought it was a funny book. Whatever the case, it stuck with me. Mainly just the title. Don’t sweat the small stuff. The job interview that didn’t go well? It’s ok. There will be other interviews. The relationship that ended? It sucks, but it’s not eh end of the world. The Duke basketball game that you lost because you missed a free throw? Ask any fan of either team who won the game three years ago. Most will probably not be able to say.
We give eternal ramifications to mortal things. We play God by giving things more credit then they are due, and thus power over us. If God wanted UNC-Duke basketball to be eternal, he would’ve made it that way. But He didn’t. He didn’t make your job eternal, or your score on this next test eternal. God made human spirit eternal. We have a place in heaven with our Creator, because He chose to make it eternal. When we give these implications to things that aren’t, that is a sin. We don’t need to play God and put importance on thing unjustly. It only leads to discontent and fear. So, in the words of my dad’s favorite book when I was, 7, don’t sweat the small stuff. God made it that way for a reason.
James Harris

James is probably the 3rd or 4th funniest guy you know. Funny enough to invite to a party; not witty enough to talk about later. Co-Founder and Content Editor of Everyday Exiles, Director of College Ministry at Reynolda Church, EPC, and husband to Meredith. He has a dog named Calvin, a cat named Opie, and a robot vacuum named Alfred.

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