It's the Little Things That Matter

April 8, 2015

Ever notice that it is not the big things that wear you down, but the little things that are there all the time?

Like the matchbox car that you step on in the dark.

Or the mosquito bite that you shouldn’t scratch.

Or the sand stuck in your shoe.

No one enjoys learning the punctuation rules. But notice the meaning change when a simple comma is omitted: “Let’s eat, (pause) Grandma.” Or “Let’s eat Grandma.”

In writing, it’s the little words that add or take away meaning. ‘Stand up’ is redundant, just ‘stand’ will do; don’t say ‘sit down,’  just ‘sit’ will suffice; not ‘he nodded his head,’ just ‘he nodded.’ (What else would he nod?)

Those little, extra, added words hinder the meaning. Readers lose interest. The message is diluted.

By removing redundancy, words gain strength. Conciseness gives authority. The meaning is clear.

John knew this well. “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14.) He also knew the power of the right little words when he said, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

So often, we discount the little things in our life as unimportant: that unkind word, that sloppy job, that ungrateful attitude. We are not perfect, but we can give our best, every time, with everything. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31)

Give those little things—that meal, that next phone call, that word—the best that you can.

Will stepping on that matchbox car in the dark change your life? Probably not, but those little words that you say afterward may give glory or shame to your God. It’s the little things that God sees.

How do you remember that the little things matter? Yet not get consumed by them?

You really hit home with your last paragraph. It does seem to be the little things that show who we are. That book, Created to be His Help Meet, is what showed me that attitude is everything, it's who we are. No excuses, no I was tired, I was frustrated, I was angry, what's in the heart will always come out. And the little things are often where we find out who we really are. And we wives often show our true selves to our husbands in rather ugly ways. I don't ever want to go back to the way I used to be.

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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