‘Ants again! Quick! Where’s the hoover?’ I holler as I follow the boys’ race into the kitchen for breakfast. For some reason, we frequently seem to have a mini ant army marauding around the legs of our table, sheltering from the cold while benefiting from the casual food-drop of a toddler.
Ants dealt with, for the moment, breakfast consumed and we’re beginning to think about leaving the house.
‘Not those…not those…Mummy, I want mys red socks.’ squeals Billy, before his voice ascends into the wail of frustration that so frequently echoes around the house as we’re attempting to get dressed. The same angry cry comes with the opening of the next drawer, as he realises his particular t-shirt desire won’t be satisfied as I try and help my strong-willed child be thankful for what he has, rather than what he doesn’t.
By the time we’re clambering into the car, it can feel like an accumulation of little things like these have clouded the day’s outlook, and my angst levels have been raised before we’ve got anywhere.
But then there are the other little things – the moments that cause the heart rate to drop, and a smile to come. A gloriously Spring like weekend sandwiched between the more expected biting winds and snowfall; a giggle with the boys as we eat our lunch together; the sweetness of my husband returning from a trip; a meal cooked and eaten by everyone, without cajoling and bribery.
My heart can often feel like it’s at the mercy of the ‘little things’. The moments that make up the bigger picture of my circumstances. The sway and flutter of each hour of the day can sometimes shift because of one incident, one disappointment, one delight. It’s exhausting.
Paul’s letter to the Philippians, in the New Testament, has been filling our hearts and minds as we’ve been discussing it in our small groups and hearing it taught in church. One of the challenges of the letter is seeing Paul’s heart and mind anchored in the big things, rather than nudged and buffeted by the little things. He is concerned for the gospel going out and for Christ’s name to be known. It’s in those things that he rejoices.
I was reminded of this the other day as I confessed my angsty ant related feeling to my husband as we were sitting down to breakfast. He gently suggested that I should try and not let it stress me out. And he’s right. While it is aggravating, it’s out of my control and it’s not the main deal.
While I’m sure ants and squeals, amongst other things, will always interrupt my equilibrium, I’m praying that my heart is steadied by Christ, and His concerns, and so my circumstances – whether little or big – are not the decider.