I often said to my kids when they were little, “read and practice a chapter of Proverbs a day for the rest of your lives.” We live in a world inundated with a rapidly increasing amount of knowledge that none of us can keep up with. More than ever, we need wisdom in order to realize why and how to live well.
With that in mind, I’d like to suggest a resource that you and your friends can benefit from. With more than ten million copies sold in a variety of languages, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: and it’s all small stuff” by Richard Carlson is a popular self help book. The book jacket says: Each of the 100 stress-reducing strategies have helped readers live calmer, happier lives and enjoy deeper, more satisfying relationships. Isn’t that what God designed us for? To flourish?
Each idea is explained in a short chapter of one to three pages. The concepts may appear simplistic, but they are based on proven, psychological principles, such as the effect of thoughts on feelings. The more aware we are of what we are thinking, the more we can control irrational thoughts and the emotions we produce. Here are several examples of some of the 100 ideas:
Make peace with imperfection;
Develop your compassion;
Do something nice for someone else – and don’t tell anyone about it;
Choose being kind over being right;
Don’t interrupt others or finish their sentences;
Once a week, write a heartfelt letter;
Become aware of your moods and don’t allow yourself to be fooled by the low ones;
Set aside quiet time, every day;
Stop blaming others; and…
Live this day as if it might be your last. It might be!
The reality is that all truth is ultimately God’s truth, wherever we come across it. The ideas mentioned in “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” can help people gain new perspective to have richer, more meaningful lives. I recognize this book is a helpful pre-evangelism tool.
I know some of my friends outside of Jesus are not ready to start looking to Scripture for truth and answers to the issues, questions, and challenges they wrestle with. What a joy it is to have a resource to offer them to start thinking about “how to live life well.”
The book jacket adds, “most of us tend to act or react to stuff that comes at us as an emergency, not an opportunity to relax and enjoy ourselves. The result is stress and not happiness.” Certainly one can make an argument that the ideas in the book are aimed at self-help, and not God-help. But my counter argument is, “if people are not yet ready for Scripture intake, why not present them with ideas that are in many cases, mirrored in Scripture?”
So when I shared chapter 67 with someone, entitled, “Practice ignoring your negative thoughts,” I added that my basis and application of that idea was found in Philippians 4:6-8 in the New Testament, which I quoted. “Really?” they said. “I never knew the Bible could be so helpful.”
Walk wisely. Proverbs are actually simple ways to keep little things from taking over your life.
Love is a verb,
©2016 by Mike Olejarz