We had some amazing weather this weekend. It is finally warming up and the sun was shining. I couldn’t wait to get outside on Saturday. I love going for long walks around town. It might seem strange, but it is so peaceful to just soak up the sun, get some miles in, sweat a little and enjoy the sounds. I spend most of my walks in prayer and just giving thanks for the many blessings in my life. My walks are often the times when I feel the closest to God. Maybe it’s because there are no people around, no tv or podcasts and very little traffic. I don’t even walk with music going. Its just the sound of my breathing, the birds chirping and the dogs barking.
Saturday was no different. I intentionally took a route where I knew these things would be true. I was about a mile and a half into my walk thinking about how great it felt to have the sun beating down on my shoulders when it happened. My prayers and thoughts of gratitude got interrupted and my thoughts started to wander to my foot. My left foot to be specific. There was a rock in my shoe. I could tell it was just a tiny little pebble so I just kept walking. I didn’t want to stop and take the time to remove my shoe, dump out the pebble and put my shoe back on. Who has time for that? I continued to walk and as I went back to praying and worshipping I kept finding my thoughts drifting back to that dang tiny pebble. What if it led to a blister? That would stink. How many walks would I miss if that happened?
How can something so small be such a giant distraction?
How many times have I let a very small thing take up a large portion of my thoughts and time? One tiny negative thought can invade your brain and take up such a large amount of space. How easily have we let something so small be a giant distraction in our life?
We are rocking along in life and everything is going great. And then something happens. Maybe there was a negative comment on facebook directed at you or your coworker is stirring up trouble at the office. Maybe your kid just spilled something on the carpet or your spouse hurt your feelings. It could be a bad workout or a meal that derailed your diet plan. Maybe you just hit snooze one too many times this morning and it started your day in a rush. Before we know it, our attitudes, our thoughts, our words and eventually our actions are consumed by the negativity. The tiny thing turns into a huge distraction throwing our day, our week or even our year off track. We don’t even know how we got there. We don’t recognize when tiny things turn into big ones. One tiny pebble rubbed the wrong spot and led to a blister and then before long it feels like our entire shoe is filled with rocks and our feet covered in blisters that won’t ever heal.
If I had stopped my walk, emptied my shoe and removed that tiny pebble, I would have resumed my walk and continued with my thoughts of gratitude and thanksgiving. It would have been a pleasant walk and a pleasant afternoon. And guess what? It wouldn’t have slowed me down much at all! Instead, I walked for another 3 miles unable to concentrate on anything else except for the tiny, and I do mean TINY, pebble in my shoe. It ruined my walk. It ruined my prayer time and it left me in a sour mood when my walk was over. How can something that small have had such a hold on my thoughts? It seems silly.
I know I do this in life all the time. Rather than taking the time to recognize the first hint of negativity creeping in, I don’t seem to make a change until I have let it affect every part of my life for far too long. If we would stop, remove the distraction or the first hint of negativity, how much more peaceful and joyful would our daily lives be? When our thoughts start to stray, if we would just stop and take hold of them and redirect them so we can get back on course we would be so much better off. One tiny distraction or negative thought can lead to long term damage. The the time to slow down, remedy the situation before moving forward.
Don’t let one tiny pebble turn into a big distraction and don’t let one small negative thought steal your joy.