Do you ever feel like you are beating your head against a wall? Or that you are running into the same old frustration over and over again? Or maybe you are stuck in a rut and you just can’t seem to get out?
My husband loves a clean sink more than almost anyone except maybe my dad. This man takes it seriously. For years, he has cleaned the sink out every night before bed, putting clean dishes away, dirty in the dishwasher. He faithfully starts the dishwasher (unless I beat him to it) before turning out the light. The next morning, he puts all the clean dishes up before starting his coffee. Yes, I know. He is a keeper.
This all sounds well and good, but there seems to be little (or man-size) nocturnal creatures living in our house that tend to eat at all hours of the night leaving dishes, in the otherwise empty sink, overnight. It has been frustrating to wake up to a pile of dishes every morning. To their credit, they try to be quiet at night. It’s too noisy for the little creatures to empty the dishwasher in the middle of the night or wash them and put them away..waking all the old folks with the clanking and clattering. So, there they sat. Frustrating us daily.
Until…I suggested that maybe we should run the dishwasher right after dinner. Then, put away the clean dishes before bed leaving the dishwasher empty for the little nocturnal creatures that scamper around our house. And, ta-dah! Frustration solved. No dishes in the sink in the morning.
Those same little creatures have a lot of shoes that seem to spill out all over the basement floor. I tried to organize them in neat little rows. Put some less worn ones away in their bedrooms. But the basement is inevitably their entrance and exit. It is where they naturally drop their shoes. It so happens to be the same area that I use for my office. I finally went to Target, bought a big, gray plastic bin for $6.99, and they toss their shoes in it by the door. Frustration solved. No shoes spilling out all over the floor.
These little tweaks, these minor adjustments, have solved on-going minor frustrations for us.
Lessons often take a while to learn.
What if we approached the ongoing frustrations or the rut in our life, with these simple questions?
What little tweak can I make today in this situation?
Sometimes the little tweak can make a tremendous impact.
Think about it. How many times have you made a little tweak to your schedule, your habits, your diet, your job, etc. and seen significant results? Let’s not overlook the power of the little tweaks.
A few years ago, I had gained some middle-age weight and rarely exercised. My cholesterol was high and it was a constant concern with family history of heart attacks and strokes. I don’t love dieting, so I began to make little tweaks. First, I stopped calling it “diet” and chose to focus on eating healthier. I can’t do a whole day of strict dieting much less a whole 30 days. Ain’t gonna happen for this girl! Then, I started with what I could do – cutting my portion size down and opting out of seconds. Later, I started making small tweaks like eating fruit and nuts instead of chips or cookies for a snack. Replacing carbs with healthier choices (well, most of the time because a girl needs her chocolate and Cuban coffee drink on occasion LOL). Maybe you need to be more disciplined, that’s ok. Just start with the little tweaks by eliminating one thing at a time. I have found it is much easier to eat healthier by changing mall things along the way than everything at once.
Later, I also decided to switch gyms. Instead of the nice, newer one where “everyone” seemed to go (except for me that never got there anyway), I chose one that was on my regular errand route and close to home. It didn’t have all the bells and whistles, but it did fit better into my routine. I started finally going regularly (until COVID-19 hit and the world stopped, but YAY! our gym opens again soon!). Now, before you say, I can’t do that. Listen, I still don’t love exercising. My exercise primarily consists of 30 minutes on the elliptical and maybe a few weights. Maybe. But those little tweaks made a tremendous impact. I lost some much-needed weight and my cholesterol dropped. I had more energy and felt better about myself. Maybe for you it is starting by taking a short walk every day or finding an exercise video to do from home or stretching before bed.
This same principle can apply to your spiritual life as well. One of the little tweaks that I have made recently is meditating on God’s word at night as well as morning. Based on the 20:20 Challenge from Psalm 1 that I proposed in a previous blog (read HERE), I discovered “Oh, the joys for those who…delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.” The challenge – 20 minutes in the Word day and night. How did I remember to do this? I made a little tweak. I started leaving a Bible and devotional beside my bed. Now, rather than having to track down my Bible from the morning or trek downstairs to my desk, which would take far too much energy at night LOL, I can simply reach over and spend some time in the Word before lights go out. Another little tweak with tremendous impact.
As I looked back over the last couple years, I realized I had learned a valuable lesson:
Never underestimate the power of little tweaks in your life.
Is there something in your life that is a nagging frustration? Are you in a rut and want to get out? Take a good look at the situation and decide today to make one little tweak and see what happens. You may be really surprised at the impact.