by Annette Bridges. ©2009. All rights reserved.

Actually, I prefer to think of myself as a recovering over-reactor. But I admit that I do fall off the wagon from time to time. What happened a couple of days ago was a case in point.

I woke up in a state of exasperation. My week had been a busy one, filled to the brim with appointments, meetings and unfinished tasks. Never mind that I created and even desired most of the activities on my agenda. I couldn’t get past the irrational feelings of irritation and aggravation that I didn’t have enough time to do all that I thought I had to do.

So the fact that I was running late to my hair appointment and leaving my dirty house and piled laundry behind was more than I could handle. The car in front of me which I was certain was going at least 20 miles below the speed limit didn’t help matters either.

I ranted and raved most of the way to the beauty shop. Fortunately, I wasn’t alone with my inconsequential and insignificant ranting. My daughter was with me and, thankfully, soon became my needed voice of reason.

She calmly pointed out that everything I was stressing over was easily fixable and could be corrected — maybe not all that very day, mind you, but all doable nonetheless.

She emphasized that my getting all worked up was blowing everything out of proportion and was not going to help me accomplish what I needed and wanted. She was right, of course. I knew this. But the “Drama Queen” in me needed to be reminded.

I learned long ago that making a mountain out of a molehill only resulted in one thing — a big deal being made out of a minor issue. And whenever I made “mountains,” I made things more difficult than they had to be.

A couple of years ago, I recall a newspaper column titled, “Don’t sweat the small stuff when so much else matters.” It turns out that most of what makes me sweat is all very small when proper perspective takes over my sanity.

Most days I ask myself — “Will I remember a year from now what is driving me crazy today?”

Do you think I can tell you which days last year I was late for my hair appointment? Or which days my house was dirty or which days I got behind on my laundry? Of course I can’t! And why can’t I? Because these kinds of things are small stuff in comparison with the grander things that make up my life and my treasured memories.

I do try very hard not to waste time and energy getting upset over things that weigh not one iota among the things that do matter most to me. And I can promise you that the only thing that over-reacting achieves is wasted time and needless misery.

I find comfort in remembering the words of the Master, “Let not your heart be troubled” (John 14:27) and the Psalmist, “Fret not thyself.” (Psalms 37:7) These words of wisdom usually help redirect my focus and bring calm to my irrational emotions.

I remember when Jesus calmed the storm at sea saying, “Peace, be still.” (Mark 4:39) And his healing message also calms what seems like a storm brewing in my weary mind. I find my center again — no longer caught up in the minutiae of a frantic moment.

I hope my confession is helpful to you, my friends. Life can have enough drama in it at times without us adding more to it. Besides — sweating too much over the small stuff will keep you from experiencing and enjoying what is really important to you. And if you’re like me, you don’t want that!