Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Devil is in the Details

I googled "the devil is in the details" this morning as a disconcerting train of thoughts led me to wonder about it.  The general interpretation is that when overlooked, the smallest details in a plan can cause the most damage.  Ignoring small details can lead to big trouble.  As a previous event planner, I can attest to the truth of this philosophy.

Unfortunately the thoughts that led me here were only that of my Superbowl plans for today.  I'm having just a few people over, and I started going through my mental checklist for what I need to do and what my timeline should be.  "Details," I thought, "Think through every little detail, Cynthia."  Without warning, that phrase "the devil is in the details" distressingly came to mind.

You see, even though I understand the meaning of this colloquialism, I'm afraid I have to apply it a bit more literally to my life.  Yes, I love to plan.  Yes, I am organized.  Yes, I try to prepare for every eventuality.  And though I am successful in pulling off events, parties, celebrations, and meetings without a hitch, along with the minute details comes an anxiety, worry, and perfectionism in me that I know is not Godly.  There is my devil, waiting in the wings - or on my shoulder, more accurately - whispering words of doubt and frustration in my ear so that my graciousness escapes me and leaves behind a sniping, nervous Nellie...attractive.

Yesterday's scripture reading was the passage of Jesus and the disciples, the loaves and the fishes.  I always identified most profoundly with the disciples' point of view here.  "What do you mean we're supposed to feed over 5,000 men with 5 loaves of bread and two fish?  What are we, miracle workers?"  Little did they know...

The disciples were nervous, anxious, and if I can further interpret from my own experience, getting somewhat bitter.  I've been there.  Yet the lesson here for the disciples - and me! - is that we cannot plan for everything in life.  It's impossible.  There will always be something unexpected to broadside us.  The trick is how we handle it when these little lessons come our way.  Are we going to question God?  Are we going to get angry and frustrated?  Are we going to shut down and deny the problem?  Or are we going to laughingly and trustingly call upon our God, who is with us every moment of every day, and ask, "God, I'm gonna need your help with this one.  Only You can help me handle this situation with grace, faith, and aplomb.  Only You can keep me calm and steady.  Only You can open my compassionate heart.  Only You can multiply the 'loaves and fishes.'  Go ahead and take over - I'm in Your hands."

So on this day of prayer and worship (plus football), I blow the devil off of my shoulder, put out a tray of crackers and hummus, make the hot artichoke dip if I get to it, kick off my shoes and enjoy my friends and family, graciously asking for help if it's needed - and ordering pizza (with sardines? they're fish after all) if more loaves and fishes are required.

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