What if – two words that can be debilitating, if we let it.
Most of us don’t deal well with the unknown. I used to like to see what was up ahead until I got there. Now, I’m fine to just wait it out. We’re wired to worry when social media (and our imagination) reminds us that everything today seems to pose a threat to our well-being. And so, we get stuck in the what ifs concerning everything that concerns us – relationships, kids, finances, health, jobs and you fill in your own blank . . . What if ________?
Maybe you’re afraid of what lies ahead. I get it. I read somewhere that the average high school kid has the same level of stress as a psych patient back in the early 50s. There have been changes and upheaval that my grandchildren have experienced that are very different from my children – and from what I’ve experienced.
Living life at any time or decade comes with anxiety, but it doesn’t have to highjack our peace.
We can learn to talk ourselves off the ledge of angst. In fact, maybe you’ve talked a few off the edge of despair just this week, only to review your own self-chat, “I wonder what I’ll do if this happens – or doesn’t?”
Here’s a thought that’s not a solution; we could mentor ourselves with the plastic platitudes we’ve heard from others. You’ve heard them. Everything happens for a reason. Really? That’s not easy to hear (or understand) in the moment when a husband leaves, when a child is diagnosed with a lifelong illness, or when finances go south and we lose a job because . . .
. . . things happen that do not feel like they have a reason. They happen to all of us. The things that shift the arc of our life.
So, what do you do when you’re plagued with the what ifs that don’t seem to have reason – what do I do? I don’t have a for-you answer, just a little experience . . .
So this is what I do . . . I rehearse the Word. I walk in a cornfield or a 23rd psalm-green pasture and lie down with the Truth. The all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful and infinitely good God of the universe who I believe can actually take care of my small space.
Oh, and I watch reruns of Little House on the Prairie. Seriously.
I’ve found there is power in writing it out – hence, I journal. There’s something freeing about recording your crazies and realizing maybe that’s all it is. I have journals scribed full of the what ifs of life that came true in the way I hoped they wouldn’t- and even when they did, God was still good. He was still sovereign.
It’s right there in those pages that I found there is something liberating in two other words – Even If.
What if we gave what’s closest to our heart to our capable God? Well then, we would be able to make the liberating exchange of the What If with an Even If.
. . . we are taking every speculation raising itself against the knowledge of God and taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5