What to Do With ‘What If?’ Part One

what to do with what ifIt’s a little question that can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. It can also bring people together.

Asking, “what ifs” like “What if we get married? Have a have a child? Buy a house? Start a business? Move to a new town? Go on a trip around the world? Homeschool our kids? Go on a mission trip? Adopt a child? Buy a farm?” can bring extraordinary change to the lives of the people who ask these big questions.

But the other “what ifs” can take us to a really dark place in the blink of an eye. “What if we…Go broke? Lose our house? Lose out on a big opportunity? Make a mistake? Lead our children astray? Trust someone and get hurt? Fail at marriage, work or life in general?”

These questions can be valid, but are they really worthy of our time? Are they really worthy of our attention?

The place I look when the creepy little “what ifs” start to cloud my vision is the fruits of the spirit.

Are these questions coming from a place of love? Are they going to bring anyone joy? Am I giving my loved ones the benefit of the doubt? Am I giving my loved ones or my circumstances time to change (forbearance)? Are my questions coming from a place of kindness or selfishness? Are my questions allowing me to see the good in a situation? Am I being faithful in asking these questions? Am I speaking these questions with gentleness? Am I practicing self-control in seeking answers to these big questions?

I’m going to pull the seeds of truth out of these fruits because thinking about them in the context of “what if” brings clarity. I hope this exercise helps you like it helps me. There’s too much fruit to cut through for one post, so I’m going to divide this into three separate posts.

Are my “what ifs” coming from a place of love?

In the love chapter of the Bible, Paul tells us that “love always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres.” When we ask our questions from a place of love for our husband or our children or any other loved one, the bad “what ifs” get clouded out when we seek to offer protection, trust or hope.

I know that when I go to my dear husband and ask him a “What if we don’t have enough?” question, it’s because I’m afraid. It’s an ok question to ask. I’m not saying that we can’t be real and honest with our spouses.

But when we ask the question another way, it can meet the test of love.

What are we going to do to change this situation? What is the truth that is today? What is the truth that is tomorrow? What can we let go of? These questions spark ideas, not doubts. They put us together, not on opposing sides.

I know one of my biggest struggles as a wife is trying not to toe that line that is me versus him. We are one flesh. We only get so many days to do this life right and if we want to do it together, we have to be on the same side; looking to each other for protection, trust, hope and perseverance.

Are my “what ifs” going to bring anyone joy? 

This happens a little too often at my house, “Why won’t you listen to me?” “Why won’t you stop crying?” “If you would just do it this way, you wouldn’t be so confused, frustrated, etc.?”

These are my will getting in the way of helping the people I love to grow. I don’t always want to take the time to figure out what’s wrong with the man cub. I don’t want to have to go stand over the big girl as she tells me she doesn’t know how to clean the living room.

When I start the “why game” with the hubby on a Tuesday morning, we’re in for a rough start. The “why game” is really a disguise for “what if” or insecurity popping it’s ugly head of out the shower. He gets frustrated because I brought up my insecurity as a personal attack on him. I get frustrated because he’s not listening like I want him to.

But when I speak from a place of joy, life is a little better. Maybe not easier, but my attitude sets a better tone for the day or the moment. I can’t activate joy unless I seek it out. I have to prepare my mind with prayer and seeking God’s way through His word.

When I neglect this step in my day, the insecurity comes out ready to feast on my sweet family. It wants to destroy the happiness that graces my children’s faces when they see me for the first time in the morning. It wants to rush through the day’s to-do list with a vigor that has no time for distraction.

My joy is my decision and I can’t love without it. I’m not capable because my soul needs food just as often as those tiny tummies that follow me around all day asking for a snack.

I hope this glimpse into the realm of “what if” helps you. What do you do with your negative “what if” moments?

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