6f72d9c1bb2806053f0ef0b54f998344“What if?” My brain scrambles a thousand answers to that question like an army scrambles  soldiers to respond to an attack. Every. Single. Time. It goes through my head. Which happens: often.

  • “What if, the cancer doesn’t die?”
  • “What if, I never really become a writer- because I don’t really TRY?”
  • “What if I try, and fail?”
  • “What if, life really is like a giant round of American Idol, and I’m one of the “joke” contestants?”
  • “What if God is really a cosmic version Simon Cowel?”
  • “What if my family ends up more like a reality TV show family-than Maybury?”
  • “What if the roof leaks because of all this snow?”
  • “What if the pipes freeze?”
  • “What if- I do become a writer and then get crazy in pursuit of best sellers and numbers and lose sight of communicating truth?”
  • “What if I stay fat, even if I do exercise?”
  • What if exercising hurts me again?”
  • What if- I don’t think through all the what if’s- and I miss something?

The truth is….”What if’s” mess me up- every single day. When I look at my list of most common “what if’s” I see a theme- the theme is: risk with a side of OCD. My brain is a risk assessment manager gone cray-cray.

Often, my brain “what if’s” me to paralysis. I end up doing: nothing. (Well- nothing but Facebook and knitting and maybe laundry.) Because I can’t figure out how to mitigate (actually- I want to: eliminate) all the risks.

The risk of rejection. The risk of failure. The risk of vulnerability. The risk of humiliation. The risk of NOT getting what I want. The risk of crappy things happening. The risk of getting what I want. The risk of not being enough- the risk of being “too much.”

“What if’s” aren’t the real problem. Fear of risk- is the problem.

It always has been. I think it started in junior high- I ran for the position on Student council that no one else ran for….(Recording Secretary- Which means I took notes. Which is awesome- and ironic-because I still can’t read my handwriting, neither can anyone else.) Running un-opposed= no risk. Guess what? I won. Shocking. I know.

From then on- I’ve chosen (for the most part) to run unopposed.

Today I’m asking new “What if’s”-

  • “What if the cancer doesn’t die- and God does amazing things in our lives in spite of it?”
  • What if I try to be a “real writer” learn a lot, grow and change in the process- even if I never “get a book deal?” (My brain insists- real writer= book deal.)
  • “What if I do try?”
  • “What if I fail spectacularly and it makes a difference?”
  • “What if, life is nothing like American Idol??”
  • “What if God loves real Simon Cowel- but thinks he’s a jerk to people- and would never act like that?” (Which- I’m pretty sure is true. Except for maybe the jerk part. Maybe.)
  • “What if my family ends up more like a real family than Maybury?”
  • “What if the roof leaks and hilarity of multi-bucket drippage ensues?”
  • “What if the pipes freeze?” (Got no upside to that one…. sorry. That would just suck- but we’d survive.)
  • “What if- I do become a writer and  take the risks of communicating truth and it: matters?”
  • “What if I stay fat, even if I do exercise? I’ll still be healthier. In theory.”
  • What if exercising hurts me again? I’ll learn my limits and adjust, or have the next part- repaired and thus move closer to actually becoming my alter -ego the bionic woman?.”

What if- I don’t think through all the what ifs- and I miss something? Well- I suppose God will be God- and I (still) won’t be. Pretty much. Which is what I think my “what if” struggle boils down to. Trying to be god. Trying to be omniscient. Trying to be omni-potentet. Trying to be and know everything- so I always do the right thing…..and things always turn out the way I want…

What if God has so much more for me- than just the things I want, and want to accomplish? What if my “What if’s ” became “More than’s?”

 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:16-21

I don’t know- what would happen- but, I’m willing to try and find out. Let’s face it- “what if’s”  aren’t’ working for me.

Dear Lord- I love you- Help me to move into this new year- with confidence to take risks- regardless of the outcome. Help me to stop THINKING and start DOING. I may not like all that you have planned for me…. But I’m willing to go along for the ride. Because I love you, Lord. Help me to abide in you- even here. Turn my what if’s into More than’s ….…..Amen.