Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I’m dumb in school?
Whatif they’ve closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there’s poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don’t grow taller?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won’t bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don’t grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!
It’s completely normal to worry and wonder but if we are not in control we give worry the keys to our mind and it will quickly lock us up in the cage of anxiety, fear, and depression. Too many times in my life I have found myself not acting, not speaking, not doing, because I fear the “What if.”
When what if’s crowd your mind it can be paralyzing. These are just some of the thoughts and anxieties that race through my head on a daily basis:
What if people don’t like me? What if no one reads my blog? What if my family thinks it’s pretentious? What if my friends talk about me behind my back? What if I fail at The Camp? What if I gain all the weight back? What if I fail at my job? What if I win The Lottery?
Ok…That last one would be just fine.
Sometimes when I get caught up in the What If’s I feel like I am looking back at myself silently screaming “Wake up! Speak up! This isn’t who you are! This isn’t the life God called you to!” I know I’m a child of God and I know that according to Jeremiah 29:11 God has a plan for me. A good plan! For a future and a hope! So what am I so scared of? What are you so scared of?
God didn’t call us to a “What If” life, on the contrary God wants us to live EVEN IF.
One of my favorite Bible heroines is Esther. She chose an EVEN IF life and saved the Jews from being destroyed. If you don’t know her story, I encourage you to read it!
At the time, Haman (Horrible Haman — that’s how I remember him) has an awful plan to persecute and kill the all of the Jews. Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, asks Queen Esther to go to King Xerxes to plead for mercy for her people.
Here’s Esther’s what if: Esther knows that the king has one law concerning any person who approaches him without being summoned. That person would be put to death unless the king extended his scepter to them and spared their lives. Esther hadn’t been called upon in 30 days. (Esther 4:11)
So Esther’s great dilemma is: WHAT IF I AM PUT TO DEATH? (If this doesn’t put our own what ifs into major perspective…)
Mordecai tells her, “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14)
I love this little nugget of Even If living. He says, Even if you don’t try and help God is going to deliver us anyway. I love that faith! Mordecai knows Esther should speak up but he knows that even if she doesn’t God has his back.
I believe that it was Mordecai’s faith that motivated Esther to turn her What If to an Even If. She says “I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And [even] if I must die, I must die.” (Esther 4:16) What a woman! Because of her willingness to be guided by the reward rather than the risk, she saves a nation of people.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
In Daniel Chapter 3, King Nebuchadnezzar, egomaniac that he was, built a gold statue, 90 feet tall and 9 feet wide and declared that everyone, regardless of race, nation, or language, would have to bow down and worship his statue or else be thrown into a fiery furnace. [Oh. Okay. Sure.] And barbarically enough, almost everyone was ok with this. Almost.
Three young men, who I like to think of as super rebellious teenagers, said No thanks, King Nebby! Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to serve King Nebuchadnezzar’s gods and would not worship his statue. When the king found out, he was outraged that anyone would dare defy him so he summons them and says in Daniel 3:14-15, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?” [Toxic masculinity ruins the party again.]
And do you know what they retorted? (It was definitely a retort.) They said, “Oh Nebby!” They didn’t really call him Nebby but I like to imagine that they did just to get under his skin, so we’ll call that the Heatherina Bible (HB). See what I did there? Anyway, they said, “Oh Nebby! [with a big eye roll] We don’t need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty.“(Daniel 3:16-17)
And this is the best part: “But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (Daniel 3:18)
They were living, doing, going for it, risking it EVEN IF! This is so awesome to me! These three guys were so persuaded of the power of God and His promises. This is how God wants us to live our lives.
God can rescue me from whatever situation I’m facing… but EVEN IF He doesn’t, I will not bow down.
The Proof is in the Pudding
Maybe you’re thinking, how do you know how God wants us to live, Heather? Maybe God wants us to stay in our comfort zones and be safe and not get harmed or hurt or scratched or scathed.
Well, for one, God doesn’t call us to our comfort zones! We would never accomplish anything for the kingdom if we lived that way.
Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
2nd Timothy 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
And there are countless examples of people living Even If lives throughout the Bible. I could write about so many more but I’ll just list a few.
- Look at Noah… What if there isn’t a flood? There hasn’t been rain in a while. What if people laugh at me and call me a fool? ⇒ EVEN IF a flood doesn’t come, I will still be obedient. EVEN IF they laugh, I am honoring God’s will. (Genesis 6)
- The woman with the issue of blood… What if I touch his garment and nothing happens? ⇒ EVEN IF I have this doubt, I’m going to reach out in faith. (Luke 8:43-48)
- Abram… What if I leave everything behind and it ends up being a big mistake? ⇒ EVEN IF it doesn’t work out I will do as God instructs because he is faithful. (Genesis 12)
- Peter… What if I just sink into this ocean? ⇒ EVEN IF I sink I’m going to try it anyway, Jesus is calling me. (Matthew 14:22-33)
- Abraham… What if God doesn’t provide a sacrifice and I lose my son? ⇒ EVEN IF He doesn’t, I will be obedient. (Genesis 22)
I believe that God wants us to walk by faith and not by sight. No matter the circumstances, we should find comfort knowing that He is faithful to fulfill His promises. I watched a video of TD Jakes one afternoon and he said, “Even if Heaven wasn’t promised to me. If there were no life after this life. Having Christ in my life right now. Right now.” And he goes on to talk about all that God has helped him through all the peril and darkness that came to attack that God kept out of his life. This is how I want to live my life. Regardless of the what ifs. And if we truly examine our own what ifs we see how small our risks really are but great is the reward. I’m not talking about living recklessly and just acting on whatever whim crosses our mind. I’m talking about walking and acting in faith.
What if I don’t get that job? What if she leaves me? What if my friends desert me? What if I fail?
Even if all these things happen, God is still God and I am still his child.