Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
The majority of the "what-if" scenarios that we allow to roll through our brains never come close to happening, but these imagined scenes are so powerful, they end up dictating our responses and actions and ruining our present moments with unnecessary emotions. ~Christa Black Gifford, Heart Made Whole
Are you a worry-wort? When stressful challenges present themselves, are you more prone to imagine a whole bunch of negative "what-ifs" instead of calming your imagination, and turning to God for guidance?
In my novels, Davy's mother, Kate, struggles with being able to let go and let God, especially when it comes to allowing her children out of her sight. Although we certainly see her making progress, with husband, Jim's, help throughout the book series, her son, Davy, has caught the "bug." When he perceives his beloved Old Ones could be in jeopardy due to the untoward public appearance of Racer, True Squirrel of the Old Ones, twice in one week, Davy can't help but let his imagination run rampant with those detrimental "what-ifs."
Here is what transpires when Davy's sister, Anna, and Racer get tossed into the Nantahala River while rafting, and Jim, once again, makes a positive intervention.
When Anna finally stopped crying, Jim gave her a smile and a loving tug on her sopping wet braid. "You've had quite the adventure today, Miss Priss. We're all so proud of the way you stayed calm through it all."
"That was because of Racer," Anna said softly. "I could see and hear him. He told me not to be afraid."
"Anna," Davy said with a most serious look on his face, "you're not the only one who saw and heard Racer. Everyone did."
"Everyone?" she asked in alarm. "I know Pastor Mike and Miss Abby saw him, but I thought that was because Racer chose to be seen."
Davy shook his head sadly. "Remember what Racer said about becoming visible when he gets wet, Anna? It looks like my worst fear came true today."
"Cheer up, Davy," Mike said encouragingly. "Good ol' Racer made a successful escape. And what an absolute pleasure it was to see him again."
"And to meet him for the first time," Abby chimed in. "What a thrill!"
"I'm glad you two could see him," Davy said sincerely. "It's the other people who were there who worry me. The ones I saw taking photos."
"But we took photos of Racer just the other day," Anna said, "and he didn't show up in any of them."
"That's because he was invisible to everybody but me," Davy told her. "What if he can be seen in these photos? What if someone puts their pictures of Racer on the internet?"
Jim took Davy gently by the shoulders. "Look at me," he said comfortingly. "If I saw a photo of a giant squirrel showing up on the internet, you know what my first reaction would be?"
"No, what?" Davy asked.
"It's been photo-shopped," Jim answered, "pure and simple. So let's not allow our 'what-ifs' to run away with us right now, okay, son?"
What Jim does here for his stepson, Davy, echoes what Christa Black Gifford states in Chapter Eight, Your Heart-Brain Connection, in Heart Made Whole: "If all of us are already using our imaginations every day, many times to envision negative things, shouldn't we learn how to use them in a sanctified way to draw close to Jesus?"
While a vivid imagination is a potent gift, especially for writers and artists, it is not without fault when it fails to stop and rest in the very source of that imagination. Gifford challenges us with this question: "How could you use your imagination to encounter God instead?"
Such wonderful advice for weathering all of life's "what-ifs!"
(I hope Davy and Kate are listening.)
I have been discussing with fellow Christian bloggers, Jason Stasyszen, Sarah Salter and Glynn Young, Christa Black Gifford's book, Heart Made Whole. Next Wednesday will be our last installments. I do hope you will visit their blogs and see for yourself the uniqueness each author brings to the table.