Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Weathering the "What-ifs"


Matthew 6:25-27
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.)

Amen!

~



I have been discussing with fellow Christian bloggers, Jason StasyszenSarah 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.
God bless!

20 comments:

  1. Those what-ifs - we often let our fears immobilize us. We need to remember those birds in the air - and those lilies in the field. (And we need another Racer story.)

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    1. Yes, Glynn, we sure do need to think about how God cares so deeply for each of us, and we can turn all our what-ifs over to Him.
      Another Racer story? Maybe in a year or two? Waiting for God to move.
      Love and blessings!

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  2. This is so awesome and relevant to me today. To paraphrase his Holiness Dalia Lama. If u can fix something, there is no need to worry. If u cannot, worry is of no use.... I love ur stories of th old ones!

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    1. I love the quote from the Dalai Lama, Julie. So true!
      Glad the story resonated with you today. Worry is just a waste of time and energy, better used for something positive.
      Love and blessings!

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  3. That verse has often been a comfort to me over the years, Martha. To know we are even more valuable than the birds of the air is so special, isn't it? Those what-ifs can be so strong sometimes. Thank you for the reminder to use our imaginations "in a sanctified way to draw close to Jesus." Have a Blessed Christmas!

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    1. I've always taken comfort in that verse, too, Trudy.
      I'd like to say I have those nasty what-ifs under control myself, but I do have my lapses from time to time. Thank goodness I'm learning more and more to hand everything over to the Lord.
      Love and blessings!

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  4. Some stats say that about 90% of what we fear never happens.

    Oh the time and energy and peace we've forfeited along the way ...

    I love how you encourage us to focus on encountering God instead, Martha. Oh how our lives would change.

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    1. I've heard that stat, too, Linda. And yes, what a complete waste of our time, energy, and all the positive things we could be thinking about.
      So glad this post spoke to your heart today.
      Love and blessings!

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  5. Martha, It can be so very easy to worry, yet I know that it's futile--sapping me of energy, time, and more. I'm so thankful that no matter what God is in control.

    Love and blessings!

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    1. God is in control, dear Kim. Our what-ifs? He already sees and remedies. What joy we can have it that knowledge!
      Love and blessings!

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  6. "How could you use your imagination to encounter God instead?" love this wisdom and a nugget of truth to hold onto. What if's can be great but can also lead to overthinking - something I get caught in. This is a good reminder for me, thanks.

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    1. Yes, Jean, I loved Christa's admonition to choose to encounter God instead of our fears and our forebodings. Could there be a better choice? I hardly think so!
      Overthink is too over-rated!
      Love and blessings!

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  7. Oh, I laughed about this one. I am a recovering fretter. A friend and I once sat down and just randomly started listing all our what if's. By the end of it, we were laughing so hard about the absurdity and futility of everything on our list. I mean really, some of them were just so far fetched.

    I am now a rare fretter. When I catch myself in the what if trap, I'm quicker to recognize it and redirect my thoughts, returning to my basic assurance that all is well.

    By the way, my nephew's two teen children spent last weekend with me while their parents flew back east to meet their first grandchild, born the day after Thanksgiving. While the kids were with me, I gave the 13 year old your trilogy to keep him entertained. He really enjoyed it!

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    1. Oh, Galen, how you made my heart soar that you shared my books with your nephew's child! I only want the love of God to shine through what I have written, and bless those who take my words to heart in their God-given imaginations.
      The "What-ifs" are a constant bother and a pain for those of us who wish to live in a God centered realm. He is in charge, fully, and will take care of all our cares, real or imagined.
      Love and blessings!
      And I'm so glad you laughed!

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  8. But, what if???? Hmmm, that is something to think about. Do I do that? Sometimes I do...especially when faced with tough decisions or changes in life...but God is always out there in front of my "what ifs" ...already preparing the way and taking the fear out of the what ifs. Thank you for this thought provoking post today.

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    1. Oh, yes, Pamela, those "what-ifs" are right there to meet and greet, as familiar as a Pastor's Coffee Meet-up for new church members. But we are blessed to know that He goes before, preparing the path, that we might simply step out in faith.
      Love and blessings!

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  9. Hi Martha! I am the queen of 'what if's?' and I'm sure it makes the Lord crazy. It sure makes me crazy! It's not a good habit of thought, and I love the idea of using my imagination to look to Jesus instead of my fears. Why not? My imagination was given by God, I'm sure he'd love to see me use that gift to imagine him, especially to imagine him taking care of my what-if's!
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Oh, yes, Ceil, turning your imagination over to God will certainly quell the "what-ifs." They can be such a distraction for us if we let them run away with our thoughts.
      And I don't know that it makes the Lord crazy, but I feel sure He wants you to bring all of those concerns to Him.
      Love and blessings!

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  10. So very true. Our imagination is a powerful tool and we have to keep it submitted to our Father. Otherwise our faith shifts from His promises to our negative "what if's" and we get ourselves in trouble. Great reminder, Martha! Thank you.

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    1. Yes, our imagination is a powerful tool - it's our choice as to how we use it: for the negative, or for God's glory.
      Thanks, Jason!
      Love and blessings!

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