- What if I lose my job and can’t pay the bills?
- What if my husband dies and leaves me a widow?
- What if the doctor discovers it’s cancer?
- What if there’s a military draft and my son or daughter is sent overseas?
- What if I fail?
What if _________? You fill in the blank.
What do you worry about? What makes you anxious? What are your what ifs?
In his book Catholic Matters, Richard John Neuhaus writes, “To be obsessed with what ifs is to remain captive to fear.” Neuhaus was referring specifically to the what ifs he faced before deciding to become Catholic. But his comment is applicable to life in general.
My friend Tina shared a blog post about “future tripping.” Basically it’s about taking trips in our minds to the future–trips that make us anxious, trips that play on our fears and steal our peace. It’s a good post. I recommend reading it.
The Nehaus quote and that post got me to thinking about my own what ifs.
- What if God doesn’t grant me the desire of my heart and give me more children?
- What if Scott changes jobs and it means leaving behind family, friends and our parish family we’re growing closer to each week?
- What if something terrible happens to my girls?
- What if ________? I have more. Some that are so silly that I don’t even want to share.
What do you fear? What are the what ifs that hold you captive? How are others held captive by your fears and what ifs?
Scripture tells us that “perfect love casts out fear.” It would seem that fear is incompatible with love. Of course there are some circumstances that warrant a healthy fear or respect for safety. And we should always exercise wisdom. But I think many of our what if fears don’t warrant the worry, thought and control we try to have over our circumstances. No, if I say I love God then I must trust in His perfect love for me and trust that he has my best intersts at heart. I must surrender my what ifs.
“But what if I surrender and he lets my worst fear happen?”
Yep, He wants me to surrender that what if too.
I must remember that in God’s economy perfect love really does cast out fear and surrender brings true freedom. I can surrender my what ifs, rest in his perfect love and walk in true freedom. Or I can remain captive to my what ifs and my fears. It’s my choice. It’s your choice too.