The What Ifs of Life: Positive or Negative?

In fiction, asking “What if?” can create dozens of plot possibilities. But in real life, can asking “What if?” steal your joy or bring you peace? 

A Different Story

What if–whoops–you let that question dictate your every thought, action, and belief? That’s a different story.

I’ve asked my share of “What ifs”: “What if I can’t meet this deadline? (writing) “What if they don’t laugh at my jokes?” (speaking) “What if my two-year-old still acts like this as a teenager?” (parenting)

Does Fear Dictate Your Life?

Seriously, have any of these “what ifs” ever invaded your heart?

  • What if I lose my job and can’t pay my bills?
  • What if my spouse leaves me for someone else?
  • What if I get cancer or some other terminal illness?
  • What if America is attacked again?
  • What if a fire or tornado destroys our home?
  • What if my teenager turns to drugs?
  • What if___________ (you fill in the blank)?

If so, you’re probably among friends. Could those things happen? Absolutely. But letting those “what if” fears dictate your life can steal your joy and destroy your peace of mind.

Can Peace Rule Your Heart?

On the other hand, asking (and believing) these “what ifs” could bring the opposite effect: security, trust, peace.

  • What if God’s promises are true?
  • What if even in my worst circumstances, God could give me peace?
  • What if God really is faithful?
  • What if I could trust God for everything?
  • What if God really does love me unconditionally?
  • What if my fear of the unknown (worry) could focus instead on the known (“fear” of God, strong reliance on Him)?

Psalm 107 underlines this positive perspective:

“Blessed are those who fear the Lord… They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear” (Psalm 107:1, 7-8, NIV).

Which “What Ifs” Would You Choose? Yes, we’ll face our own “what ifs” in life, both positive and negative. Which set of questions would you rather choose? Which beliefs do you want to rule your heart?

Want some more fear busters? Try Philippians 4:6-7, Colossians 3:15 .

What About You?

How many “what ifs” have you asked in life? Are they helpful or destructive? Please share in the comments below.

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2 Responses to “The What Ifs of Life: Positive or Negative?”

  1. mae on July 23rd, 2014 6:23 pm

    Ive struggled with the “what if’s” for a long time. I remember a period of time when I was so stuck on what if i die, who will raise my kids that i actually wrote a letter to whoever on how to take care of them. I have since ripped that letter up and asked God to take that thought out of my mind. I also recently have been dealing with anxiety and I was wiped out for about 2 months. I had all kinds of irrational fears and crazy what if’s but I used that as a wake up call and started working on my relationship with Jesus and I cant tell you how far i have came since then. Its amazing. I dont feel 100% like myself yet but i know that will come. All thanks and praise goes to him!

  2. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on July 24th, 2014 9:29 am

    Mae, thanks for sharing your encouraging testimony. We are all a work in progress!

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