How we say these two words means everything. They are either anticipation or fear. They are an open door or a dead-end. They are what we may become or what we never do. What if can be a possibility greater than we ever expected, or it can become if only.
I balance between these two what ifs. I am a practical and rational thinker. Therefore, when an idea is brought forth, my mind immediately runs through what needs to be done, problems that will come up, and an assessment of whether I should move forward. Sometimes I conclude the what if is not a good idea (or the right time for the idea). For example, I did not get on a plane and go to the border these last weeks. Although I did call my Congresspeople, write emails, attend a vigil and protest, and donate funds to those who are on the border advocating for those claiming asylum.
But I do not come up with worst case scenarios and then ruminate on them. I apply my practical and rational mind to what couldbe the worst thing to happen, and often realize it’s not very likely. And I let it go.
My what ifs tend toward the why not. Sure it might not work out, and I could fail. But what if I don’t? What if I don’t get this chance again? What if it is more than what I can picture in my head? What if I actually get out of the boat and try to walk towards Jesus?What if I actually get out of the boat and try to walk towards Jesus? Click To Tweet
Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. – Matthew 14:28-29 (NRSV)
Granted, Peter saw the storm and began to sink. But I don’t think Peter ever said, “If only I hadn’t gotten out of the boat.” I think the other disciples look back and said, “What if I had?”
Sometimes I’ll sink – but sometimes, I’ll actually make it to Jesus. Regardless, Jesus will be right there with me. Worst case scenario, I’ll get wet and maybe feel a little foolish in the moment, but I’ll never say, “If only I had.”
It’s Five Minute Friday: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.” You can find more posts on this week’s word here.
This week, I published my first book:
Prayers for the People: Scripturally Based Prayers for Worship
I hope you consider checking it out!
9 Thoughts to “if”
What “iffing” tends to cause paralysis. A certain amount shows responsibility and maturity. Too much, and nothing gets done.
You’re right. It’s a balance.
“An open door or a dead end.” WOW… I have never thought about it like that. I read that line again and again.
interesting reflection on the word for this week. I like your reflection on the two what ifs
Oh there are never-ending lessons to learn from Peter! His getting out of the boat is one of my favorites!!
I identify quite a bit with the Peter of the Gospels (I haven’t preached a sermon yet that converts 3,000). He has amazing moments of clarity even as he stumbles in his faithfulness.
So true- what if’s can focus on either the potential pitfalls or the possibilities! Our thoughts went on similar lines with the prompt today. Visiting from FMF #6.