I suffered from going into the past to worry about a future that never came about.
However, I did stop worrying about the past-future-what-ifs and I’d like to share with you how to do it, in case you find yourself needing to know.
1. Stop imagining.
My kids tell a joke, disguised as a riddle, which begins: Imagine you are in a car rolling backward down a hill toward a lake. The troubles and frustrations described in the joke continue to the point of desperation. There is seemingly no way to survive being drowned in that lake when the question comes: What should you do? Once the victim of this joke tries every possible solution to this seeming riddle and then gives up, the joker gives the answer: STOP IMAGINING! At that point it is very funny.
If you tell it right, the relief in the air is almost palpable at that moment, because the listener latches on to the story because we all have imaginings like this from time to time.
You may have imagined worries, but you can have that palpable relief, too.
In real life.
Imagination is a wonderful tool, in its place—but stop imagining.
2. Take every thought captive and make it obey the truth.
Realize there is something or someone trying to take away your sanity and you need to fight to get it back. Tell yourself the truth, aloud, if needed.
Ah, but what is truth? How can anyone ever possibly know what might have happened?
Don’t go there!
Take that thought captive!
Here is the truth: You are not in control. You do your best with what you are in control of, and then other forces are in control of all the rest. You try hard to be in the right place, doing the right thing, at the right time, and then, you let go.
The truth is that God is in control and you are not God. He rules the world. He determines. Not you. Not me. Not any malfunctioning gearbox, not any tornado, not any burglar, not any hormone, not any doctor, not any police.
We read the stories all the time of those who escaped harm while doing the wrong thing. People hide from tornados in flimsy shelters and the whole building blows away except for the flimsy shelter. We read, also, of a tornado that swoops out of nowhere to pick up only one person and passes on to do no more damage. Burglars flee when someone rolls over in bed; other burglars take everything. Careless women have healthy babies; careful women deliver stillborn babies. And on it goes.
The truth is partly in the timing. When God determines it is time, then it is time. We all want to escape all danger, harm, shame, etc., but after doing all we can do, then the ball is in God’s court, and when it comes to THAT ballgame, God wins.
Of course, the fatalist will say, “Then why try?”
We must try hard to stay alive and to keep others alive, if at all possible, because life is a precious gift from God and we are to use it to His glory. We are not to become fatalistic or desponding, but to trust Him to make the best possible outcome from our entire life. We are to cooperate with Him, but not to worry about if He knows what on earth He is doing.
True freedom from worry over past-future-what-ifs came for me — and I hope, for you — with these thoughts:
- My baby did not die that day. (It took me a while to get that part.)
- Therefore, it was not God’s will for my baby to die that day.
- Therefore, it was impossible that he could have died that day.
There could have been NO what-ifs that could have changed that. Since then I have even met a family whose son was run over, with no lasting harm coming to him. It’s all about Who is in control.
And it’s not about you or me.
The glorious liberty that comes from the truth, can set us free from all fear of death and all guilt.
We should do our best and trust God. He can and will take care of the what-ifs.
This is truth.
I pray you can apply it to your life.