If you know me personally, you know I am a book lady—as in I actually sell books: children’s books. I do love to read, but that passion has fallen by the wayside and my reading habits usually look like a short article on social media here and there or a chapter a week (if that) in a book...because....kids. But children’s books—I can read TONS of those in a day and never get bored. A kid’s book can move me to tears more than a book for my own age.
One of my favorite books is Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster by Michelle Nelson-Schmidt. (The soft fuzzy weird-looking monster plush isn’t half bad either.) In the story, a little boy wants to conquer his fears and worries, such as playing baseball, making a friend, so on and so forth. But that tiny green monster is placed in his head whispering doubts.
What if you lose?
What if you’re last?
What if you’re slow and never get fast?
But in the end, that little bit of courage rises up inside him, and he decides to take that leap. He decides to make that friend. And he tells the worry monster to shove it (in kid language of course).
I started thinking, we (aka Satan) place What Ifs in our mind All. Day. Long.
What if I don’t get that raise we desperately need?
What if my kids turn out less than perfect? (Spoiler alert--they will)
What if I’M not perfect? (Spoiler alert numero dos--you aren’t)
What if I always feel lonely?
What if….what if this is all there is?
What if, what if, what if-you fill in the blank.
It’s exhausting, isn’t it? It’s defeating. It’s not the life we are supposed to live.
In the age of social media, we allow comparison to feed our minds, our eyes, our faces all day long.
“Wow, she looks adorable-clothes AND makeup!”
“Look at her kitchen-oh so clean and shiny.”
“Man, she really has her life together. She would never want to be my friend”
Then comes the doubt. The degrading. The worry.
“Gosh I can’t even get dressed before the kids attack me in the morning.”
“I’ll never have a clean house.”
“Why can’t I just get. myself. together?”
And in the world of coaching it may sound like this:
“Missed another game! Horrible wife here!” *raises hand*
“Look at those cute goody bags she made for those athletes. They must feel so loved.”
“What am I doing wrong? I don’t fit in.”
“Made the husband feel bad again for not being home with us…”
“Why can’t I just get. myself. together?”
Then, we get to the end of the day and what do we have to show? Nothing. Maybe some moments where we were less than civil to our children because negativity was consuming our thoughts. Maybe the same messy kitchen. Maybe even a clean kitchen but a filthy attitude. Maybe this is just me and I’m a horrible human being. But I don’t think I am alone.
This has to stop! I’m preaching to the choir here, believe me. But the message remains. Stop the doubts. Stop the lies. Stop letting those What Ifs get you down. Rebuke those doubts with the truth of Jesus.
You are not alone.
So do not fear, for I am with you. (Isaiah 41:10)
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)
Life is meant to be lived joyfully, not in despair!
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)
You are valuable.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14)
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7)
Jesus is everything you need and more.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Well, Paul said this one but you get the point.) (Philippians 4:19)
Ladies, print these truths out. Hang them on your mirror. Memorize scripture. When we are focused on ourselves, when we are delighting in our pity party (queen of that right here), when we are doubting our influence in our families and our careers (or husband’s career)—we are letting Satan win. We are NOT out there encouraging others. We are NOT spreading the gospel. We are NOT fostering relationships for His glory. We are NOT living abundantly.
What if we walked around with confidence, not arrogance, but confidence-in Christ?
What if we greeted our husbands with excitement instead of resentment?
What if we were grateful for the quality of time we have, not quantity?
What if we used that extra “lonely” time to pour into the people--the players--around us?
What if we served instead of wallowed in sadness?
What if we let God use us instead of letting Satan abuse us?
Now those are the What Ifs I want to be chasing. That is a life worth living.