” What if? ” is the single greatest question to cause inaction in mankind. More people have robbed their self of a dream, and very likely their destiny, due to the what if’s in life. They dream up an idea, start to plan on implementing that idea then start asking the million and one ” what if ” questions and talk their self right out of the dream. They get so bogged down on the bad ” what if’s ” that they completely lose sight of the good ” what if’s “.
Some examples of this are switching jobs and start with ” what if I get let go on the probationary period? “. What if they determine you are better suited for another position that pays better?
A person plans on switching careers and wonders ” what if I don’t do well enough to make it? “. What if your success is beyond your imagination?
Someone is contemplating marriage again but gets lost in ” what if this marriage fails too ? “. What if this time around the marriage is exactly as you dreamed it would be?
When making changes, whether it’s growing a business, purchasing new technology, moving, changing careers, any change at all you sit down and do a pro & con list. You do a formal or informal risk v. reward study. You project profit & loss potential then determine to move or not move. At times the risk so out ways the reward it makes sense not to move. Other times it’s even or greater potential for reward and it doesn’t make sense not to move. This is where so many get bogged down and can’t see past the risk.
Every successful person and business has made moves that were failures. They didn’t get where they are without failing somewhere. Many went bankrupt at least once. Henry Ford bet everything on something everyone told him was ludicrous and would fail. Despite this he knew he could and he did, eventually after failing numerous times and losing almost everything in the process he was successful. We remember his success, not his failing.
For some people the decision is a spiritual nature. You know in your spirit you are to do something but you get bogged down in the what if it fails? What if I’m wrong? What if no one comes? What if I can’t do it? Israel had this dilemma when they sent spies to the promised land. Of the group that came back only two said they could do what God told them to do. The rest were frozen with the ” what if we can’t ? “. That turned into we can’t and the ” we can’t ” turned into missing their promised destiny.
This makes me think of all the times we had to contemplate these questions. I look back at it and see what we would have missed if we let those questions immobilize us into inaction. The cost of inaction would have been much greater than the cost of action was. As a matter of fact the rewards have been great in their own right.
When I was about seven months out from discharge I was a bit stressed. The thought of civilian life was pretty daunting. I didn’t know if I would be able to adjust or make enough money to survive. At five months out I had to make a decision and decided to get out. I knew we would get married and I determined in my head that somehow I would make it work.
When we first got involved in inner city ministry there were a lot of ” what if ” and many of those questions had pretty unattractive answers. When we got involved with another inner city ministry at the same time we were involved with the first others thought we were crazy and had plenty of ” what if’s “. Some of those were what if you get attacked? What if you get mugged? What if the car gets stolen? What if someone kills you? Our response was, what’s the worse thing that could happen? We would go see Jesus. For us the question was ” what if we don’t go? “. What if no one tells those kids they are worth something? What if we don’t go and no one loves them for who they are? What if we stay home and no one speaks life into them? What if we don’t and miss God’s next step for us? The cost was greater to not go then it was to go.
When we reconciled our marriage the what if questions were there as well. What if things fail to work out? What if I imagined God’s promise ( although if you talk & listen to Him you will know His voice. )? What if the kids refused to accept her? What if my refusing to be obedient not only robbed me of the blessings of a very good marriage, but it robbed the kids of an intact family and denied them the opportunity to see God fulfill a promise He made to them. Again, the cost of doing nothing was far greater than the cost of moving forward and taking the risk.
When we moved to Texas the lingering question in the back of my mind was ” what if we’re wrong ?”, ” what if we can’t make it and are forced to move back ?” among others. Then it came time to step into a busier time of ministry and the questions persisted, ” what if we fail ?”, ” what if etc….. ?”. When it came time to make a career move, again the what if you don’t do well came up. When we moved to the Hispanic church people planted the ” what if ? ” seeds of doubt over that decision.
What the ” what if’s ? ” that we worry about are nothing more than seeds of doubt being sowed in your mind. If the enemy and other people can hold you back to their level of mediocrity they will. Ignore them and live a full life. Make those big decisions with boldness. Take those risks that others think your crazy for. By sitting back and letting the questions of doubt rob you of moving forward you will relegate your life to a series of mediocre, non life altering and not impacting anyone or anything. Refuse to settle for being a footnote in a family tree. Be someone others are willing to follow. You never know whose life you will change by taking the risk.