Turning “What if” into “Even if”

The start of the year is a great time to do a personality test. They’re a bit of fun if you like that sort of thing.

If so, have you ever done the Enneagram personality profile? What I like about the Enneagram is that it takes into account spiritual weaknesses and strengths for each type of personality. Of course none of us fit into a neat box because we are each the unique workmanship of God, but understanding what each personality type has a natural tendency towards really helps in understanding ourselves and others.  

For my type, I have a natural tendency towards anxiety when stressed. I start having a lot of “what if” thinking. By God’s grace I am becoming better at recognizing when this is happening, but I often feel like I take two steps forward only to take one step back in this area. Thank God for His Holy Spirit who is always available to help us in our times of weakness!

What if thinking=fear. Fear is a natural physiological reaction that is designed to alert us to danger through a freeze, fight or flight response. But when “What if” thinking creates imagined scenarios or dangers that haven’t actually occurred yet, our body will react with the same cortisol response as if that scenario or danger is actually present and happening now!

This morning I had a phone call from a friend with news that immediately created a stress response in me. My heart rate went up, my mouth went dry, and my mind started racing. It was hard to pray when I got off the phone. But pray I did. As I battled between handing it over to God (and taking it back again) I messaged two of my friends who I know I can count on to speak some encouragement…

The message came back: “Hold on Jo. God knows what He’s doing. I feel another blog coming on.” Ha ha she indeed knows me well. 😊

“What if” thinking is not bad in and of itself. After all, the world needs “what if” thinkers to balance out the personality types who are natural risk takers and “act now think later” kind of people!

“What if” becomes counter-productive when it:

– steals peace

– stifles joy

– creates a stress effect in the body

Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

It is not God’s good and perfect will for His children to be living in anxiety.

So on a practical level each time I have found myself taking back the burden today I have been praying “Even if…..”

– God still loves me

– Nothing can separate me from His love

– In all things I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me

Even if = faith! And faith pleases God.

Dear reader whatever your area of natural weakness God’s Word is your weapon and His Spirit is your Helper!

6 thoughts on “Turning “What if” into “Even if”

  1. Jo, you’ve given the worriers something to grab onto – simple but profound! Yes, there is a use for “what if?” thinking. My husband’s job was to fix problems, and that necessitated anticipating worse case scenarios. That makes him look like a pessimist to some, but he’s great at balancing out my “what, me worry?” attitude.
    Years ago when our 2-year-old son was lost (long story, but trust me, it was stressful.) I started praying out loud, and the words I heard croaking out of my dry mouth were, “Lord, no matter what happens, I will love You and trust You ..” (We found him.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ann I’m so glad to hear your story had a good ending! My husband helps balance me too …he’s at the “what, me worry?” end of the scale just like you! I often admire what I see as his superpower! Thanks for your thoughts!

      Like

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