If a frog had wings……… Author unknown
Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today. James Dean
Many are addicted to “if” thinking. They escape reality and venture into the past or future. Some spend too much time replaying the past; “if things had turned out differently”. They may have lost a loved one, their career or had some other tragedy. Mentally replaying outcomes can become unhealthy to us. We cannot change what has happened. Replaying past events and dwelling there can lead to mental illness. Getting caught up in future possibilities can be also be damaging. “If” can cause problems or it can be used to help us achieve better results.
The past is very valuable for learning and gaining wisdom. The hardships of life are part of life. It is important to learn from them and move on. Instead of getting stuck on replay, we need to push “play” and go forward.
If we seek to become the best we can become, we should focus on present adventures and opportunities. Using “if” as a decision tool can be beneficial when we are evaluating different alternatives and looking for the best choice. “If” becomes a mental flow chart. If I do “this” then that will happen, but if I do it differently, something else will happen. By thinking through and evaluating various possibilities, we can eliminate the ones that are not as desirable. We can reduce our choices down to a few or even one. Using “if” in this manner can be decisive and strategic. It becomes a crystal ball that helps us see various outcomes. When playing chess the objective is to think ahead several moves and consider all possible outcomes. “If” thinking is useful for contingencies or back up plans. “If things turn out worse than expected, what will I do if things fall apart?” It can help us plan ahead. “If” thinking helps to prepare us for multiple possible outcomes. They goal is to be as prepared as possible.
We can go off on a tangent and get trapped in the “if” world. We can get stuck thinking through various possibilities and end up doing nothing; “if I win the lottery”, “if I get this new job” and on and on and on.
We must live in the present, make our best possible decisions, learn from experiences and always continue to move forward. It is not good to escape or avoid reality. “If” thinking should be for good and healthy purposes.
Challenge: Listen to how others use “if”. Listen to someone “overdoing” it. Listen to how you use it. Alert yourself when you find “if” becoming an escape from reality. Avoid living in the past and beating yourself up for bad choices or mistakes. Use “if” as a planning tool to make better choices and to improve the future. Opportunities and experiences wait. “If” you start making better decisions, you will have more success in life.
Wisdom: “If”, causes us to consider possible outcomes. If we evaluate other possibilities before making a decision, this is good. If we use “if” to live in the past, it is harmful and undesirable. Randall Burkhalter
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of daylight shining ever brighter till the full light of day. Proverbs 4:18
When life is over, and if we are given the opportunity to replay it from the start until the finish; we will have regrets; “if we had done such and such differently”. We will have remorse as to how we could have things better. Whether or life is a failure or a wonderful success, we will able to understand things from a different perspective. By allowing God to help us in our decision making, we can make better decisions starting now.
Prayer: Help me to overcome insecurity, doubts, fears and worry by putting my trust and hope in you.