Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The "What If?" Game

One of the more tempting, albeit dangerous, games that my mind likes to play from time to time is the "What If?" game. You know how it goes: you begin looking back on past circumstances and relationships and wonder how things might have turned out differently.

What if I hadn't entered that relationship? What if I hadn't ended it? What if I'd moved there? What if I'd taken that job? What if I'd taken that risk? What if I'd been more careful? What if I'd spoken up? What if I'd kept my mouth shut?

Considering how much I tend to analyze (and re-analyze) my decisions, playing the "What If?" game is not necessarily a healthy thing for me to do. The fact is, no amount of second-guessing can change the past. It's all too easy to look back on the past with 20/20 hindsight and see clearly the land mines we could have avoided. But there's no changing what we've done.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't ever look back; in fact, we can learn a lot from our past and make changes to help keep from making the same mistakes again. Recognizing patterns of unhealthy behaviors and relationships has helped me work toward changing those patterns.

Continually dwelling on the past and contemplating what might have been not only keeps us from moving forward, but it also keeps us from seeing how God is able to redeem our past mistakes and sins. Nothing that we've done can thwart His plans for us. Nothing we've done has caught Him off guard. He is sovereign in ALL things.

I wish I could say that I'm not still tempted at times to play the "What If?" game. I'm trying to be more aware of when my mind starts thinking that way, reminding myself that I can't change the past but God can use my past for my good and for His glory.


Donna G said...

Sometimes having an analytical mind can wreck havoc with your brain and your contentment. That is where my "Scarlet O'Hara" mind comes in and takes over for me.....

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Todd Stepp

todd stepp
e: todd.stepp@bookschristian.com
p: 615.497.9808
aim: mctoddstepp