Hello friends! I’m so excited to talk to you today about “What ifs”. But I’ve also got a really exciting thing I’m going to be offering in the new year, so stick around to the end to hear more about it. I think it’ll be so helpful for so many people - and I can’t wait to help more people!
Okay, so welcome to episode number 61 - What if…
I don’t think I know a single person who hasn’t - at one point or another - run a thousand scenarios through their brain about something they were concerned about, or something they perceived as a problem.
Oh my gosh, I remember pretty much getting paralyzed by what ifs.
After Brian died, I really beat myself up with What ifs. And these were What ifs looking back.
What if I would have done something different?
What if I could have helped him?
What if I had just stayed home that day? Or gotten home earlier.
And then I started “What if”-ing my current circumstances.
What if I don’t fertilize or water may grass enough, and it dies? Then I have to replace it. Which could be really expensive.
What if the stock market crashes again and I lose a ton of money? Then I don’t have enough for retirement or for medical expenses If I need them? What if I get really sick? Who’s going to take care of me?
What if I’m alone for the rest of my life? Or what if I decide to start dating and no one finds me attractive?
What if I run out of gas, or blow a tire, or get in an accident; who’s going to come help me?
What if I die too early? Or what if I live too long?
What if I can’t make enough money to cover all my bills? Then I have to sell my house, and my car, and everything else I own, and I’m destitute and have to live on the street?
Do you see how “What ifs” can get so out of hand and can make us spiral down pretty quickly?
Just when you start entertaining one What if, it allows your brain to start “What if”-ing everything. Everything becomes a “What if”.
My son and daughter-in-law were moving to live full-time in Japan. What if I only get to see them every few years? And what if they have children in Japan and my grandbabies won’t even know who I am?
What if I never get to travel again? Or go to the restaurants I love?
What if the appliances break and I have to replace them?
What if I apply for a job and I don’t get it?
What if I invest some money into a new career opportunity and it’s a flop and I’m a failure - and I’ve wasted money?
What if. ”What if” everything.
“What if”-ing everything keep us from living fully. It’ll make us want to run and hide, quit or not start something new at all. It’ll keep us back and keep us small.
It also puts you in a state of overwhelm and confusion, which keeps you from being able to attend to an actual problem that needs solving.
This “What if” is so destructive and rooted in worry. But it’s worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet. And we tend to overthink and worry about things that may not ever happen. But we’re going to worry about it nonetheless.
Mark Twain said, “Worrying is like paying a debt you do not owe.”
Newt, the main character in the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them said about worry: “My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.”
Jesus said, in Mark 6, “Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Worry is spoken of in 17 verses in the New Testament.
Probably because our Heavenly Father knows we are prone to worry and “What if” ourselves into an early grave.
But I want to offer another “What if” that’s actually helpful.
What if everything is going exactly as it’s supposed to?
What if you are being guided in a direction that is where you should be, doing the exact thing you should be doing?
And what if you know exactly how you should do it?
And what if what's right in front of you turns out to be better than you could’ve ever imagine?
What if the very thing that frightens you to death is actually the thing that is designed to keep you living?
What if God's greatest will and desire for you is just one step of faith away?
Let me tell you why this particular “What if” is so powerful. When our brains get used to a certain pattern of messaging, it creates neural ruts and believes this messaging to be the only way of thinking. The brain just like patterns and predictability and wants to continue doing (or thinking) the same way all the time. But if the messaging is negative and leads us to worry, anxiety, and panic, and an inability to move forward and live our lives in freedom, then we need a way to interrupt this pattern.
And it is the most amazing news to hear that we are totally able to do this. We are completely able to interrupt the patterns of negative thinking. And the easiest way is to offer the brain a “What if” prompt. Now remember, the brain likes to solve problems, to come up with solutions. Once you introduce another alternate way of thinking, the brain does a little shift, out of that deep, negative, neural rut, and creates a new pathway with the new thoughts and resolutions. Just by providing an option for the brain to consider sets it off on a course to find the answers. It then opens up more and more creative solutions; ones that are positive and helpful, ones that serve you well.
So, here are a few “What if” examples that are helpful:
What if the hard things I go through are actually the mercy of God, allowing me to know Him more intimately and experience Him more personally than I otherwise could?
What if what I think is the worst scenario ever is actually the better thing; something that my mind truly couldn’t ever comprehend?
What if the sufferings I face are laying up for me a heavy weight of glory in the life to come?
What if everything is going as it’s supposed to? In the way it’s supposed to; in the timing that it’s supposed to.
What if I actually can handle the changes and transitions and challenges?
What if I’m very much equipped to face and do what I’ve been called to?
What if I am blessed beyond measure regardless of the things that I have or don’t have, or the things I get to experience, or not?
What if my life is more beautiful today than it ever has been?
What if it’s possible to truly live another beautiful life after brokenness?
These new types of “What if” are setting my mind off on a course of discovery that can only bring back positive thoughts and new neural pathways that dispels worry. Because there’s such an element of curiosity that leads to anticipation here, it makes the brain get super creative to offer new ways of thinking; helpful ways. And since we know that the thoughts we think are what are actually creating the way we experience our life, we know that these new, helpful thoughts will create the life we love. One that is not riddled by ruminating on the past, full of regrets, or overcome by fear of future unknowns. It’s a mind of settled resolve and calm submission to the possibilities of a well-orchestrated, well-guided life. There is hope here, friend. And it’s a simple hack to the brain to interrupt past negative patterns of thinking to create new ones.
Friend, what kind of “What ifs” are you speaking? You may not be saying them out loud, but you know they’re there. You know how I know? Again, because the Bible talks so much about worry. “Do not worry about your life. Your Heavenly Father knows what you need. Seek Him first. Seek His ways and His will. And all the things that you need will be given to you, as well.” Matthew 6, verses 31 through 33.
If you’re becoming aware of the many ways you put yourself in paralyzing overwhelm by “What if”-ing your life, then try that little brain hack by offering your brain a new project to work on; getting busy finding positive solutions and providing new, constructive thoughts and ideas that propel you forward, not keep you stuck. God has made our brains to intricately wonderful, we just need to learn how to make them work for us, not against us. And we can! You can! And maybe that’s your first question: What if I know exactly how to take care of this problem that’s before me? And what if my life turns out to be better than I could’ve ever imagined?
Hey, I’m excited to share something with you! Beginning in January of this next year, 2022, I’m going to open up a group coaching membership that will allow me to help more people/ help you get free from debilitating anxiety, help you deal with difficult people, and relationships, and problems in life; help you feel confident in your skin; find your purpose and uniqueness. The problem you’re dealing with, friend, doesn’t matter. When you bring your faith in God to life coaching, your healing is a given. God wants you healed. He’s given me some tools to help you find your way. And I want to see you free, my friend!
I’ve put a link in the show notes to a page that will give you more information about this new, group coaching membership. This is a perfect way to experience Life Coaching in a supportive community of like-minded, Christian women. But you’ll want to sign up quick! And that is because in this Beta group, pricing is going to be ridiculously low! And I’m only taking 10 participants in this membership. So, get over there and reserve your spot.
Also, I’ve added a link to my calendar to book at quick 30-minute chat if you have any questions or interest in becoming a one-on-one client. Or you can visit my website tricizody.com and send me an email there.
Have a wonderful week, friends! See you next Wednesday for the next episode of Another Beautiful Life podcast.