What if. Two words, so many possibilities.
For much of my life, I think I’ve used these two words as a cautionary reminder, to prevent me from taking too many chances.
What if…I make a fool of myself?
What if…I fail?
What if…they don’t like me?
What if…I get hurt?
What if…I hurt someone else?
What if…what if…what if…
Last year sometime, I decided I was tired of letting the what ifs in life hold me back. Here are just a few that I flipped on their ends.
What if I send my book out and no one likes it?
This is a very real fear for all writers, especially starting out. And here’s the thing. There is A LOT of rejection in the world of publishing. I was rejected. Again and again. It took four novels written and three queried before I got my yes. But if I’d let the what ifs get to me, prevent me from even trying, I wouldn’t be where I am. I wouldn’t know half of the awesome people I know. “I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.” – Sylvia Plath
What if I get involved in a new church and it turns out just like my past?
This was a tough one. I have written about some of the struggles I’ve had in past churches. Each time I opened up, started to trust, it seemed like the rug was pulled out from under me. Despite that, I took a leap and not only started attending worship regularly again, but got involved in the church. So far, so good. I’ve met some amazing people, and my faith is a bigger part of my life than it’s been in a long time.
What if I buy a house and meet someone?
This seems like kind of a silly one, but it’s something that held me back for a while. I didn’t want to make a commitment to be a homeowner when my future seemed uncertain. How did I know I would stay here? What if I met the man of my dreams and we wanted to buy a house together? Buying this house has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. If I have to relocate or Prince Charming finally shows up with my glass slipper, I can deal with it when it happens. Until then, I am so delighted I took the plunge.
What if I’m never ready?
Ready for what? Anything. Ever get that feeling like you’re just playing at being an adult? Like…all the time? This one has kept me from many things in the past. I almost didn’t apply to be a supervisor, which is a job I love now. I have stepped outside of myself and my insecurities, taking charge of things I never would have in the past, standing up for myself in ways I never though possible.
What if I’m alone forever?
This one I’m still working on. I love the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. At the beginning of the movie, when she first moves to Italy, she talks about how she wants a wedding at her house, and children. Near the end, her friend points out to her that she got those things, just not in the way she expected. She hosted a wedding for a young couple she helped be together, and her best friend came and lived with her and had a baby. Why does this matter? Because in order to conquer this what if, I need to change the way I expect things to look in my life. Find the ways that God has answered my prayers in unique ways. And I am always able to find those examples, if only I take the time to look.
Eventually the what ifs can turn to statements of hope.
What if…the meeting goes really well?
What if…the chance I took pays off?
What if…they don’t reject me?
What if…Prince Charming is real?
What if…my dreams can come true?
What if…what if…what if…
What what ifs are holding you back? How can you flip them into something magical?