Have you noticed that most of the questions we ask ourselves are ones where we wouldn't really want to know the answer? Our questions are our fears, played out in our minds; it is our fears that answer us, only begging more questions.
For example, "What if?"
It is a question I have asked myself countless times, particularly over the past nine years, after an unexpected event literally shook my foundation. As time has gone by, it has become the question and the fear in and of itself. That is, I have no longer been dominated by the questions that started me asking in the first place, but I have found myself unable to let go of the questions themselves because at some point, those questions became habit. A checklist. An everyday thing that I had to always account for. Like getting ready to leave. Do I have my keys? Purse? Cell phone? Questions?
Once we start asking, it's so hard to get away from them.
And I have found that my what-ifs have been more devastating than any potential reality. My what-ifs have been more destructive than any so-now-whats that could have come if my what-ifs had ever come true. I had become paralyzed by the mere suggestion that there was an idea that something could go wrong that I have failed to even truly consider what would happen if such things did actually go wrong.
Not that it matters, because in the grips of what-ifs, I wasn't going to try them anyway.
That is the dirty little secret of the question. You spend all your time worrying about what might happen, so much so that you give up thinking altogether that you might ever actually risk for such a thing to happen.
Our what-ifs, at least mine, are so negative. They are centered around the bad things that could happen. What if this? What if that? The humiliating, destroying, deadly repercussions swirl around in our minds like a bad nightmare, though our eyes seem fully open. It's like we have a sixth sense of all the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad things that are on the horizon. And the mere possibility of them, knowing that they are even possible (despite probability), makes us feel like we have inside knowledge. Like we are somehow wise. Like if we would heed our own advice, we would really dodge a bullet.
It's evil. The way our twisted questions give us tortured answers and torment our hearts into doing nothing...and then convince us that nothing was precisely the right decision to make. We feel smart about doing nothing.
Then one day, we wake up and realize how long it's been since we've done anything, and there is sadness. Grief. Lament.
It happened to me. Recently. Like, in the past week or so. (Again. It seems to happen in cycles...)
God has called me to grand adventures, to good things, to incredible mercies. He's been gnawing at my heart for awhile with such things, and I'm excited. I mean, I am really excited. The problem, for far too long, has been my questions. My what-ifs. The possibilities, however real or remote, that play out in my fear-faced fantasies that keep me from doing anything and convince me that is wisdom. The thousands of questions that play out in my heart, tied to past stories, tied to former moments, blockading this very real, very awesome moment that stands before me.
And for too long, I haven't known how. How do I stop asking the questions? How do I get my heart to let go of the what-ifs and grab more fully onto the so-whats? How do I take that one bold step that is, by metaphor, leaving the house without bagging my questions? Keys....Purse...Cell phone.... No questions. No fear. No worst-case scenarios, no disaster declarations, no back-up plans, no escape routes. How do I just go...and enjoy the going and enjoy myself and enjoy my God and throw myself into the grand adventure?
Not long ago, it hit me. It's not what you might think. Stay tuned tomorrow when I will tell you what set my heart free. Maybe it's the answer to your questions....