Saturday, January 12, 2013

Calm My Anxious Heart, chapter 10

I'm still working through my series on this book. I like to savor books. If you want to review, here's what has gone before: chapter 1chapter 2chapter 3chapter 4chapter 5chapter 6chapter 7chapter 8 and chapter 9.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 
(Quite possibly my very favorite verses.) 
This chapter is about the first of two similar "spiritual diseases," What If and If Only. Do you suffer from either of these? Can you trust God with your What Ifs?

Linda Dillow actually recommends facing our What Ifs by asking ourselves what would be the very worst possible thing that could happen with them. Then continuing, "Would God still be God, would He still be Sovereign? Would He still be Love and Goodness?" (page 155). I questioned that, and Linda herself said that she wondered about it; she concluded that it was Biblical, though, based on the examples of Paul and Esther, among other things. And I agree. For myself, I would have to add not to dwell on the first part of that little monologue, though!

There is more about not dwelling on our anxieties here, too. In an earlier chapter it was "worry is like a rocking chair." This chapter calls it "playing ball with God." We don't want to toss our worries to God and then catch them back again, back and forth, back and forth. No, once we've given Him our worst What Ifs, we need to leave them with Him and trust.

Reading this chapter reminded me of a few What Ifs in my life right now. We need to move on to a new location, but we still don't know where to, and in my opinion this deciding and moving process has been taking forever. My What Ifs: What if we're still in this very same spot a year from now? What if we do move, and the next five years are no better than the past five have been? (Or if they're worse?) Amazingly, when I write it all out like that, really, it becomes so much bearable. God has been very, very faithful through the past five hard years; I know for sure that He will be with us no matter what is ahead.
Remember: Contentment comes from a proper relationship to God, not from a response to the circumstances  Our What Ifs will either drive us to God and faith or they will drive us to worry and dependance on self (pages 153-4).
Do you have some What Ifs in your life now? What do you think of Linda Dillow's recommended questions to ask ourselves? Do they help you with your current What Ifs, or have they in the past?


  1. This post on "What If"'s and "If Only"'s is a great reminder. I tend to say, "If Only" when things go wrong, and it's a way of expressing irritation over life's glitches. "If only I hadn't come down this street" when I'm in the middle of a traffic jam, for instance.
    What I want is to learn peace and contentment and a joyful spirit instead!

  2. I have quite a few what-ifs right now, and I love the advice to imagine the worst and think it all out. I see my problem in a different light that way, and it seems to take some of the power away from its ability to worry me. I totally relate to your stress over moving, and that almost debilitating limbo world you're in until something happens. Prayers for you as you go through it. Thanks for sharing these tips. :)