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What Happens When “What If” and “Reality” Pair Up?

By April 13, 2016May 28th, 2019No Comments

What if

  • Today was the day I got everything done on my list
  • I could go to the grocery store without having to worry about the amount I spent
  • My children always behaved the way I want them to behave
  • I was debt free
  • I could work wherever and whenever I wanted
  • Cancer was cured—forever
  • My husband and I agreed on everything
  • My hair looked great every day
  • I was articulate in all situations
  • I was the ideal weight for my height
  • My house stayed clean because I cleaned it regularly
  • I could remember everything I studied
  • I didn’t struggle with any addictions
  • The world was safe for everyone
  • I didn’t procrastinate
  • There was no more war—anywhere
  • I never lost my temper
  • My time management attempts worked
  • Promises were kept instead of excuses made
  • Forgiveness was easy

What. If.

Do you ever hear these two simple words come flying out of your mouth?

Do you spend time thinking about them?

Does it get you anywhere?

Several years ago, while playing the “what if” game, a very dear friend of mine challenged me. You see my “what if” game was fraught with comparison and discontentment with the current status of something in my world.

The “what if” game led me down the path to “my ideal world” state.

Which then led me down the path to “I’ll create my own perfect world” world

where “you” don’t belong.

Because “you” irritated me.
“You” hurt me.
“You” didn’t understand me.
“You” didn’t treat me like I thought I should be treated.

My friend saw very clearly where I was headed and put a huge boulder in the way.


But let’s say “reality” and “what if” paired up.

Beth Moore, in her Bible study, Believing God, talked about taking “what if” to it’s extreme. What would happen if we pushed our “what ifs” to the furthest logical end? Beth’s contention is that many of our “what ifs” are tied to fear. But, when we thoughtfully follow each what if with a real answer, we have the ability to tackle that fear, wrestle it to the ground, and bring reality back into focus. Because, the reality is, for those who claim to know God and walk with Him, there is nothing that can happen to us that separates us from Him. Nothing is greater than God.

Let’s look at the original “what if” list and see how “reality” might change it up. What if I:

  • Make shorter to-do lists
  • Plan my meals to fit my budget
  • Accept my children’s mistakes because I make so many
  • Exercise self-control so I can pay down my debt as fast as possible
  • Be thankful for the work I have
  • Accept that there will always be some sort of disease in this life
  • Love my husband no matter what and work through our disagreements
  • Be thankful I have hair
  • Practice thinking before I speak
  • Moderate my eating. I have a choice
  • Be more concerned about healthiness instead of obsessive cleanliness
  • Study more and learn all I can
  • Be honest about my addictions so I can break their hold
  • Make my small corner of the world a safe zone for all who enter it
  • Understand my strengths and weaknesses
  • Pray for peace
  • Deal with my anger before I want to explode
  • Realize it’s not so much time management as realistic expectations of what I can accomplish
  • Keep my promises no matter what
  • Forgive quickly because I want to be forgiven

The next time you start down the “what if” path try this simple exercise. Follow your “what if” to its furthest extreme. Layer “reality” over your “what if” and see what happens. See if you can make “what if” a strength exercise instead of a comparison one.

Life is good in this beautiful, imperfect, messy, inspiring, difficult, engaging, uplifting, painful, tremendous world we call home.

With each other.

Extra-ordinarily imperfect you and me.

How do you stop the “what if” spin cycle and turn it around? Leave a comment below.

Capture the extra-ordinary in the ordinary today,


  • Kirsten D Samuel

    I empower Christian wives to discover they are seen, loved, and heard. These women find the freedom to be who they are beyond their partner’s struggles, and find hope that there is a life worth living.