What if …
I read a book, take a walk, sing a song, update my status, write a book, hold my grandson, teach, or just dream of what is next? Or instead of dreaming, I begin supposing all the worst case scenarios? Have you ever done that before?
In the dreaming and supposing, I lose sight of what is right in front of me. I can list my “what ifs” all day long, but am I wishing away my life in the process?
If I live in the “what if”, I lose sight of the “what now”.
Life has become incredibly full in the last few months. Baby Jack pushed his way into the world and flipped my heart on its side. Mimi love is so sweet and one that fills my heart to overflowing. In the same space of welcoming a grandson, I am blessed to open my arms wide to receive the gift of another daughter-in-law. God is writing such a beautiful story for my son, Nicholas and soon-to-be wife, Alli. The third blessing is that my son, Daniel, wife Kayla, Baby Jack, and their dog, Belle are moving back home.
And even with each gift God provides, I find myself at times living in the “what if” forgetting that God has amazing goodness for me in the here and now. I recently spent a week, half at my son and DIL’s house and half here soaking in the present and not worrying about what’s next. There were no “what ifs” only “what now” and it was glorious.
It is a simple lesson to practice. Enjoying what is right in front of you provides the space for presence over possibilities. Taking time to soak in the gift of family time, reading a good book, writing, cooking, or whatever activity brings you joy creates contentment. Recognizing that when you wish life away with a “what if” your focus becomes scattered and your dreams are just that–dreams!
I love the call in Ephesians 5 to live our lives well.
So be very careful how you live, not being like those with no understanding, but live honorably with true wisdom, for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for his purposes. And don’t live foolishly for then you will have discernment to fully understand God’s will. Ephesians 5:15-17
The challenge to live life for God’s purpose and not my own agenda is one I pray I live out daily. My purpose looks like what I desire when I turn my eyes away from who God created me to be. He calls me to love Him and others. It is straightforward and when I accomplish this on any given day, I honor the One who chose me for this specific time and place.
A week of living in the “what now” uncovered what it looks like when I lay down my phone, focus on what is right in front of me and experience how time has a way of moving more slowly. It’s a gift like none other because presence was the only item on the agenda. God opened my eyes to seeing again how family is my everything and time well-spent produces more fruit than running around trying to tick off a “to do” list.
I wonder what it would look like for you and I to let go of the “what if” knowing that the “what now” will yield such abundance. How could we focus on God’s agenda and still do “the next right thing in love”? (Emily P. Freeman) What would it take to slow down to savor what is right in front of you?
Let’s take some time this week to answer these questions. I’m up for the challenge to enjoy presence over possibilities. This week is wedding week, but in the busyness of last minute details, all I really need to do is embrace the joy and story of restoration that is unfolding before me.If I live in the "What If", I lose sight of the "What Now". #presenceoverpossibilities #TellHisStory Click To Tweet
Let me leave you with these final words.
Instead of imagining the “what if” look for and grab the rhythm of the day.
And “Be where your feet are.” Bob Goff (from his new Dream Big Podcast)
Walk slowly, intentionally, and be where your feet are this week!
I have the pleasure of introducing you to another featured writer next week. Joan Davis writes at Hope Secure and she and I have “known” each other for a number of years. Join us next week as Joan shares her words with us.
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This speaks to my heart – because December-March – we didn’t live “What if. . .” during a challenge that, outside of God, outside of faith, begs the question, “What if. . .” – We could have – but then I don’t think we would have had the miracle results we had. We kept our focus on The One who Has the Plan, The Father who’s Got His Kids in the Palm of His Hand – and death passed over us, Mary! Today, we’re not living, “What If. . . .” – We are living He’s got this – so love the ones God gives you. . . and it’s sweeter. (I think grands fill out the empty spaces – so the nest isn’t empty, the heart is fuller – which is what happens when there’s of His to love). Thanks for sharing your sweet heart and giving us this good reminder!
This! If I live in the “what if”, I lose sight of the “what now”. Such a good message, Mary. The Lord has me learning to be present in the present. By the way, congratulations on Mimi-status. I’m a Mimi! It’s one of the best jobs on the planet!
Thank you Karen. I continue to learn what it looks like to live in the present. I also just discovered as part of my Enneagram number (I’m a two), the we tend to live more in the present. Who knew??
I love that we are both Mimis. Sure is better than anything else I know right now.
Mary – I loved your words. I struggled all day yesterday, focusing on the present task at hand. I wish I had read this yesterday. But I am now.
I have learned the beauty of living in the present moment, but I still struggle to do it.
Your words were beautiful – “God has amazing goodness for me in the here and now.” I’m writing it down and putting it up so I can see it. Plus – “If I live in the “What If,” I lose sight of the “What Now.”
I hope you hop over to Grace and Truth and link it up. I know our readers there would love it too. Maree
It is hard to live in the present. God continues to teach me what this looks like. I pray you see and feel God’s amazing goodness in the here and now. Also, I will link this post up this week if that is okay. My weekend was filled with family and my son’s wedding. Blessings!
Yes, of course, you can link up any time that works for you. I am reading your post for a second time and just love it. I have chosen to feature your post this Friday on Grace & Truth LInk- up
I actually linked up. I saw that your linkup goes Friday to Friday. Thank you for the invite.
Mary, I love this post, and your final quote, “Walk slowly, intentionally, and be where you feet are this week!” I remember teaching a study skills class using the text, “Becoming A Master Student” in which one of the strategies was for the student to “Be Here Now” if they found their minds wandering off while studying or taking notes, to gently bring themselves back to the present moment. This week I’ve also been pondering a quote from Holley Gerth last week, with questions from the fruit of the Spirit, to ask about the voices inside our heads:
Is this voice loving?
Does it lead to more joy in my life?
Does it bring me greater peace?
Is it patient with me?
Is it full of kindness?
Does it express goodness?
Does it show faithfulness?
Is it spoken with gentleness?
Does it help me have self-control?
These questions really help me to stay focused on the moment, and what God says about me. Many blessings to you, friend!
I love the connection to your study skills class. “Be here now” is a great way to remember to stay present to what is happening right now. Your questions from Holley Gerth are good ones. It sounds like the perfect way to provide parameters to those things that try to draw us away from what is most important. Many blessings to you, too.
Hi Mary, thanks for hosting! What comes to my mind as I read your post is Paul telling the Philippians how much he appreciated their financial support of him and that he has learned to be content in all things, because it is Christ who strengthens us.
“I am not saying this out of need, for I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances. I know how to live humbly, and I know how to abound. I am accustomed to any and every situation—to being filled and being hungry, to having plenty and having need. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13
What a great connection. There is such peace in knowing we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. I am so glad you joined us at Tell His Story today, Carrie! Thank you for your encouragement.
I love this encouragement to grab the rhythm of today instead of dwelling on the what-ifs, Mary. I’m so happy for the restoration in your family life, and I pray God will bless the married couple. I hope you have a wonderful wedding week rejoicing in the blessings! Love and blessings to you!
Thank you for encouraging me too. Your prayers are appreciated. I pray you are having a good week.
Mary, after that season of barrenness, I’m so glad you are experiencing the fullness of the here and now … right now! Worst-case scenarios are the worst, aren’t they? (Do you watch “This is Us”? One of the characters has a take on this that I’m thinking of right now…) When my mind wanders off in that direction, it helps to pray for God’s will, not mine. The sooner I can remember to do this, the better. I love your “final words” … that really is the only way to live!
I do watch “This is Us. You will have to fill me on on what character and take you are referring to. I appreciate your kind words. It is a gift to see where I’ve been and how far I’ve come.
Enjoying what is right in front of you provides the space for presence over possibilities. There is an entire sermon just in this one sentence! Great post. laurensparks.net
I believe I will be writing more about that line as time goes on. I always love when I see you here, Lauren. Hope you are having a good week.
Nothing better than Mimi love! I loved this: If I live in the “what if”, I lose sight of the “what now”. So good and so true. I am learning, slowly, to live in the now and allow God to take care of all of my “what ifs”.
Yes! Let’s not miss the blessings of now looking back or ahead. There is no sense in going back of getting ahead of God. We need to remember that God is with us now, He was with us then and He will be with us in the future. Thanks for the beautiful reminder. 8)
Mary, being where our feet are. I like that and it is how I hope to live the rest of my days. Enjoy Jack and your family because they really are the most important.
Just this morning my husband and I were taking a walk and talking about living in the present, which is really the best place to live. Living in “what if” causes stress and worry and often when I do, I don’t notice the beautiful in front of me.
I love knowing that you and your husband were talking about this very thing. God has a way of reminding us over and over. Thank you for being here.
Congratulations on your son’s wedding! What precious words that the Lord has spoken to you through all of these changes–to be so present with Him in every moment. I am asking Him to make those thoughts more real to me also, as He calls me into a time of quietness and rest with Him again. Blessings and joy to you this week!
Thank you and I am standing in gratitude for all God is doing in my family’s lives. I am praying for you as you seek rest and quietness. May you feel God’s beautiful peace.
Mary, there is such richness and truth in what you’ve shared. It’s a hefty dose of holy common sense for our souls. I’ve been challenged and inspired by it all, though these words are what I most need to hear: “all I really need to do is embrace the joy and story of restoration that is unfolding before me.” Yes! It really is that simple and simply hard to do sometimes, isn’t it? Thank you so much for helping us to practice “presence over possibilities” and seek to enjoy the experience. Blessings on your busy wedding week. May it bring an increased measure of joy, gratitude and hope to you and yours. xo <3
Sometimes it’s the common sense that leads us right to God. You are living out a life of restoration and it is beautiful to see. Witnessing your story through your writing is such a blessing to me. I pray you continue to see God in your story as you “be where your feet are”. Love and hugs!
I love this revelation today! (tweeted!) And it’s so funny how God always brings new ideas or confirmation at just the right times. Today in my IG stories, I talked about how God has good things exactly where we are. It’s easy to always push forward and look ahead (and He even calls us to that!) but not at the expense of recognizing the beauty where our feet are planted. Thank you!
God has an amazing way with his timing. And it’s even better when we get confirmation. There is nothing like seeing the beauty right where we are. Those are some of my favorite moments with God. Thank you for sharing how God is working in you.
Have a wonderful wedding week! We’re called over and over again to be present, aren’t we? Especially in our minds so we really see what is going on now, rather than distort the truth from projecting past hurts and future worries onto our what’s in front of us. Wonderful questions to ponder! I can beat myself up for unfinished projects and that never is valuable to the moment I’m having right now
I’m looking forward to the weekend. I am blessed to watch this new beginning unfold. Yes, we are called to be present. I have moments of doing it well, but find I can easily get lost. I hope you discover some answers while pondering the questions. Happy rest of the week.
Mary, this is a beautiful and very wise post. May we not busy ourselves with what is next and miss what is right here in front of us. May God continue to bless you and your family with much love and joy!
Thank you for your encouragement. I receive your blessings over my family and believe that God has so much more in store for all of us. I hope you find some sweet moments in the present with your granddaughters this week.
Mary, thanks for reminding us to look for the blessings right now rather than worrying about the what ifs! Blessings to you!
You’re welcome! It’s a lesson in progress for me but one that has such great rewards. Blessings!
You have had so much going on in your family, Mary! But what a sweet lesson: to let go of “what if?” and focus on “what now.” Good for me to focus on as I look forward to summer with both college kids at home.
What a gift it will be to have both of your kids home this summer? I pray you find many moments to “be where our feet are.” Thank you for being here!
I’m relishing the possibilities of a “what now” day today. As I come off the busy-ness of a full weekend and another house full of blessing and guests yesterday, I plan to spend today just reading and thinking and praying and breathing in God’s goodness. HE fills all our hollow spaces so we don’t collapse under the weight of life!
I hope your busyness over the weekend was a sweet time together for Mother’s Day. It’s nice to have days that provide down time. I love what you said about God filling our hollow spaces. Isn’t just like Him to care so lovingly for us?
Ahhh, the “What Ifs” that are thieves in the night & in daylight robberies that steel our joy & the present moments in the blessings God is sending us.
Great post Mary, congratulations on all these exciting family events!
Love having you here. I appreciate the kind words about my family events. Blessings on your week!
Mary, I so loved the encouragement to live in the “What Now?” place. I try not to be a worrier, but with things that have gone on lately, my mind has slipped into the “What If . . . ” mode at times. The only thing this does is add stress to my heart, my thoughts, my life. I love the beautiful story God is writing in your life, my friend!
The last sentence you wrote has me in tears. Thank you for seeing how God is moving in my life. Sometimes I think we need someone else to recognize something in us that we don’t see in ourselves. I pray you find peace in noticing what is happening in the moment. It’s hard, but so worth it. Love you friend!
I had to chuckle at the quote, “Be where your feet are.” So simple, yet so true. I easily get caught up in the what if’s. The only problem is that God does not give grace for our worst case imaginings so “future-tripping” is really not a productive way of spending my time. Joining with you in concentrating on what is under my nose, not on the distant horizon.
Isn’t it a great quote?? It truly says it all. I can get caught in worst case scenarios. Not a happy place to be. But I am praying for you and I that we both find comfort in the present and in the process find out we don’t need to worry about anything else. Thank you for being here and encouraging me.
Good morning, Mary. Praising and thanking Him for surrounding you with love, literally. Your son and his family moving back home must leave your soul in so much joy. This post, the “what if” vs. the “what now”. I will take it to heart and meditate on it. God has a message for me, just not sure what it is yet. Have a blessed Tuesday, Mary. Love, Julie
I have truly walked through a season of barrenness to abundance. I am still trying to process everything God is teaching me. I can’t wait to hear what God teaches you about the what it and what now! 🙂