Avoiding the “What If” Trap


A friend of mine did something last week and was amazed that she had not done it before. To paraphrase her words, “It was so simple, what kept her from just doing it some time ago?”

My suggestion was the “what if…?” trap.

We get so caught up in this kind of limited thinking and bottom line, it can paralze us from moving forward and doing what we’ve been called to do. It can stop us from simple tasks to moving forward with power and vision.

What if I lose my job?

What if Washington goes broke?

What if I fail?

What if people criticize me?

What if I break something?

What if, what if what if…? it’s a trap.

We can think ourselves into inaction or mediocrity if we let the “what if…?” trap take over our minds and hearts.

David inspires me to think differently in Psalm 27:

[What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living! Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord. (Amplified Version)

David believed. He wasn’t hopelessly caught up in the “what if…? “trap. Hopelessness is terrible and instead David chose to have a stout and enduring heart. He wasn’t giving up on his vision, He was trusting God. He was believing, not analyzing.

He didn’t look at what could happen, he chose to believe that God’s goodness would prevail in spite of all the “what ifs” that faced him. He chose to wait, hope and expect the Lord to bring all things (mistakes and victories) together for His good.


6 Responses to “Avoiding the “What If” Trap”

  1. Jim Seybert says:

    You got me – when I saw the title I thought you were going to remind me to actually DO the “what if” thing when situations arise.
    That’s one of my favorite questions – “What if we did it this way . . . ?” And there’s value in asking.
    But you make a good point from the other direction. The “what if” question can also nail my feet to the floor. I can become so worried about possible negative results that I do nothing.
    Interesting question – it can be used in more than one example.
    Sometimes we need to ask it, and other times we shouldn’t.

  2. Wayne Hastings
    The Wayne Hastings Company, LLC
    Ha, gotcha! Thats unusual when I can give you a different look. Thanks for the comments, Jim.

  3. Wayne great post! It never ceases to amaze me what is possible if we push ourselves and trust in God’s plan. “What if” we all were so trusting?

  4. Thanks for the comment. Your suggestion is exactly right.
    Wayne Hastings

  5. The one that get’s me is “What if I look stupid?” This has gotten in the way of me asking questions when I was unclear on something, and of participating in something that looks fun but that I wasn’t good at. Great article, keep’em coming!

  6. Thanks, Jeremy. I totally agree. I havent been posting as Im redesigning my site. I appreciate the encouragement.
    Sent from my iPad

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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

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