What if?

He Is My Shepherd: The 23rd Psalm for Children

My daughter woke up at 5:30am this morning.

The dogs sleep in her room at night and we keep a gate up at her door to keep  them inside.  Someone let them out last night and didn’t take them back to her room.  Now she is awake and I am trying to have time with the Lord and think of what I want to say in this post while the tune of “Super Why” plays next to me.

Life is always a bit messy isn’t it?

I’ve been paging through my latest quiet time journal, looking back at things I’ve written in the past two months.  I have journals dating back to college and have always “looked back” once in awhile.  There is something I’m noticing on this trip down Memory Lane:

There are certain patterns the Enemy uses in my life to try to get me off track in my walk with God.  He pokes at my pride, my self confidence, questions my past decisions, plays with my emotions.  I could write a large number of posts about strategies the Enemy of our souls uses to get our focus off of God.  I’ll just talk about one right now.  It’s called, “What if?”.

What if?

As soon as I woke up this morning I felt a storm brewing in my mind that had a familiar echo, “What if?”.   There are very real decisions my husband and I will be making in the next couple months that will affect our immediate future.  This morning my mind was filled with questions of the “What if?” variety and  they stunk of doubt, fear and mistrust:

‘What if, after all is said and done, our plans are a big failure?”

“What if I hate  where I think God is leading us?”

“What if my kids get hurt somehow?” (imagining multiple scenarios here of the kind only a mother would come up with and think were rational)

“What if , what if, what if?!”

The Enemy tries to dress up the “What if?” technique with legitimacy.  He tries to make you think that your fears and doubts are just neccessary elements of planning and decision-making.  He helps you convince yourself that you are coming up with possible scenarios in order to make an informed decision.

in my case that thinking led to:”We are going to make this choice, nothing will go right, my kids will be miserable, my husband will be depressed, and I will come down with a mysterious illness!”  What part of that train of thought was helpful, exactly?

Those thoughts are just the Enemy’s way of getting us to disobey God’s leading at the Starting Line.  They have worked on me.   The Enemy has robbed my peace and joy at the beginning of many new journeys making me think my fears and doubts were just me being responsible. 

Sometimes You have to Take the Valley to Get the Grass

You may be thinking to yourself, “Well, Heather.  You don’t know what kind of things God has let me go through.  Things have been tough, life hasn’t been fair.  I’ve learned to be careful.  What ifs work!”

I get it, I really do.  I have a long list of things God has allowed in my life that were less than swell.  God does allow some tough stuff that at times that fuel our caution.

God is a good shepherd though.

There is a book my best friend gave me a long time ago that is on my kids’ bookshelf.  I have found it very helpful lately.  It is called “He Is My Shepherd: The 23rd Psalm for Children”.  The author gives children a way to visualize God’s care for them through the 23rd Psalm and illustrations of a shepherd and his sheep.

“Even if I walk through a very dark valley, I will not be afraid,” is a verse we are all familiar with.  To illustrate this verse there is a picture in which a group of sheep surround the shepherd.  They are walking through a shadowy, rocky valley.  The look on some of the sheep is sheer terror as they take in their surroundings.  However, the sheep walking by the side of the shepherd, looking at Him and not their surroundings, are the ones with peaceful expressions on their faces.  The book says,” A dark valley is a scary place to be.  Sheep do not want to walk through shadowy pathways and deep ravines, but they learn to overcome fear when the shepherd is by their side.  They huddle close to Him as He leads them through the valley.”

Fear, mistrust, doubt are very human feelings.  Our nature and the Enemy’s techniques lead us to ask, “What if?”  We however have the choice to give those emotions and questions an audience or turn our backs and place our focus on the Good Shepherd.  “Only He can choose the paths that lead to high mountain pastures, lush and green.  The sheep will be glad they followed His leading.”

I’m not sure where the decisions we will make will lead.  I do trust the One who will be leading us in those decisions.  Whenever I find myself looking at the valley around me, trying to see through the darkness, I will make the choice to turn my focus back on my Good Shepherd.

Keep your eyes on the Shepherd every day.  He has good plans for where He is leading you.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kathy on March 22, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Wow! Heather, that was awesome. I can relate to the fear of the unknown. That was a wonderful visual you gave to help squash the fears….Thanks.


  2. I tend to look at everything around me and become afraid. It is definitely an act of self control not to do it. Glad it was an encouraging post 🙂


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