Tripped Up and Trapped by the What If’s
By: Chelsey DeMatteis
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” - Colossians 3:17
As I was driving down a backcountry road, I was suddenly caught off guard by where my thoughts had landed. I was right back in the year 2009, sitting in my car on a summer night on Beechwood Dr.
I can still see the drizzle of rain dancing down the windshield of my parked car and can even smell the humid June air, as if it were yesterday. And I can play out the conversation that followed with a person who consumed many years of my life as if I were having it now.
The enemy can use the past to snatch us out of living in the present (where God calls us). It’s like in one moment we’re totally invested in the hear and now and the gift that it is, only to find ourselves a few seconds later reminiscing over the “what ifs” and “what could’ve been.”
I can find myself momentarily stuck in these places or sometimes it seems to last for a season. I’ll be randomly reminded, or somehow a thought from the enemy just lands right smack in the middle of my brain and it trickles down and begins to cause discontent and confusion in my heart.
No one really likes to admit that they can get caught up in the “what if” thought patterns, because there is nothing safe and secure about them. “What if’s” can be a dangerous place, especially if they are sending you down memory lane.
This isn’t a space that we typically share with the Lord and rarely do we find ourselves inviting the Holy Spirit into these tailspins of thoughts.
Thankfully, this time, after ten minutes of sinking into my past, I remembered these things may be part of my story but they are not a part of my present life. While God has used these things to grow me, he has never asked me to go back and relive them.
In Colossians 3:17, the Lord calls us to do everything in the name of the Lord, in word and deed. This means within the walls of our hearts and minds. We have to be on guard when the “what ifs’ flood in and we need to flush them out with what we know to be true, which is God’s Word and desire for us. Love where He has you and bloom there. If you find yourself, like me, in seasons plagued with the thoughts of “what could’ve been” and “what ifs” or perhaps you randomly get swept down memory lane while driving to an old familiar place, put your mind in the hands of the one who created it. He knows the thoughts before they are words on our tongues. Ask Him to reveal the why behind what makes these memories vivid enough to steal your gaze from the present, ask Him to fill those areas with His truth and peace from His Word, and ask Him to meet you in the moments when you feel tempted to lean and listen to the thoughts that don’t come from Him.
So, let’s prayerfully move forward by asking the Lord to keep Christ at the forefront of our easily shifted minds. Let’s keep our minds fixed on the truth of who God says He is and what He calls us to. One of the best things we can do is to keep our hearts and minds focused on being in a posture of thankfulness for where He has us now.
“This is the day The Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 rings through my ears as I pray about this issue at hand. When I’m busy thanking Him for the “now” I can’t be tripped up thinking about the “then.”
When our minds and hearts rest gladly in the faithfulness of who God is, the reality of where He has us won't be snatched up by the things that try to take His peace from our lives.
You can find more from Chelsey on her website, https://www.chelseydematteis.com/.
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