While meeting with my spiritual director, she suggested I consider the question, “What if?”
In January, I taught a writers workshop and included the question “What if?” as a fear tactic artists sometimes use to procrastinate.
But in this instance, I was to think about the “What If?” question as a possible direction – even a vision-making steppingstone. So I drove home, pulled out my journal and starting listing the possibilities of some What If answers.
What if my newest novel makes the New York Times bestseller list? What difference will that make in my life and will I be able to handle the extra book tours, publicity requirements and the pressure to write another bestseller and then another?
What if I could sell my house for a profit? What kind of home do I want to replace it? Where?
What if I could become a full-time writer and writing coach? How would that change my life?
If I think long enough on the subject, I can entangle myself in all the possibilities and questions my “What Ifs” might involve.
When we dig deep, some of our visions and dreams may carry their own baggage. Change is not easy, and the transitions of life require us to change along with them.
Another point my spiritual director made was that I should “listen to my heart.”
We are often so busy and so overwhelmed by the stresses of life, we don’t stop to listen within – to dig deep and consider what our souls are saying to us.
This is one reason why I journal almost every day. I need to process what I am thinking about and tap into my inner conflict for clues about how to address life.
I also need to listen for that still, small voice that ushers me into the divine space. When I tiptoe into that soul sanctuary, I learn more about myself but also become more teachable for eternal guidance. God wants me to make wise choices and since he is my husband and maker, then I need to listen to what he is telling me.
What does my heart tell me?
My heart longs to return to the Southwest – to find a writers retreat in the Santa Fe or Taos area where I can spend long hours inventing sentences and paragraphs. So many ideas for new books swirl in my soul. The artist in me yearns to bring them to life.
My heart breaks for the unwritten books, the stories waiting to connect with their characters and the voices longing to be heard. I feel an urgency to write while I can, to share the wisdom and experience God has gifted me with through the years.
What if that could happen? What if I could find that place to write until the well is dry and everything has been completed? Is that possible?
My heart also whispers warnings of the aging process and urges me to do what I can while I can – that life is fragile and someone is waiting in the great meandering cyberspace to read the words God wants me to scribe.
My heart beats with a restless tone, eager to authenticate itself and complete the mission God birthed in me before the foundation of the world.
As I dig deeper, another question surfaces. I stop breathing as I consider the implications of what its answers might entail.
Almost afraid to add it to my journal page, I force the pen to scratch the question across the page.
What am I avoiding?
We often avoid doing something that might require change, because we’re afraid of what that transition might ask of us. We may avoid a major decision, because it includes a move, a new job, the uprooting of our comfort zones.
Yet in the avoidance, we are living in the “discomfort” zone. We are stressing our souls to the point of losing ourselves.
We are avoiding what our hearts may truly long for, because we are so blasted practical and cannot imagine any other type of experience.
My journal now has several pages of personal reflection around these three questions:
- What if?
- What is my heart telling me?
- What am I avoiding?
And I do not believe I am finished yet.
As I continue to dig deeper, to search for the root of my hope, I look forward to the time when these questions will find their connecting answers.
I hang on to the promise in Psalm 34:4, “I sought the Lord and He answered me. He delivered me from all my fears.”
Still searching. Still waiting. Still digging.
©2016 RJ Thesman – Author of the Reverend G books http://amzn.to/1rXlCyh
A stirring post as similar ‘what ifs’ linger for my responses.
Thanks, Jerry. Excited for your book launch !
Oh my – what a great post – it touched me deeply as I ask those questions of myself and admire people who take the leap. One lifetime and fear keeps me safe as a wannabe.
“become more teachable for eternal guidance” what great words – the only hope for answering the what if bravely. Sometimes my toes hang over the edge of the cliff,my knees bend and I’m ready to go for it, but then I talk myself back to less than I want. Success is even scarier than failure or not trying.
Pilgrims together on the same road – so many of us traveling alike. My prayers for you as yours are for mine. Blessings, Evie.
Then I turn on the TV instead of reading or writing.
We do so often choose the easy road instead of the one that wrenches us deeply. But when we do read and write, we eventually find joy in the process. Hang in there. Do some writing today !
Blessed be the name of the Lord!