Jacob, our son who is a few months shy of 18, works every Sunday morning helping at our portable church. Yesterday was a rainy day...it really never stopped...just rained. And in our neck of the woods, puddles begin to form immediately.
Jacob comes home after lunch and goes to bed. He sleeps for several hours and wakes up and realizes that his feet hurt. They hurt to walk on and are beginning to blister (ok we didn't actually see the blisters, but he insists they are there). He must have googled his symptoms to find out what in the world was wrong with him.
He walks into our room and says, "I think I have trench foot."
Scott replies, "You don't have trench foot."
Jacob says, "No, I think it is trench foot."
Scott asks, "Like World War I trench foot?"
Jacob smiles and replies, "Yes."
Scott reminds Jacob that trench foot happened when men spent days in wet trenches. Days, not hours. There is NO way that Jacob's sore feet is the same thing.
Jacob, ever our stubborn child, says, "I have all the symptoms. Wet feet. Sore. Blistering. Ok you can't see the blisters, but I can feel them. They are there. A few more hours in the water and my feet could have been amputated!"
Scott laughs and says again, "You do not have trench foot."
Jacob smirks and says, "Ok. It could also be wet feet."
I cannot make this stuff up if I tried. And even in the outlandish declarations of a WW1 condition, I learned a few lessons:
- Don't google symptoms. It won't work out well.
- Trying to illicit comfort or advice on a "medical" condition from your parents does not bode well if you choose the WW1 ailment as your own and try to compare your soggy-sock morning with men who served our country in actual wet, unsanitary trenches.
- Although laughing at your children isn't great parenting advice, sometimes there is no other way to react. And laughing is, after all, good medicine. I mean it won't help Jacob's "trench foot", but it is good medicine for mom and dad.
- Sometimes, we make things bigger than they actually are. Jacob's trench foot was really just sore feet from working in the rain for a few hours. No need to boil the water to sanitize our sharpest knife and create a sterile environment because an amputation isn't warranted. (Although, it would make for a fantastic Grey's Anatomy moment.)
I love stories. One of my favorite things is to sit and ask people questions. I want to know their story. I love fiction, Christian non-fiction, movies, reality television, and history. I want to know the happy parts, the pivotal moments, and the sad, heart hurts. I am intrigued by all the parts that make up the whole story.
Why would I allow my what ifs and made up scenarios to change how I experience MY story? The things that I make up in my head are not my reality, and I am exhausting all of this time, energy, and emotions as I play them out in my head.
What if Scottie lives with us forever? What will that look like for her? For us? What if we die, who will take care of Scottie? What if Scottie never learns to button her jeans? What if, as Scottie gets older, people are cruel and stare at her more? Will she notice? How will she feel? As Zoey gets older, will she be embarrassed by Scottie? What if Zoey is the rebellious child, and we are too old and tired to notice? What if the relationship between Zoey and Jacob changes when he goes to college? What if Jacob goes to college and doesn't eat? Or can't drive? What if Emma Grace leaves me for college? What if she gets her heart broken? What if she is lonely and afraid? What if I waste all of my time doing laundry instead of discipling her?
In Exodus, God told Moses to go and speak to Pharaoh because it was time for God's people to no longer be slaves. Moses played the what if game. What if they don't believe me? Who should I say sent me? What if they don't understand me or take me seriously because I am not very eloquent? What happens if Pharaoh doesn't do what I say? And for every what if, God had an answer. God always has the answer.
Ultimately, God is the I Am. And the truth is that the I Am can do all and be my all. God has a plan and I just need to walk into that plan. I don't need to what if new plans... I am told to just step into the plan God already designed for me and do life by loving God and loving others.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10
- When I begin to what if, I must stop and remember that the I Am is the one who created me and is the Author of my story.
- When I begin to what if, I must trust that the I Am knows my past, present and future; He has prepared (before now, from the beginning) my good works (my story), and I just need to walk into them.
- When I begin to what if, I must have faith that the One who knows and loves me the most has THE plan.