The Land of “What if’s”

Lately I’ve been on a journey. It’s not the type of journey you want to bring your kids along, as a matter of fact, it’s a journey I wish I wasn’t on. I find myself here more and more often these days as life keeps pushing me out of my cozy little comfort zone into hardships and the unknown. I’m having to deal with things like “middle age,” new aches and pains, insomnia and other things that you can probably relate to, but might make your face red if I mentioned them. I woke up one morning this week to a brand new pain and said, “What is that?” My husband gently reminded me that this is how it will be for us now, we aren’t getting any younger after all.

You never know what you will wake up to from day to day.

And, you know what? The thought of that scares the fire out of me, as my granny used to say. (Yes, I had a granny and a Me Maw too, I even had a Nee Nee, it’s a southern thing.) Not knowing what comes next makes me want to flee and that’s exactly how I got started on this journey I was talking about earlier; my journey into the land of “what if’s.”

This is not a place I would encourage any of you to visit, although many of you already have, it’s scary here and dark too.   If I don’t like it here, then why am staying, you wonder? Good question.   I have no idea. I don’t mean too, it just seems like when I start to leave, that scares me too.

I mean “what if” I get lost or something bad happens on my way out?

As much as I don’t like this place, sadly, I’ve become comfortable here. It’s the strangest thing. It’s like I’m standing out on the bow of a ship that is set on a course I am not privy to and I keep squinting into the fog hoping to see what comes next, but I can’t, it’s hidden. I don’t quit trying though, because if I quit trying that would make me feel even more out of control than I already do standing out here on the front of this boat headed to who knows where. When I’m trying at least I feel like I’m doing something, and something feels better than nothing. And did I mention it feels dark and scary here, here in this land of “what if’s?”

It seems somehow I’ve begun to find comfort in my fear.

How is that even possible? Fear is so UNcomfortable. I avoid scary things like the plague.

Why would I want to stay in a place that terrifies me? That question kept me up last night. I have no definitive answer, but what I think I’m understanding in my spirit is that not being afraid scares me even more than being afraid. It’s like I’m trying to use my fear as a protection around my heart to what might come next, I sure don’t want to be taken off guard, that’s seems even worse.

I don’t want to be like the lady in “The Sound of Music” dancing and frolicking through the beautiful fields on the top of a mountain singing happily not realizing that she would be afraid for her life in the very near future.   I mean, how could she be dancing ignoring what might come next for her? It seems so crazy and uncertain not to batten down the hatches and get ready for what might be over the next mountain top.

Life is too uncertain not to be constantly be on guard, right?

And that is exactly where I’ve been, on guard. Constantly looking and watching, trying to mentally prepare for bad things that are sure to be coming my way any minute. Except you know what, all this “preparing” it isn’t helping how I feel. It has brought me no peace. As a matter of fact, it’s opened my eyes to a part of me I’d rather leave hidden, buried in the depths of my soul for no one to see.

My need to control.

Ouch.

This has been a tough one for me to swallow. I don’t like to think of myself as a control freak, I try so hard to be kind and look out for others. I pray hard and ask God to have control each day and then I get up and scratch and climb my way back to the bow of the boat and start my daily vigil.

Lately, I’ve been so miserable on my “watch” that I’ve been crying out to the Lord to help me to see what is wrong, why I am so afraid of what comes next. I’ve talked to my husband about it and when I revealed to him in tears and with broken pride that I think I might be a control freak, he said, “I know you are, you’ve struggled with that for a while.” I was shocked, and a little pious as I spun on my heels and walked away.

Wow, it’s that obvious to everyone except me.

Until now.

the-land-of-what-ifs-2-11-30-2016

I discovered that control drives the winds in the land of “what if’s.” More specifically, my attempt to control my environment has blown me right into this place. And every day I get up and set sail again.   Onward in my misery, but too afraid to give it up, or to head below deck and get some rest. I wonder what I think will happen if I am not out watching for all the people in my little world each day, would it all fall apart and crumble if I just sat back and enjoyed the ride? What have I ever really done to change what comes next anyway? Craning my neck to hopefully see the future has only left me with a stiff neck, nothing more.

All of my efforts have changed nothing, oh, I take that back, it has changed something.

My heart.

It feels so tired and afraid and so tired of being afraid.

So today I made a deal with myself.

I am giving myself the rest of the week off.   I am not going to get up early and sit upon my perch ready to strain into the uncertainty of the unknown. No, I am going to allow myself to dance and frolic just for a bit and see what comes of it.   I am not sure exactly how I will get out of this land of “what if’s,” but I know it will start with stepping off the bow and making the small decision to trust in the life giving winds of the Lord to blow me in the right direction.

This will not come easy for me.

I know it will be a day by day process, but I am so ready to leave this place. Uncertainty is a fact of life, there is no getting around it, we just have to sail through it and pray hard all the while.

Oh, and no worries, my husband was quickly forgiven for speaking the obvious truth to me. I value those around me who speak truth into my life, even when it’s hard. But, that’s another blog for another day.

Happy sailing or frolicking today, I hope you find peace in knowing our Lord is on the bow of the boat AND in the winds that push it along.

He is a sure guide.

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Psalm 4:8

2 comments

  1. Lisa Nowling · November 30, 2016

    You are not alone on the bow of that ship. Speaking it out loud is great therapy, for you and for others. As the years fly by, and I constantly wonder how today went by even faster than yesterday, I know that I am not alone in the world of “What if’s?”. Thank you for your candor and your inspirational words. Keep it up “old” friend ;).

    Psalms 55:6 I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.”

    In Him,
    LIsa Nowling

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandi Meadows Carlson · November 30, 2016

      Thank you, Lisa. Wow, it is good to hear from you and your words of encouragement are falling fresh on my heart. It brings me such joy to share the journey of life with others. Thank you for you sweet comment.

      Like

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