Today in the car, my boys reached WAY down into the bottom of the "What If?" barrel while discussing the possibility of a basketball going into the lake while playing in the neighbor's driveway.
They decided that a regular shot or pass would NOT result in the ball going in the lake, but "What if...?"
By the time they were done discussing different scenarios, the ball situation involved:
A chainsaw wielding maniac
An Alternative Dimension
And Micah getting impaled by a basketball (but that wouldn't involve the ball going in the lake, so I'm not sure how THAT got included).
The "what if" barrel, in the right hands, can be a powerfully awesome thing.
Clay and I were recently discussing my Grace College long-sleeved t-shirt that has gone missing. I think I left it in a hotel room in Las Vegas. I LOVED that t-shirt...and I miss it.
To make me feel better, Clay began a conversation about its destiny.
What if... a hotel maid picked it up and took it home.
And WHAT IF after wearing such a comfortable, cute shirt, she decides she wants to know where this Grace College can be found. (Maybe she can buy another awesome t-shirt!)
What if...she reads about the college, is impressed by the campus and sends her daughter there to attend school?
WHAT IF...she experiences Christ in new and powerful ways through fellow students, meaningful classes and professors who inspire her?
What if...she dedicates her life to God and her family sees the changes in her attitude, her outlook and her goals in life? WHAT IF this changing power they see in their daughter causes the ENTIRE family to dedicate THEIR lives to following Christ and loving others?
And WHAT IF the changed family impacts the whole community...which changes their city...which changes the entire state of Nevada? (We didn't discuss the repercussions of a "Christianized" Las Vegas on the economy - that wouldn't have been nearly as cheerful.)
You get the picture. We have a lot of fun with the "what if" barrel. It is a healthy tool for our family.
Caution: There is a dark side to the "what if" barrel if you don't have a firm belief that God has a plan for our lives. It can be overwhelming to look in the barrel if you do not have hope and faith in a future where things WILL work out for good.
Now if you do have that kind of faith, the dark-side of the what if barrel can even have it's benefits...
My friend, Kelly, likes to use the pessimistic side of the "what if" barrel in an optimistic way. She plays out the worst case scenario...what does THAT look like? Can we survive it? Can we thrive in it? Can good come out of it?
I like to call this the "SO WHAT if" barrel.
So what, if...you lose your job.
So what, if...your lost jobs causes you to lose your house.
So what if... your husband runs off to live with a rich woman because of your poor situation?
What are YOU called to do? How are YOU called to live? Do you BELIEVE God is bigger?
If the answer is YES, this "so what if" barrel can have a calming effect. Looking at the worst case scenario and letting it go, giving it to God and TRUSTING Him...can provide peace.
The barrel needs to ALWAYS be used in conjunction with a healthy perspective...and when it is, it can be a powerfully BEAUTIFUL (or powerfully humorous) thing.