Two not particularly big words.
Six letters from our alphabet.
Yet I believe they are incredibly powerful words. Words that can shape how we live our lives from day to day.
The Looking Back “What If”
One of my biggest fears is getting to the end of life and looking back at the years I had and having some kind of regret. The words I imagine I’d say at that point, were I to have any kind of regret, would be “what if?”
What if I’d have quit that job sooner?
What if I’d have spent more time in mission work?
What if I’d have lost those 30 pounds?
What if I’d have cared less about what people thought about me and did what I felt like I should have more often?
What if I’d have been a better friend to ____________?
What if I’d have take more “chances” in relating to others?
What if I’d have traveled more?
What if I’d have invented a flying machine?
The Looking Forward “What If”
All of those reasons above are why I personally believe it is important to be asking this question from another angle. Instead of waiting to ask it as a “retrospective” kind of thing, why not let it inform decisions that I can still make? Why not ask “what if,” about my future.
What if I’d quit my job? – Note, I just started a new job and am quite happy about where I’m at, this is in no way related to my current situation. 🙂
What if I’d spend more time in mission work?
What if I’d lose those 30 pounds?
What if I’d care less about what people think about me and do what I feel like I should more often?
What if I’d be a better friend to ____________?
What if I’d take more “chances” in relating to others?
What if I’d travel more?
What if I’d invent a flying machine?
I Guess it Comes Down to Purpose
If you boil this all down and keep it simmering for a few minutes I think it is fair to wrap up both of the previous sections by talking about purpose.
There are numerous books written about purpose, life goals and the existential “where are you going” kinds of questions. I don’t claim to have a corner on the market when it comes to understanding living a life of purpose… I do however know that it is important to live life on purpose.
A life without a purpose is like an arrow without a target. Or an airplane in the air with no destination airport.
The Biggest What If
I read a book a number of years ago, Safely Home by Randy Alcorn. Beyond being a fascinating book, there is one very important question that the main character asks himself.
What if today is the day I die?
I don’t mean to be morbid, and we shouldn’t live life focused on death, but doesn’t that question put a lot of things into perspective? Just thinking about it now I get a sense of urgency in relation to a few of the things I’m supposed to do today. At the same time a number of the plans I have for today seem much less important.
Perspective. Purpose. What if? These are the things I’m thinking about this morning. Thinking about it doesn’t mean I’ll handle everything perfectly, in fact I’m pretty sure I won’t – but this is something I’d like to grow towards and grow into.
Why not ask yourself “What If” as you face the world today?