The goal of the Women’s Leadership Workshop Podcast is to bring practical insight and relevant leadership lessons to women. We want to help ladies everywhere learn to lead better. You can listen to all the latest podcasts now by clicking HERE. If a blog format is more your style, we’ve got you covered. Below you will find the transcript to Episode 6. You can read now!
The “What If” Phenomenon
“What if they hate me? What if I don’t fit in? All these girls have been dancing together for years! What if I can’t keep up? What if I’m never in the Nutcracker? WHAT THEN!?! Maybe we should just go back home and keep looking.”
“I love moving….” said no one ever. Moving is tough, whether you’re moving down the street or across stateliness. Add in 4 kids, a husband and a cat and it feels like an impossibility. In our family, I play the role of household manager. We have a little saying “Daddy’s the boss, but Mommy’s in charge.” So when it came time to relocate my family from Charlotte, North Caroline to Atlanta, Georgia in June of last year the responsibility fell squarely on my shoulders.
I should tell you…I’m an expert mover. Frank and I used to flip houses and we’ve lived in seven cities in three different states. I’ve actually moved our family 11 times in 16 years. I would also describe myself as a detail oriented organizational neat freak. With that being said, you would think this last move would have been a breeze. Our house was boxed up and ready to go two weeks before the movers came. I hired a cleaning service the day before closing and within hours returned every phone call, email, or text from the bank, title company and real estate agent.
Within a week of the move our driver’s licenses read “Georgia resident,” my kids were enrolled in school for the next year and I had located a drive-thru dry cleaners, which is essential in my house because I don’t own an iron and we’re both public speakers.
There was one problem, however, that felt insurmountable. My daughter Layla, a competitive dancer, had been with the same dance company since she was three years-old. They were more than a team. They were family.
Layla had tried out for several different competitive teams in the area and had made the cut every time. Yes, my little girl is talented. But when it came time to make a choice, it was tough. How could we ever replace our old studio? It would be like replacing a member of your family…well…if I’m being honest, Layla would have probably had an easier time trading one of her brothers than she had selecting a new dance studio.
When we finally settled on a selection, I assumed the hard part was over. She had made it. She was on the team. We had been successful.
That first car ride to the new studio was nerve-wracking. My sweet talkative daughter stared out the window lifelessly. She was unresponsive to my attempt at conversation and she had discovered a run in her tights and was picking at it anxiously. When we were only a mile away, she started to panic.
“What if they hate me? What if I don’t fit in? All these girls have been dancing together for years. What if I can’t keep up? What if I’m never in the Nutcracker? WHAT THEN!?! Maybe we should just go back home and keep looking.”
Her fear was crippling her. She was terrified of the “what ifs,” the unknown, and it was getting the best of her. My daughter is confident and fearless. Her most common phrase at competitions is, “I’ve got this mom…stop worrying.” Yet, here she said petrified of a few girls in leotards and ballet slippers.
My heart hurt for her because I could empathize. How many times have I hesitated at the dawn of a new season? How many times has my fear got the best of me? How many times have I bartered the risk of greatness for the comfort of the status quo?
We all struggle with it. I’m sure if I asked you what you feared most, you’d struggle to come up with a single answer.
I’m terrified of something tragic happening to those I love. I panic at the thought of people looking at me, judging me, and finding me lacking. I worry that I will become irrelevant and outdated. Even the wrinkles around my eyes cause alarm.
Do you think our Creator, the master of the universe, didn’t expect his most glorious creation to experience fear? God knows your heart. He’s familiar with your struggles, and He understands your apprehension.
Can you guess what the most frequently used command in the Bible is? (Drum Roll Please…)
“Do Not Be Afraid”
This phrase or theme appears 365 times in scripture. Here are just a few examples:
- “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.” Exodus 14:13
- “Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.” Deuteronomy 3:22
- “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
365 times the Bible addresses fear…do you think it’s a coincidence that there are 365 days in the year? I don’t. I think that God knew the greatest weapon of our enemy would be FEAR. I believe he knew we would need a daily infusion of fortitude.
Several times in scripture, the phrase “do not be afraid” is followed with the words “do not be discouraged.” The word discouragement means to lose confidence or enthusiasm and to become disheartened. I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly what happens to me when I allow my fears to run rampant in my mind. But the Bible teaches us that we are not to be discouraged. Instead, in Joshua 1:9 we are told to “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
So here’s this week’s challenge: Play it out. Don’t allow the “what ifs” to haunt you for even a day longer. Come to terms with the worst-case scenario. Recognize the potential for adversity, but hope for the possibility of favor. And then pray. Pray that God will give you the strength to face what’s in front of you and the faith to keep your eyes focused on the one who will never abandon you, Jesus Christ. When everyone lets you down, He won’t. When trouble arises, you can find peace in the Savior.
When we understand the supremacy of our God and the vastness of His love for us, it puts our problems in perspective. There is no reason to fear. God is always in control, and you are his most precious creation.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Don’t allow your “what if” to delay “what could be.” God is at work, everyday, in unseen and incomprehensible ways. He has your interest in mind. And I choose to believe that your best is yet to come, if you’ll just have the courage to accept it and move forward.
Six months ago my brave little girl collected her dance bag, climbed out of the car and willed herself to step into a new season with a new team. It wasn’t easy. It still isn’t. There are days she misses her former studio. She still compares the old to the new. She longs for the seasoned friendships she left behind. And yet…she’s a better dancer today than she has ever been. She’s more passionate about this beautiful gift God has blessed her with. The adversity became her advantage. She is stronger and more confident than ever before. Acceptance is no longer the scale on which she measures success. Instead, excellence is her aim. Whether she has a team behind her or not, she chooses to dance. Because she loves it. Because it’s what she was made to do.
You were made for something greater, designed to accomplish that purpose. Leave the fear of “what if” behind and have the courage to advance into tomorrow and “what could be.”
“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.”
Isaiah 12:2 (NIV)
To help you to keep the “what ifs” in perspective, we’ve created a smart phone background with today’s scripture from Isaiah 12:2. Right click to download now.