Case of the “What-ifs”

Melanie Sextro


For millions of us worldwide, worry envelops our everyday lives. Sometimes a little anxiety and/or worry can be good or even helpful. For example, it can assist us in preparing for something and provide a reason to be motivated. But how do you know if you are worrying too much?

Many people would probably say it is too much if it is affecting your life on a daily basis in a negative manner. Individuals who worry are very good at creating a life filled with “what if’s.” Their minds race at lightning speed to predict 5,000 outcomes of a situation. The imagined ideas of what could happen are intense, big and bold.

A lot of times, the whole event has played out in people’s minds before they even have the whole story or all the facts. Or, maybe they do understand the whole situation and they still have 5,000 possibilities of how something is going to end up. Most of the time, the worst of the worst is projected. We think we “know how the whole thing will go” and a healthy percentage of the time not one of the things we thought of even ends up happening.


God loves us. He promises to take care of us and to always be there for us. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about how we disable God’s ability to help us when we worry. What makes worrying so inefficient is that we are not with God when we worry — quite possibly contributing to what makes worrying so agonizing and energy zapping.

God promises to be with us in our everyday livable moments, but we shut him out when we enter into our imaginary possibilities of what may or may not happen. Out of all the things we conjure up in our heads, only one of those things will actually happen. Most of the time we worry about all the different outcomes, and in the end, something totally different happens. We end up saying, “That did not go at all like I had anticipated.”

Our heavenly father is with us through every single moment in our lives. He has a plan for us and will never give us more than we can handle. Sometimes, we may say to God that we just could not possibly handle one more thing. It is in these times when he carries us. He promises to carry us through our most challenging moments and shows us that we are stronger than we ever thought possible.

We worry because we are afraid of losing control of something. But if we trust in God, we are able to live in the moment more fully, and in turn, are not so focused on the what-ifs that seem to infect our minds.

As said before, only one outcome is going to end up happening in any situation and quite possibly it will not end up being as bad as we think. Sometimes it does end up being the worst, but in that case, we have God right bedside us. We can lean on him if we feel it is too much to handle. He will get us through. He is strong and will carry us onward. If we are able to let go enough to trust in him fully maybe we will be able to live more in the moment, and in turn, our worries will begin to fade away.

Melanie Sextro is a military wife and mother to two sweet boys. She is a member of St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City.

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1 thought on “Case of the “What-ifs”

  1. I can so relate to this. One of these days I’ll figure out a healthy balance between planning ahead — and just plain worrying!

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