We’ve all traveled down this road at least once in our lives. It’s a road that is so enticing, yet leads to nowhere. In fact, if we’re honest with ourselves, the road doesn’t even exist. That road, my friends, is called “What If” road.
You know that road that begins with “what if I had chosen differently?” Or “what if I had said this instead of that?” Or “what if I hadn’t said anything at all?” Or “what if I had just waited instead of reacting impulsively?”
If you are someone who journals like me, you probably also know the benefit of reviewing those journal entries. (Hello, I wrote a whole book about it entitled God Doesn’t Make Mistakes!) I went back to a journal entry from two years ago where I found myself traveling down that all too familiar road. I started to ponder on what my life would have been like if I had made a different choice in a particular situation. Admittedly the last time I went down that road, I found anxiety and regret at the end of it. I created all these scenarios in my head of this beautifully different life I would have lived had I chosen differently. It made me sick to my stomach to think about how I had ruined my happily ever after because I made a choice driven by my own sins and ignorance.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how dangerous it can be to continue down that road. The truth is we will never see all the myriad results that might have come from making one different move. We don’t even know if that different choice would have led to a better life or outcome. And here’s an even more empowering truth. God has factored all of our choices, free will, mistakes, etc. into His good purpose and plan for our lives. And since we’re still living, He’s not done with those plans yet.
I know, here I go getting all spiritual again but stay with me. One of the most beautiful things about having a personal relationship with God is that He is always with us. He’s constantly leading us and guiding us. And even when we stumble, He’s there to catch us and set us back on the path He has for us.
Though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. Psalm 37:4
I believe God allows us to make certain choices, or what we may perceive as mistakes, so that we can learn. Sometimes it’s to grow us and prepare us for what’s ahead. Sometimes it’s to give us a heart check so we can make the necessary adjustments to live and love more like Christ. Whatever the reason is for God allowing us to make the choices we make, He uses it all for our good and His glory.
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
When he says all things, that means the good, the bad, and the ugly. That’s what keeps my spirits lifted when I realize in hindsight that I could have made a more wise decision. I’m grateful to serve a God of grace and mercy.
If you find yourself traveling down that What If Road that leads to nowhere, I want you to remember these three things.
- God is using your perceived failure for your good.
- Your story is not over yet.
- What God has for you is still for you.
My friend, when you begin to question how your mistakes may have ruined God’s good plans for you I pray that you are comforted by these wonderful promises from our Father. Trust me, He’s got a very real, beautiful road ahead for you. Follow Him.