I lived in Washington DC for about two and a half years and I really loved it. Some of the best friends I have still live there. Sometimes I can’t believe I moved back to Florida, but it really felt like the right thing to do.
If you’re like me, you play the dumbest game in the world way too often. A game called “What If?” The point of this game is to ask yourself hypothetical questions that you will never get an answer to. Questions like: “What if I left too soon?” “What if I would have gone to a different school?” “What if I would have said [this] instead of [that]?”
I’m not against a little introspection every now and then, and I’m clearly not against learning from mistakes. But this stupid game doesn’t produce anything in us but worry, regret and stress.
Recently, I’ve been playing the game a bit too much. Some matters in Jacksonville haven’t turned out exactly like I had hoped they would, and I also saw some of my DC friends recently. The combination of those two pieces made me start questioning if I should have left DC. I started saying, “What if I left too soon? What if I would have taken that other job? What if I would have tried [this]?”
As you can imagine, I never got an answer. All I got was a nice dose of uneasiness, which made it a lot easier to complain about matters that don’t warrant complaints.
Coincidentally, I’ve been going through a new pain I’ve never felt before in my neck. I think I pinched a nerve or have some sort of sinusitis (according to the all-knowing WebMD). It hurt really badly, but thankfully it’s not as bad now. Though, when the pain was intense, I could barely turn my head without it feeling like I was being stabbed.
It’s funny how pain can make you pay attention to what you might not have been able to notice without it. When the pain was at its worst, I couldn’t turn my neck and look behind me.
One day I tried to turn around and got the jolting pain in my neck, and I got the realization that maybe God was trying to use this pain to tell me something. I don’t think God necessarily inflicts us with pain, but I do think it can be a great tool in teaching us. (You should read The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis for way better info on that concept.)
I had been playing the “What If?” game and looking back in a direction that, quite frankly, I don’t have time to waste on. It’s not that I can’t look back fondly on my times in DC. And it’s not that I have to cut off all ties with my friends. It’s just that I can’t waste time wondering if I made the wrong decision, because I’m not there anymore. I am here in Jacksonville, and I need to see the good that is right before me. It’s always hard to leave what we’re comfortable with, but life doesn’t always give us a choice.
What are you playing the “What If?” game about? What of your past are you wasting your time lingering in when God is calling you forward?
Save yourself the immense pain I was in and learn your lesson now. Seek out the good in front of you.