Sunday, October 25, 2020

Letting Go of What If

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

“I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:2 NASB)

I’m a big one to visit the world of what if—especially when I’m grappling with major life changes. This past year, with the pandemic and shelter at home orders, has been particularly difficult for me. I’m finding myself returning again and again to the what-ifs of 2020. And just like a hall of mirrors gone wrong, all I see are reflections of what I expected and what didn’t happen. 

I had a lot of expectations wrapped up in this year. 

Our first two grandsons were born this year. We’re blessed beyond measure because both families live within a few short miles of us. This should have been a time of gathering together—strengthening family and friendships. Instead it was a time of watching my kids struggle to become new parents in isolation. 

Everything was different—from the baby showers to the births. All the physical gatherings were different—and sparse. Beyond that, there were only meetups, phone calls, Facetime and cell phone pictures. Not the way I ever envisioned welcoming my grandchildren into this world.

I found myself thinking again and again, this could have been such a great year if only…

Instead of focusing on all the good things of this year, I found myself rehearsing the unmet expectations and the things I didn’t get to experience. 

None of which was helpful in the least. 

The more I chose to dwell on what didn’t happen, the more depressed I became. Finally, during my quiet time one morning, God got my attention. He reminded me that He was in control of this year and He’d populated it with unbelievable blessings—which I was currently downplaying or ignoring altogether.

Both my daughters-in-law had healthy pregnancies with very few issues beyond the normal difficulties. Both grandsons were born healthy, with their fathers in attendance. And while we’ve practiced more safety issues than any other grandparents before this year, we’ve been included as an important part of both family groups. And these are just the tip of the blessing iceberg. 

I’m so grateful God is patient with me and redirected my mental path. 

I know I’m not a first-time visitor to this land of what-if-make-believe. I’ve visited this place many times during my life. Sometimes I’ve visited when I’ve lost someone I cared about, other times, it was a change in circumstances that caused my mental excursion. I’m far too familiar with the haunted valleys and maze of punishing practices. I recognize them for their futility, and yet it’s the first place I head when life turns upside down.

I am spending less time there, though. I’m quicker to recognize the dreary scenery and leave. But it’s taken years to understand that the path out of that place is a journey of faith. 

Life has taught me that faith has many different faces and applications. One of them is the ability to believe God is still in control—even when things turn out in a way we wish they hadn’t. So as I once again process the loss of life as I expected, I’m choosing to draw close to God, instead of spending time in the land of what if.


Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. No matter whether she’s talking to writers, entrepreneurs, or readers, her first advice is always “Find your voice, live your story.” As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives.Connect with her on her website, through Facebook, Twitter and on Instagram.


  1. A great post again, Edie, and thanks for sharing. I'm learning so much from all the posts on The Write Conversation. Maybe some day I will be able to get my blogs started. Thanks again to you and all who contribute to The Write Conversation.

    1. Diane, I'm so glad we're able to encourage you! Blessings, #

  2. I'm letting go of the "what if's?" and focusing on "How can I serve God?" :-)

  3. So true. I find the roads to what-if are multiple exits on the main highway. And I used to take them often. But like you, God told me to stop. It's always a dead end street. Thanks, Edie.

  4. Sometimes, I not only visit the negative land of What If's, I take up residency there. I'm learning to avoid taking that route and trust God. What if I focus on God and listen when He speaks? That's the "what if" I need to ask myself.

  5. I am a champion of the "what ifs." I must continually remind myself of what God says about our journey. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I have a tough time understanding that God is in control, although I know He is. He is the ultimate Author, but I want to skip to the end to see how everything turns out. I pray for patience so that I can wait to see how His storytelling unfolds.

  7. Great post, Edie! I’m, oh to familiar with the world of what if. My birthday week away at the beach was cut short due to lockdown orders. We came home before we were stranded there. My graduation trip to Arizona to see the national parks and my family... cancelled due to COVID19. My daughter’s wedding was postponed by a full year into 2021. Even though my lockdown orders were exacerbated by a fender bender the very first day of lockdown....I can now say, I’m grateful. God is restoring the job lay-off, and the disappointments. I fell in love in June when I’d rarely dated for 8 years. Now I’m moving out of state, and accepting my beau into my tribe and a higher paying position near him. It’s not what I envisioned or planned, but I wouldn’t trade God’s plan for the world.

    Love you,

  8. An inspiring reminder to give thanks in all things.

  9. You were talking to me. Thank you Edie. I needed that talk.

  10. Thank you for your transparency to talk about your struggle to trust that God is in control even when things aren't so good. I struggle with that, too, and your encouragement was very helpful!

  11. Thanks for this reminder. I don't have trouble with the "what-ifs" in the present; it's "what-ifs" in the past I constantly go back to. I admit it's a dead-end. I need to remember Paul's words, "Forgetting what is in the past..." Paul could have let his past derail him big time from what Christ wanted him to do, but he didn't.