You’ve probably heard some form of this quote in a movie, usually said with a twinkling eye:
“What could go wrong?”
After all, what would be the fun in a plot line that didn’t have adversity and where everything goes according to plan?
Unfortunately, we often get too fixated on what could go wrong in real life too. Some of us, whether because of personality, a tough upbringing, or being hurt one too many times, just seem to have an unquenching need to identify and prepare for all that could go wrong.
Too bad doing so is impossible. I’ve tried. You simply cannot plan for every contingency.
You can, however, wear yourself out and stress yourself to insanity by trying. With that also comes the added frustration of wasted time since most of what we think could happen never does. Yet, those few times where over-planning produced helpful results keeps you hanging on to planning for all that could go wrong.
What if you flipped the script and instead asked?
“What could go right?”
How would asking this instead change your outlook? Your approach to planning? What might you do and think differently? How might it make you feel? How would it change your expectation of people and events?
As for me, I’m purposing to ask, “What could go right?” more often. I hope it eventually becomes my default.
I’ll still plan, but I won’t let my focus be directed by what could go wrong. I’m determined to choose to consider what could go right instead.
Taking this idea one step further, I want to look back on events – even just normal days, whatever those are – and be grateful for all that went right. In other words, I want to break the habit of ruminating on how things could (should?) have gone.
“God is always seeking you. Every sunset, every clear blue sky, every ocean wave, the starry host of the night. He blankets each day with the invitation, ‘I am here.’” (Louie Giglio)
Scripture expresses this same sentiment.
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)
Grasp this simple truth. All of creation declares the reality of God. Embrace it! Enjoy it!
Then, realize it’s there because God wants you to know him. It’s like an open invitation to seek him out.
Will you accept his invitation?
“The thief comes to steal, kill & destroy.” (John 10:10)
The word “steal” used in John 10:10 is not just a taking of something. It involves deception and misleading too. This verse is basically saying that the thief (Satan) wants to distract and trick us, so he can steal what’s most valuable to use.
What valuables? Peace. Joy. Hope.
He doesn’t just take them either. He kills and destroys them… if we let him. When we’re distracted, that’s exactly what we’re doing too… letting him steal from us.
Satan uses distraction and trickery to steal certain things from us because we won’t just give them to him. He cannot get close enough to certain valuables unless we’re not paying attention to them because we’re focused on something else.
What distractions? Hurt. Disappointment. Sadness. Shame. Guilt. Embarrassment.
What should we do?
“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the devil… praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication…” (Ephesians 6:10-20)
In other words, daily put on… truth, righteousness & peace.
And pick up… faith, salvation, & God’s word.
All the while… pray, pray, pray.
This daily routine – more than that, really, a way of living – protects us from the “strategies and tricks” of the devil. It keeps us alert, so we protect what’s most important to us.
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)