Maybe you spend more time than you’d like on thoughts such as:
What if I am shot down when I put myself out there?
What if I am less effective in ministry than I dreamed I’d be?
What If I am not as beloved as I had hoped I’d be?
What if I am losing out on opportunities?
What if I am falling behind my own expectations or the expectations of others?
What if I am . . .
For many of us these four little words start our thoughts when we are in the arena or feeling vulnerable and exposed. ‘What if’ can drive a loop of anxiety that keeps us small; feeling like invisible is safer. Our thinking goes, ‘If I can only figure out and master the what if I will be ok. . . if I can outrun, out plan, out wit the ‘what if’ I can avoid feeling the pain of it.’
Moses knew this inner critical voice too. He knew self doubt, “Who am I to go to Pharaoh?” and to the Israelites, “They will not believe me.” Variations on ‘what if’ sprinkled across Exodus 3 and 4.
And God says, “I am who I am.” I am with you. I have you. You are mine. You will go into the arena but not alone. Never alone.
I’ve gotten curious lately about these words. And when we get curious we get new endings. So, I’ve been thinking, ‘what if the ‘what if’ looks different?’
Because it can look, sound, and feel different.
What if the I am becomes I AM who I am?
What if I AM walks with me into the arena?What if I am knows my heart and calls me beloved?
What if I AM’s love is for me no matter what happens when I feel less than?
What if I AM has fearfully and wonderfully made me?
What if I AM’s voice is the loudest one in the arena shouting, “I love YOU.”
What if this was the first voice we listened for and the one that gets the last word when we practice courage?
With God’s call - with I AM - things shift; they are still hard but we shift to we can do hard things. In God’s strength, we can do hard things.