Traveling over the Tappen-Zee bridge I symbolically threw all my “what-ifs” over the railing. That was a long time ago but I still remember it vividly. There comes a time in all of our lives when we need to deal with the things we hold on to that never happened. Past plans, dreams or maybe lost opportunities can resurface in our minds and cause discontentment in our heart.
We were heading south to visit some dear friends. Paul was driving and our young children were buckled in the back with kids music playing on the radio. We traveled Rte. 95 with all of its twists and turns. As we went through Bridgeport I saw two of the hospitals where I interviewed as a graduate nurse….but I was never meant to work there. A twinge in my heart wondered, “what if” I had worked in the Cardiac unit I was hired for? “What if” we had moved to Connecticut? “What if”???
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jer 29:11 (NLT)
My life took a very different path. I had major surgery right after graduation that took awhile to heal and my now husband had changed jobs to one in Boston. I ended up training for the Operating room in MA, a career I have loved for over 34 years. We bought a nice home and met awesome people at church who are now life-long friends. We were much closer for our children to be loved and spoiled by their grandparents. Life was different from my simple “what ifs” but in a good way!
Is it wrong to think back and wonder? Not really. But for me they created a little wedge of discontentment, a feeling that I had missed out on something. It was wrong thinking because I haven’t missed anything – I have enjoyed all that God did have in store for me and my family!
As we passed over the bridge I silently prayed, “God take all my “what-ifs” because You call me to live in the present and not hold on to the past. Your plan is better than I could ever imagine. Don’t let me feel any regrets or false yearning but contentment instead.” And over the bridge they went.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Phil 4:8 (NLT)
Seeds of discontent and comparison should have no room in my heart. Instead I will make the choice to count my blessings. I will choose gratitude and praise towards God for His faithfulness and provision for all of my needs. Satan still uses the same old tactics he used in the Garden when he told Eve that God was withholding something good. So the next time he whispers in my ear, I’ll tell him to jump off the bridge.