That wall had annoyed me since the day we moved in, particularly because it blocked the light from the one large window on the other end of the long, narrow basement room. Every time I went downstairs, I envisioned the wall gone. The problem was, that rated among the bottom fifty projects on my husband’s to-do list.
Finding myself home alone one weekend, I decided to face my giant. What was the worse that could happen, anyway? Armed with a hammer, I marched into the basement.
For a few moments we stared at each other—the wall and me. Finally, screwing down my courage, I swung. Chunks of sheetrock crumbled and fell. I was committed. Piece by piece I stripped it down to the studs, leaving the ones that had wires running through them for my husband. The rest I dismantled, being fairly certain they weren’t holding up the first floor.
Sunlight flooded into the newly opened space. I realized the main obstacle that had stood between me and a renovation project more complex than paint and wallpaper was fear—fear of the what if’s. What if I messed up? What if I broke something? What if I started and couldn’t finish? What if my husband got mad?
Now these are certainly things to consider—it especially helps to know the temperament of your spouse— but they are not insurmountable. So what if I screw up? It is my house. Broken things can be fixed. Once free from the paralysis of the what-if’s, I was able to tackle other projects, like tiling the bathroom.
(Granted. Most people don’t mix tile mortar with the kitchen mixer. But when you’ve finally gathered up your courage and given yourself the it’s-my-house-I-can-do-what-I-want pep talk, there’s no turning back—even if you’ve overlooked a few things, like the right tools. But I digress…)
Being paralyzed by the what-if’s happens in all kinds of situations. I worry, fret and stew about making the wrong decision, about where to go and what to do, about God’s will for me.
But God says to ask for wisdom and He will give it. He says to seek His face and walk by faith. He says to make plans and He will direct my steps. And if I make a mistake? Can He not work all things to good? Are His mercies not new every morning? Can He not hook His rod and His staff around me and set me upright? Is His arm too short to save?
I had to laugh this morning while reading 1 Kings. Elijah taunts the Baal worshipers for their god’s lack of intervention—“…Either he is missing, or has gone aside on a journey, or he’s asleep…”
But Elijah’s God, and my God, is ever-present. He is my Helper, and by his grace, I will not be afraid to tackle that which is before me.