Are the What Ifs Controlling Your Life?

Our devotion this week comes from a good friend and great Bible teacher, Ellen Chauvin. I know you will enjoy her contribution to our series on BELIEF. Let’s learn what God’s Word has to say about letting the What Ifs control our lives!

I grabbed the pen, eager to sign up as a volunteer at the local pregnancy crisis center. There were several opportunities available: Provide food for meeting - umm, nope not my area; Wash and fold donated baby clothes - ouch! Laundry! I can't keep up with mine and my hubby's, much less add more. That's out; Reception, answer phones - Ahhh, I can handle busy (or not) office phones! I am no stranger to complicated phone systems. I can do this!

My hand trembled. I gripped the pen tighter, poised above the paper that said "Reception/Phones." Only, I couldn't do it. I couldn't put pen to paper.  I wanted to help. They needed help. I believed in the work the center was doing.  

I put the pen down and walked away. Without signing up.

The "What if's" got the better of me when I over analyzed the situation. Sure, it was only answering phones. I'd worked in professional offices long enough to be very comfortable with phone etiquette. But...

What if I say something wrong? What if I discourage a young, pregnant mom by saying the wrong thing? What if she chooses not to come in, and instead seeks an abortion? What if...?


I'm no stranger to What if situations. Looking back, it seems that me and "What If" have been besties since I was a child!

"Do you want to ride the ferris wheel?"

"Nooooo, what if it gets stuck at the top?"

"How about the roller coaster?"

"Noooo, what if it flies off the tracks?"

How many times do we allow the What Ifs to scare us off?

"Do you want to ________________?” (Fill in the blank.)

"Noooo, what if the absolute worst happens?"


Jesus told the synagogue official in Mark 5:36 "Don't be afraid. Just believe." But first, we have to figure out what we are  afraid of. That night, fear made me turn my back on a worthy cause. Fear has held me back from many, many opportunities. Often, when we say no to an opportunity, it isn't because it's outside of God's will, but  because it is outside of our comfort zone. We're not willing, because we fear the unknown. We're not willing, because we don't believe. We're not willing because we imagine the worst case scenario.

In their book Experiencing God, Henry and Richard Blackaby say that when God invites us to join Him in His work, He has a God-sized assignment for us. We realize pretty quickly that we can't do this on our own, and without God's help we will fail.

"This is the crisis of belief when you must decide  whether to believe God for what He wants to do through you." (Experiencing God, page 134)

Do we really believe that God will provide everything we need in order to carry out His will? That Jesus is faithful and He will equip us? Will God really be with us, never leaving or forsaking us? Will He really equip us? Do we believe that God is sovereign and in control of ALL THINGS?

At this point, the best prayer to pray is "God, I don't want to do this without You. I can't, without You!"

"Then Moses said, "If You don't personally go with us, don't make us leave this place." Exodus 33:15 NLT

And then?


Take a step of faith over fear.

Sign your name. Volunteer. Face your fear, with God.

Know that in doing God's will, you WILL have His presence.

Lord God, I believe! Help my unbelief! I want to stand firm and follow Your will, even when it's outside my comfort zone! Thank You Jesus, for equipping me and holding me tight even when I am fearful. Amen.

Ellen pens her stories from the Bayou Country of South Louisiana, where gumbo and crawfish reign and majestic oaks provide shade for weary sojourners. When not writing and digging into God’s Word, you can find Ellen digging in her flower beds, relaxing on the back porch, hanging out with her grandkids, or traveling with her husband John.

Ellen has loved writing since high school, but this passion lay dormant for many decades. When her mom passed away in 2011, Ellen felt the Lord urging her to write her stories. She shares these deep truths from God’s Word in teachable, relatable and often funny stories that help women see God’s faithfulness in their own lives.

Ellen is passionate about scripture and her desire is to see women dig into God’s Word and thirst after Him with all their hearts. She writes at, where she encourages her readers to soak in God’s Word and sprout seeds of faith.

She has contributed to Deeper Waters, Word Nerd Wednesday, The Laundry Moms, Sweet to the Soul, The Consilium and The Message, a study magazine published annually by the women’s department of WEGOM, a non denominational evangelistic organization in Nigeria.

Follow Ellen on Facebook and Twitter.