What If We Stopped What Iffing?

“What if” is probably the most overused phrase for people who aren’t actually going to do anything. We think we are to using it proactively to anticipate possible problems, but we know we can’t predict every possible “what if” scenario. We use it to pontificate other people who aren’t doing something without any thought to the fact that when asking “what if?” the person asking isn’t doing anything about it either. So, what if we stopped what iffing and actually did something?


I was in church a few weeks ago when the priest made a what if statement about helping in our community. I was anticipating that he was going to transition his what if statement into an outreach the church would start doing to fulfill that need, but I was left with only another what if.

Several years ago, I asked the question, “What if we didn’t make people come to us for help and instead we went to them?” My problem with asking questions is that I really am looking for an answer. I’m not good at rhetorical questions, so I set out to answer my own what if. The result was the foundation of an organization that provided on-site service to the homeless population in the greater Chattanooga area. While I’m not there anymore doing that work, the outreach of Relevant Hope continues today under the leadership of my friend and co-founder Dillon Burroughs.

When I was an intern for Dr. Jeremy Wallace, he did an expository series through the book of Ruth. In it he pointed out that Boaz prayed for Ruth to be blessed and then he answered his own prayer by being a blessing to her. He concluded his message by asking what would happen in our life if we were willing to be the answer to our own prayers for other people. Since then, I’ve considered what that looks like in my own prayer life and the way I respond to prayer. As a result, I’ve done a lot more to help people meet their need from a prayer request. It is the essence of what James asked what good is it to know someone is in need, wish them well, and not actually do anything to help them.

Think about this for a minute. What good are you doing to say, “What if we all worked together to help people in our community?” if you aren’t doing anything to make that happen? What difference are you making in someone’s life who tells you they are struggling to pay their bills, feed their kids, or put clothes on their family, and all you do is promise to pray for them, and you don’t actually do anything to help them pay their bills, feed their kids, or put clothes on their family?

If you aren’t willing to do something, then quit asking about it. If you aren’t going to get up and be the change we need to see in the world, then quit talking about what needs to be done.

Quit What “Iffing” everything and start doing something.

What have you been asking “what if?” about that needs you to get out there and get it done? 

I am an author, speaker, and leader with a passion for developing people into practical leaders who put their principles into practice. I am the co-author of the acclaimed book Faith Acts with best-selling author Dillon Burroughs, the Chief Operations Officer at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, and an independent leadership consultant to up and coming leaders and start up nonprofit organizations. My greatest joy, however, is serving Christ and his Church. I am the proud husband of Shay and father of two great boys. We live in Chattanooga, TN. #NoogaStrong

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, off-topic, or downright annoying.

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