The What If Game

judge-300552_1920My mind can bounce in a thousand directions, working every scenario a hundred ways, resulting in humorous and often irrational situations.

Inside my head, there is never a dull … nor quiet … moment.

What if our pilot falls asleep, there’s a technological malfunction, and our plane goes spiraling into some unsuspecting farmer’s barn?

(Now imagine you’re the farmer. Interesting … )

What if I leave my computer in my hotel room, someone takes it, and I’m unable to make deadline? Or worse, the housekeeper just happens to be an aspiring author and steals all my story ideas (which have been rejected 50 times) and becomes the best selling novelist I’ve always wanted to be?

What if the world suddenly stops spinning on its axis while we’re facing away from the sun and we remain in perpetual darkness?

20160825_142027You have Ted Dekker to thank for that last one, as I’m pretty sure creative brilliance is contagious. (At least, that’s my hope.) (I absolutely had to find a way to throw this encounter into this post. Seriously, y’all–Ted Dekker!)

Okay, so maybe I’m not as neurotic as my brain spirals above imply, but I can spin things past logic.

Though my poor, rational-minded husband might disagree, I’ve come to see this as a gift, one that leads to fanciful worlds and nail biting moments of conflict … for my characters, and on occasion, for me. But we’ll focus on the former, shall we?

The what if game …

It’s a curse and … a blessing. 😉 It all depends on how my exploding thoughts are channeled.

I’m often asked where my story ideas come from, and honestly, that’s a hard question to answer. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve given an answer, except to say they unfold in my head, often in vivid, three-dimensional detail.

And yet, upon further thought, I’ve discovered these storyworlds have a trigger, a starting point, and those starting points are birthed in the what if. In the innate ability to imagine, whether those imaginings are positive or negative.

To all you worriers out there, relax and celebrate. Perhaps God has something great planned for your catastrophic thoughts. 😉 (At least, that’s what we tell ourselves when we’re up late at night fretting over things others haven’t even considered.)

They say every gift has a weakness, and here is ours. Or perhaps we should flip things and say every weakness has a gift.

Hm … now there’s a notion.

What if we found ways to channel those things we struggle with most? person-110303_1920To somehow find the good in them? What if we were able to surrender the gunk, the absurd, the irrational, and let God turn it into something beautiful?

This last weekend, Ted Dekker talked about metanoia, about changing our thinking so that it aligns more with Christ’s. But he took it a step further, encouraging us to align our actions with who we were meant to be. The real us hidden within.

See, I’m meant to be a worrier.

Not really. But those thoughts that explode a hundred directions faster than popcorn kernels in a frying pan–I’m relatively certain they come by God’s design. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself, as I grab a pen and tablet and explore all the what ifs in life and story.

What about you? Is there something in your personality, perhaps a character trait, that has caused you angst but, if examined in light of grace, could also bring you and others incredible joy?

Now for the fun part. I invite you to “what if?” with me, to allow your thoughts to wonder in every which direction, so that you can see the fanciful and dip your toes, but for a moment, into a world of your own making. Some might call such behavior crazy; I call it creative. 😉

Here’s the backdrop:

A single mom of twins returns to her hometown to reinvent herself and begin again. What might she be running from, and why?

Share some possibilities in the comments below or on my Facebook page, then share some questions of your own so we can keep the fun going!

But before you go, I invite you to read about a real life what if situation–what happens when a scatter brained author becomes trapped in Atlanta? They say live your life in such a way that you point others to Jesus. Well, this is one way to do it. Read all about my modern day mishap HERE.


About Jennifer Slattery

Novelist and speaker Jennifer Slattery, also writing as Jen Pheobus, uses humor, grace, and truth to inspire God's children to live abundant, Christ-centered lives. She does content editing for Firefly, a southern fiction imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, and is a regular contributor to; Internet Cafe Devotions; Faith, Friends and Chocolate; and manages the social media for Takin’ it to the Streets, a ministry that serves Omaha’s working poor and homeless. She’s placed in numerous writing contests and her work has appeared in numerous compilations, magazines, and e-zines.
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