Deuteronomy 28:1 . . . And it shall come to pass, IF thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Most High, to observe and to do all HIS commandments which I command thee this day, that the Most High YAH will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
If packs a lot of punches. Aside from being a little contrary, If is good at presenting a conditional clause . . . introducing a condition of which something depends, leaving you with a choice to make, sometimes directly, sometimes, indirectly. But, I would say, this is pretty direct. (yeah)
Deuteronomy 28:15 . . . But it shall come to pass, IF thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Most High YAH, to observe to do all HIS commandments and HIS statutes which I command thee this day, that all these curses shall come upon thee and overtake thee . . .
If is also very consequential. It’s like a cliffhanger, whether or not something will be . . . it could be a blessing, a curse or an opportunity, but the choice is always yours. You can hang there in suspension, on the very word. Yet, every If will require you to make a choice at some point, somewhere down the road. Just remember, deadlines are real.
Our lives are a series of choices, a culmination of choices that we have made over the years, along with those choices others have made for us (either willfully or by default), and a mix of things that have happened to us, that we had no control over, but we are given a choice in how we respond to them, none the less.
Choices. There are big ones, littles ones, some thoughtless, some thoughtful, and some made in an instant, and some made with a surety straight from the gut. Some are well thought out, thoroughly researched, even combatted over time, but still a choice. We live by our choices (and, not choosing is a choice).
Choices are easy to make in our head, but we can’t keep them there. We have to act on them to bring them into play. We have to ignite and take action to get to our objective, the goal we are seeking, or what’s the point? Choices should not be avoided. But, we do. We avoid them, even ignore them, hoping they’ll just go away or take care of themselves . . . because making a choice inevitably means making a change.
Not everyone is comfortable making changes, even if it is good for them. Change involves risk. Risks can be scary. Risks must be weighed out and scaled. But ultimately, what can be gained should be a greater benefit to us, than what can be lost. That’s where wisdom comes in. How we go about change has to do with our emotional well-being, and a lot of that has to do with how we see and value ourselves.
And then, there is F-E-A-R. Fear can be paralyzing. Operating in fear is like throwing a bag over our head to avoid the inevitable. Choosing out of fear, making a fear-based choice can have us running in the wrong direction. (I’m not talking about fight or flight, mind you. YAH always has a way of escape. And, that’s a good thing.)
ONLY IF: When Every Fairytale Looks Real
Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels. The dizzy, dancing way you feel . . . (Yeah, I’ve looked at life that way.) So, okay. I’m a dreamer—a dreamer that had to learn to be a doer, but a dreamer still. Dreamers love the words Only If because you can Only If anything. Imagination, forever fueled! (If I’m dreamin’ . . . just let me sleep . . . don’t wake me up ’til my dream is complete . . .)
Dreamers stay asleep because of fear, just to keep things real, when they’re really not. And, that’s what we’re afraid of. Heck, afraid to just make it real and live the reality. When I’m dreaming, it’s almost as if I’ve already made the choice and instantly I’m living it—no challenges, no sacrifices, no pain. I’m just there. Heaven. Except, I’m not. But for a dreamer, sadly enough, sometimes that’s okay.
It’s when I wake up and realize nothing has changed and reality is staring me dead in the face, again. (That’s when you put yourself back to sleep and relive the dream—hahaha!) “NO!” (Please excuse my former self. That’s what a dreamer would do!)
I’m also a doer now. I’ve overcome my fears. When I’m presented with an If and I know what I want for myself, I make that choice and commit. It’s a process. I dream up my visual, orchestrate a theme song in my head (seriously), and then I take action; I do the work and all that YAH requires of me to attain what I’m dreaming of. I’ve learned to do and dream on.
WHAT IF: Nightmares On IF Street
What If’s are the endless possibilities people stack on top of the If’s. They are usually negative. It gets heavy. People can get weighed down with just one What If, until they’re paralyzed with fear. These people don’t dream, they have nightmares. These are the people that fret over crossing a bridge, before a bridge is built, or before they know if a bridge even needs to go there.
They have a need to know all the details (past, present, future), so they can have plans in place for every possible fail. It goes beyond precaution. They have a knack to conjure up problems before they exist and make mountains out of molehills. They tend to get lost in all the bad things that could happen and get stuck in what is.
From a dreamer’s perspective, it is hard for me to understand. I just don’t get it. But who am I to judge? When you peel back our onion layers of insecurities, it all comes down to the same thing: Fear. Whether it’s fear of actualizing a dream, or fear of living a nightmare. It’s nothing but fear.
IF ONLY: The Evil Twin
If Only introduces into the If, a picture that does not actually exist, and perhaps never will. It’s an expression of a wish. Its like a scoop of forethought and hindsight on a waffle cone and the ice cream’s melting.
Looking head on, it has a way of fooling you into being hopeful; looking for change to happen, to start some place else, anywhere (!)—just not with you. It’s a hope that floats but usually doesn’t assert itself . . . it just floats, waiting for a change.
Looking back, If Only can round up heaping’s of regret . . . regrets of what could have been, and in a sort of twisted way, it traps you and keeps you there, altering the past over and over again. It’s satisfying, I suppose, being entertained by a, seemingly, better choice. It’s a way of escape, a grievous, fault-finding, and sometimes face-saving detour to life.
It gets confusing, but I totally understand how people get stuck here. Fear of having to make an actual choice for and by themselves to initiate a change . . . fear of catching the blame. But, here we go again. It’s the same old fear. It will get to you any way it can. Even by distraction . . .
YOU DOWN WITH OPP?
(Nawww . . . you know me.) OPP—Other People’s Polls. (The world swears by it pretty much, and backs it up with science.) A lot of people live their lives by OPP and what other people think. They have a need to be down with the in crowd. They have a need to fit in and follow the herd. They keep up with the ever-changing fads and blindly follow man’s philosophies, traditions, and doctrines on how to live one’s life. It’s a big market. It’s an even bigger distraction from what the Most High has established.
OPP lives by its own set of rules and choices are appear risk free. Do you. Live you. If it feels good, then it’s true (but it’s not). The risk? It’s there in fine print. Live now. Pay later. (And, usually later is out of sight, out of mind.) Don’t worry, the world has concocted a pill, a jab, an institution, and a stab for every possible thing that could happen . . . or go wrong. Go wrong? What could go wrong? . . . uhh, yeahhhh, about that. (Heh-heh).
THE GIFT HORSE
Revisit the scriptures that came with this post. It’s a gift of reminder to you that we all have a choice to make. Yahshru’el, remember what our ancestors chose? Of course, you do. We’re the remnant. We’re living out the consequences of those very choices. You see the condition of our people. But we also live with promise (2 Chronicles 7:14). We don’t have to make the same mistakes (even though, as a nation, it looks like we are).
It doesn’t hurt to re-evaluate ourselves, to check ourselves. To choose, again, for ourselves. Maybe you’ve already made your choice and you are satisfied with the life you are living. Cool. Many of us think we already have it all together (Really?) . . . but, it’s best to be sure.
They say, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Why? It’s considered rude. A horse’s age is determined by inspecting its mouth and how long its teeth are. Longer the teeth, the older the horse. Well, these scriptures are ancient (they old) and unchanging. It’s a good thing. Foundational.
The world can’t handle scrutiny. It doesn’t have a leg or a horse’s rump to stand on. I WANT you to look into the horse’s mouth. Dig into the sacred texts. Study these scriptures, for they will help establish (or re-establish) the foundation of every choice you will ever have to make in your life, going forth. The only thing you will have to fear is the Most High, and not doing what HE has called you out to do. It’s a good fear. Consequences are real.
So, seek the truth. Follow the precepts. Get wisdom. Get understanding. Then, choose wisely for yourself, everyday, with your every choice, with your every word, with your every action. You always have a choice. You just have to decide . . .
IF . . . .
John 14:21 . . .
He that hath MY commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth ME and he that loveth ME shall be loved of MY FATHER, and I will love him, and will manifest MYSELF to him.
(Photos by Jasmin Chew and Pixabay, respectively.)