Beware of the When-Thens. I tell you they are dangerous. As a matter of fact, I have been invaded by them and am only slowly recovering. They are the tiniest creatures, lurking about to discourage their unaware hosts. Like a virus on a cruise ship, they are bent on taking over entire endeavors. When-Thens get into your head and attack your vision. At first you will hardly know you have been infected. Symptoms range from moderate feelings of a need for leisure to laziness and can eventually produce a deep sense of meaninglessness ineverything. In some cases, as in mine, the When-Thens convince their invaded victim to do meaningless tasks to distract her from the most important.
When-Thens derived their name from their most powerful tool. When a When-Then gets into the head of the host, it releases a sense of doubt and tells the unsuspecting victim to put something off until another significant event occurs or something gets done. When-Thens sound like this: “When you get the house clean, then you should sit down to write!”
Please pray for me to recover fully. I have had a severe case. These When-Thens have gotten into my head and I have heard things like,
“When you get the cracks in the hardwood floor cleaned, then you can write.”
“When all the kids’ college loans are paid off and the house is renovated, then you should do something fun!”
“When fall comes, then you should plant an apple tree.”
“When spring comes, then you should plant an apple tree.”
(The last two When-Thens have been around for 18 years since we moved in. Unfortunately we have not had a harvest of apples.)
I finally went to my Maker to inquire about a cure. That in itself was reason enough for the When-Thens to launch a blitzkrieg. “When you get some rest, then you should schedule some time with God!” He wrote me a prescription and has told me I better come see Him every day.
Just in case you are dealing with When-Thens here is some of my prescription. But you better go see the Doctor soon!
And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’
And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’
But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’
Lord, teach me to seek you in this very moment. Keep me from chasing things and moments that have not come yet. Let me not waste the gifts of today on the worries of tomorrow.