The When-Thens

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!

Luke 12:16-21
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?’

So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

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. 

About Heidi Viars

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth ...” ― C.S. Lewis ..... In my pursuit of self, I found utter darkness. In my pursuit of truth, I found Jesus, who dispelled the darkness by His forgiveness. Now I follow Him and try to understand Him better. I am a wife, mother of 6, blogger and love taking photographs of sunrises.
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15 Responses to The When-Thens

  1. krc says:

    agree with you

    great post n reminder

    awesome photos as always

  2. Powerful reminder, dear Heidi. I hadn’t realized how much I’m doing this until I read your post. Thank you for sounding the alarm. 🙂
    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

  3. Heidi, I’ve been attacked by the When-Thens too. Thanks for the reminder that I need to turn all things over to the Lord, and that I need to be seeking Him for things each day. I’m working to remember to seek Him for HIS plans for my day…even if my “when this, then this” is switched up. 🙂

  4. Dear Heidi, again you make public what so many of us experience privately. Thank you for a fitting prayer for us all. Blessings as you see your doctor more often. He’s mine, too.

  5. Bill Sweeney says:

    Amen, Heidi! I battle these little When-Thens, too.

  6. Debbie says:

    I have been doing this . . .and not even realizing it! Yikes! :). Thank you for helping us live in the here and now, with Him! Blessings and love !

  7. Just before reading your post on another post I wrote that ‘there is no there there’, a saying I heard recently. And now your’s about the ‘when-then’s’. Yes, I think God’s telling me something! Procrastination that shows up as busy with other things like house cleaning, seems to be my theme these last couple of weeks (and months in my life)! Thanks for this!

    • Heidi Viars says:

      Thanks for reading and sharing, Lynn! As a mom of six I have chased the “there” for many years and wholeheartedly agree with your statement. It doesn’t exist! I am grateful that the Lord is patient with us. He is all we need, in the here and now! After all He is the “I AM” 🙂
      (BTW Love your blog! Keep going!!!)

  8. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Well done, Dr. Viars–you’ve isolated the virus and implemented the cure! Thank you for publishing your research because this virus IS running rampant. (A clever post, Heidi! Your closing prayer is mine as well.)

  9. RobbyeFaye says:

    Great post, thank you! I suffer quite frequently from the When-Thens, I will remember this post when they get into my thoughts!

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