As I pushed my body up the steep ascent, every muscle screaming with the strain, I realized that this is why I run. This is the reason that I push my body to perform in ways that my mind doesn’t think is possible. Something happens in your mind when you make the decision to never allow yourself to ask, “What if…?”

What If…?

I first began thinking about what life would be like if refused to allow myself to ask the question “What if…?” when I was sitting in a ministry school class on missions. As the instructor began to lay out the methods of modern missions and how we as Americans could begin to contribute to reaching people in far-flung lands with the message of the Gospel of Hope, my mind kept going to a really strange place.

My mind kept going to this place of wondering if instead of sending people to these far-off lands with great theology and church experience if we were going about it all wrong. At the time I was perfectly content to contribute money from my hard earned job in sales to the mission cause. However, the more I thought the more I began to think about how Christianity, in a nutshell, is about discovering your worth and then using your newly found discovery of worth to help others in your community. To me, this translated into having a means to earn a viable income so you could take care of your family, contribute to helping the poor and downcast in your community and using this viable income as a tool to help others discover their worth.

Moving From A What If Mindset

The challenge was that I kept asking myself and others who dared take five minutes to talk to me this question that I have come to understand I never want to ask, WHAT IF…? What if we began to send people to the mission field who know how to help people start businesses that provide not only enough money to take care of that one family but provide much-needed jobs and job skills to others? What if instead of just sending people across the world to plant a Western church with three fast songs, three slow songs, a couple of announcements and a person to give a message for forty five minutes to hours, we began to send people with gifts and talents that could translate into the real message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? What if we sent people that could translate discovering your worth through the message that Jesus spread of hope, forgiveness, grace and mercy and a sense of value because you have something to contribute even if you don’t work for a church full time?

As I continued to ask this question I realized I was asking myself the wrong question. Where I was asking myself, “What if…” I should have been asking myself a much more productive question. I should have been asking myself the question, “When am I going to…?” After a while of asking, I realized that I had moved from limiting myself to always wondering if I could do something to the critical point of realizing that I already had the gifts and talents necessary and all I needed was a door opening.

Long story short this ended with my wife and I leaving our very well paying jobs and traveling across the world to learn a new language, learn a new culture and learn the complexity of doing business in the corrupt society of the former Soviet Union. Getting there didn’t create a long-lasting movement and I still need to ask forgiveness of the many people that I experimented with a model of business creation during our seven years of work in the former Soviet Union. But one thing I learned very well is that I do not ever in my life want to ask myself, “What if…?”

Blessed to Be a Blessing

After our return from what many times on the outside looked like a total failure and complete fiasco, I began running but also applying the many failures to re-learning what business from a Christ-like perspective should look like. As I went from failure to failure though I never asked myself “What if…?” I just went out and made things happen. From that initial failure, there are still businesses being created today throughout many very hard to reach nations for western faces as a vision of truly walking out Genesis 12:2–3 is really happening still today.

I apply the not asking “What if…?” to every area of my life. I ran a 5k and began to ask myself, “What if a marathon?” Not having any idea what a marathon was I signed up for one, found a training plan and then ran it. A couple of years later I was turning fifty and decided that I was going to run a fifty mile run the day of my birthday. Accomplishing that I ran a couple more fifty-mile races and then decided that a hundred mile race was next. I fell short my first attempt but will make it happen this year.

I live my life with two directions now. The first is never allowing myself to ask “What if…?” and the second is to continually push the belief that Genesis 12:2–3 doesn’t stop with me being blessed and getting my rewards. I know that I am blessed and that great things are going to happen to me but equally I know that my blessing is merely a tool to use to bless others and eventually this whole blessing others will bless all the families of the earth.

There is so much more to write into this short story explaining where Living an Ultra Life springs forth from but suffice it to say that life is more than just meandering from one project to the next, one written piece to the next, one paycheck to the next. Life is about discovering more of what you are capable of and then continually asking yourself not “What if…?” but the more important question of “When will I?”

Visit Michael at 

Over the last seven years I have lost over 80 pounds and gone from a sedentary lifestyle to now running ultra marathons. Along the way I have discovered my love for writing, for encouraging others and for living a lifestyle of constantly pushing myself beyond what I think my limits are. Visit Mike at
Over the last seven years I have lost over 80 pounds and gone from a sedentary lifestyle to now running ultra marathons. Along the way I have discovered my love for writing, for encouraging others and for living a lifestyle of constantly pushing myself beyond what I think my limits are. Visit Mike at

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