Do You Have a Case of the “If Only’s?”


Jen’s Gem: Put your “If Only’s” in God’s Hands.

trust_in_GodLately I have been inundated with emails and letters about various sweepstakes promising me a g-zillion dollars if I will only click a button or mail back a postcard. So easy! Do I click? Do I stick the stamp on the card? You bet I do!
Who wouldn’t want the ease of having a healthy bank account balance? As Forrest Gump so famously said when Lieutenant Dan invested his monies in Apple, ”We don’t have to worry about money no more. And I said, that’s good! One less thing.” 
One less thing.
This phrase reminds me of another that I typically hear, and likely you do as well, from people who are struggling with a life issue. “If only.”
“If only my kids would do this, then I wouldn’t worry.”
“If only my job wasn’t so stressful, then I’d be happy.”
“If only I had more money, I could enjoy life more.”
Many people have a case of the “if only’s” as the daily challenges of life threaten to steal their joy. It’s tempting to think that if our “if only’s” came to pass, then we really would be happy. If someone appears at my door in a few weeks telling me I’ve won the sweepstakes, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be happy! And, I suspect a few people I know (and some I don’t) might be happy as well as they mutter “If only Jennifer would share her winnings with me, then I’d be happy!”
Therein lies the lie of the “if only’s.” Sure, I’ll be happy cashing that first check and probably the second one as well. But I’ve no idea what to do with that kind of money and I’d likely have to hire a lawyer or an advisor to help me. How would I deal with friends and loved ones who knock on my door asking for a piece of my “if only?”
We have a false belief that once we get our “if only” then life will be smooth sailing. However, it’s simply not true as there’s always another challenge on its heels that will need to be dealt with. When we look for our happiness and peace from external things, those feelings of joy are fleeting.
I used to be stuck in “if only” land.
“If only I get this promotion.” “If only a publisher would call.” “If only Mr. Right shows up.” Sometimes they came to pass. More often they didn’t. When they did? Woo hoo! When they didn’t? Hmmm….
Many people claim that when things don’t happen the way they want them to that it’s “God’s will.” They blame God when they don’t get what they want. “He doesn’t want me to be happy.” However, when you truly know who God is, you will find that this couldn’t be further from the truth.
God always wants us to be happy. He designed us for happy. He did not design us to be depressed, sick, poor, or lonely. Is an apple tree designed to bear oranges? Of course not! How can God, who is love, design anything that is not good? It’s impossible. Love begets love.
I’ve had a few of my “if only’s” crash and burn as of late. In the past, this would’ve crippled me for a time. Today is different. When things don’t go my way, I don’t run to my bedroom and pull the covers over my head. Today I simply say, “I didn’t get what I wanted, because I know that God has something better for me.”
You see, unlike us mere mortals, who can only see what’s in front of our faces, God can see from the beginning all the way to the end. He knew exactly when I was to be born and He knows when I will take my last breath. His plan for me, and you, is perfect. It can’t be anything else because again, something that is perfect, can’t create anything that’s imperfect.
I trust that God has my back. I trust that He sees the challenges I face each day. I trust that He’s working on my behalf to arrange an optimal solution. I have this trust not only because I’ve seen proof of it in the past but because it is who He is.
I’d like to encourage you this week to make a list your “if only’s.” Write down all of the things that you think will improve your life if you were to receive them. Then hand them over to God and let Him take care of them. Then, like Forrest, you can say, “One less thing!”

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Jennifer Covello, Copyright 2023