If Only Land

Romans 7:19

I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
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How many times have we said out loud to anyone who would be willing to listen, “If Only…” and then we spew out some idea of how we should have done something differently?  I know from my person experiences that I could list one million, seven-hundred and eighty-three examples for you, however for the purposes of blogging I will only pick one.  Twenty-three years ago I decided to date and marry a man whom I thought I could change.  If only he had stopped drinking.  If only he had not decided not to turn to prescription meds.  If only I had been following the Lord…..
Do you see how destructive these two words can be?  How many are stuck in a depressed state right now because they dwell in the kingdom of if onlys?  I know for me I played right into that game for awhile until I began to surrender some things to God, knowing that at that point in my life, I was in control not God and my marriage choice was not what He had desired for me.  Now, was I in love, yes.  Was a happy at times, yes.  Did good things come from the marriage, yes.  So why was I playing the “If Only” blues?
Because I had decided from the get go that I was going to fix my husband.  I figured if I dragged him to church enough times he would just come to know God like I did.  I felt if I gave all of me whenever I could, he would become happy with me and not the drinking.  I wanted so much to “make” the picture perfect family:  A happy husband, two kids and dog.    I am not sure when I realized this was not reality but as I slowly began to lose who I was as a person, it was too late.  If only I had done things differently.  If only I had loved him more.  If only I had been more respectful of my own self. If only I loved myself enough to say enough is enough before my whole life spiraled out of control.
Having said all of that, IF I had changed any of the above things, I would have missed out on two beautiful kids.  I would not have had the life experiences which have led me to where I am today with the ability to love others in a capacity I may not have ever achieved. Yes I went through a lot, yet it has shaped me into who I am today and brought me closer to God than I could ever have imagined twenty some years ago.  I am a stronger person now having experienced the life I did and I believe God knew all of this ahead of time.  When we choose to go beyond what God has already planned out because of our free will, He then works out a way for us to return to His grace and love (not that He ever stopped loving us) much like the prodigal son.
Are you playing the “If Onlys”?  Have you perhaps taken up permanent residency in If Only Land?  My encouragement to you would be start to surrender.  Accept that with your free will you get to pick where you go in life, but if you go too far and are unsure of how to get back to God it is so simple to do.  It is as easy as saying “If Only You will forgive me and lead me in the right direction, I surrender my circumstances to You, God…lead me.”
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