The What If’s and If Only’s…

A great writer-friend, Tiffany Locke, pointed me to some wonderfully inspiring writings by Alene Snodgrass through her website http://www.positivelyalene.com

Alene recently posted about dealing with the “what if’s” that we are faced with when the call arises to step out and do something that might be a tad bit uncomfortable for us…. Check out this great post at http://www.positivelyalene.com/2012/07/05/debra-george-says-go-but-the-what-ifs-are-killing-me/

It really got me thinking about how the “what if’s” can become the dreaded “if only’s”….  

Some of my “what if’s” in the past have been things like….

What if I fail? (nothing specific in mind…just generally speaking…)

What if I miss God’s plan for my life, because I’m way out in left field...not even realizing that the ball is heading straight down the first-base line? 

Here’s a bonus...some of my “what if’s” with “if only’s” included…free of charge….

What if I hadn’t quit piano after just a few years worth of lessons?
   If only I had stuck with it….I might be using music to reach the lost in some way….

What if I hadn’t walked away from writing for such a long period of time?
  If only I had stuck with it….I might have finished ten novels by now…

What if I had pursued a career in education?
  If only I had started years ago, I might have been teaching for decades already…

By now I think you can see where I’m going with this…we don’t have to live our lives filled with regret as to what life “could have been” or “would have been”… or “if only”….

Life is happening right now...embrace it and cry out to the LordOnly He can free us from holding onto past regrets…
We don’t have to forget, but we don’t have to beat ourselves up about it either…The Lord will use these things to help us to encourage others; sharing things He has taught us along the way…

God makes all things new…(Rev. 21:5). When we rise each morning ( early morning… late morning….early afternoon for some..hey, it’s summer right?) we have a new opportunity to get it right according to the path God has established especially for each of us…We’ve got to seek it out…spend time with Him…ask for wisdom and direction….dig deep into His word….pray….I know, it’s challenging to find that quiet time (understatement of the year?)...We can’t afford to make our relationship with God one of our “what if’s-if only’s” ...We need to make it happen…our very life depends on it….

My path may not look anything like yours….but I know they have one thing in common…they’re straight….No crooked paths with God…

Back to my list of “what if’s-if only’s”… Truth be told…I could probably still do quite a number of things on the list as long as I’m still breathing!  Amen?  But are these things really meaningful when I put them into perspective…when I consider the “big picture”…the “greater plan”?  Some things maybe, other things, not so much.

So what is that “big picture/greater plan”?  Well, I don’t claim to be a theologian, but according to the Word, no matter what path we are on…it all points to the same purpose….Serving God and serving others…loving God and loving our neighbors as our selves...sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a lost and dying world.  All of it pointing straight to Jesus who said “I am the way, the truth, and the life…No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6.

Maybe what I have looked at as a  missed opportunity, wasn’t really something I was meant to do or be in the first place...and if I may quote another verse Proverbs 3:5...If I’m trusting in the Lord with all my heart and in all my ways acknowledging Him…He will direct my path...so no need to worry about missing something big… Perhaps what I thought was supposed to happen at one time, is really supposed to happen years later….God’s timing is perfect…

What about when the “what if’s-if only’s”  include relationships that have gone by the wayside?  This can be a bit more complicated….definitely want to check in with God for wisdom in dealing with this oneThere are times that He may take people out of our lives for a reason.... Whether they are in or out of our lives, God commands forgiveness....not to hurt us, but to free us….

****SEE UPDATE TO THIS POST****  November 21, 2012

What are some of the “if only’s” in your life?  Is God still calling you to re-visit any of them?  Has He rekindled a passion in you? 

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