If only I had picked a different major in college. If only my parents had stayed together. If only I hadn’t gotten sick. If only I had a nicer car or house or bigger bank account. If only my boss was nicer or I got a raise. If only I hadn’t made that stupid choice and now faced the consequences. If only I had a boyfriend, was married, had kids, the kids were out of diapers, in school, could drive themselves places, were out of the house, …
“If only” spends life’s journey staring in the rear view mirror and wishing our roles, relationships, possessions, and circumstances were different. But my life today is what it is. I can’t go back and change anything, so it’s futile to spend so much time and energy focusing on the past.
Rather, as Paul wrote, “… I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Philippians 4:11 NIV). We can learn to trust in the Blessed Controller who has allowed these things to come into our lives for a reason that perhaps only He can see.
Contentment trusts that God works all things together for our good and looks forward to the next steps of the journey instead of dwelling with the if onlys.
What about you? Do you struggle with the if onlys? How do you banish them?