What Ifs and If Onlys

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This is my “Sock Bar”- you know, the proverbial “box” where all of the lonely singles go looking for a mate. I imagine the Nike IMG_0178saying to the Lacy Bobby, “You know, if only I could just find the one I’m supposed to be with in this heap of singles, then I could get out of here and really start living!”. To which Lacy Bobby replies, “What if you find her, but you don’t like where she’s headed?”.

We all have our “if only”s don’t we? If only my youngest were in school full time, then I could finally ______________________. If only my husband would get that promotion then we could ____________________________. If only I knew what I was supposed to be doing here, then I would finally feel satisfied.

Can’t relate to that? How about the “what ifs”? What if I can’t find a job when it’s time to head into the workforce? What if my husband’s job requires us to move- again? What if we can’t make the bills this month? What if my worst fear is realized when the test results come back from the doctor? What if God’s timeline doesn’t match mine? Then what?

The truth is we often spend most of our lives in “The Sock Bar”. We’re waiting for something. Hoping for it. And we don’t really feel like we’re living until it arrives. Or we’re afraid that once it does it won’t deliver the satisfaction we’re counting on. And we feel stuck.

But life really isn’t a Sock Bar- it’s a box. And in it is every tool that we need to live life to the fullest right now. Now I can hear some of you yammering, “Don’t put me in a box!” to which I will reply, “You are the one who decides what the walls and lid actually are.” Because truthfully it’s all about perspective. God’s ways are not our ways and we are never “boxed in” by our circumstances. The box is merely an illustration of God’s protection as well as a reminder that everything you need for this life is within reach.

Is anything too hard for the LORD? Is there a wall He cannot breach or a threshold He cannot cross?

Look at what David says in Psalm 18:

Now I’m alert to God’s ways;
    I don’t take God for granted.
Every day I review the ways he works;
    I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
    and I’m watching my step.
God rewrote the text of my life
    when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

God intends for your life to have meaning right where you are. When your son wants to show you his high score on his video game. When your daughter is craving her favorite dinner. When your husband can’t find his keys. When your co-worker is having a rough day and you show her an act of kindness. When your neighbor is sick and you pull in their garbage bin. When your pastor is bone tired after a long weekend of preaching and you remember to pray for him. This is living on purpose. This is when the “what ifs” may come and the “if only”s may not, but life happens. Open your heart to God and allow Him to open your eyes to the way He works: the quiet, gentle, daily ways that when all put together, those whom are in your box will say, “What if she had never been there?  Or if only I might live my life as fully as she did!’.

Stop waiting. Pick up a tool in your box- kindness, intercession, service, love- and start living.

Today.

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