I remember hearing my mother say one day, “If only I had more cupboards in the kitchen, it wouldn’t be so messy.” She had been saying things like this her whole life because she didn’t like housework; and to be honest, it is much easier to blame the house than to make the best of what you have.
But then I found out that I was exactly the same as her…
I became an “if only” person. From my childhood onwards it has been: If only my bedroom wasn’t so cold, I could do my homework; if only I had proper garden tools, I could work in the garden; if only I had more time, I could finish my work, etc.
Slowly I came to see that I was making excuses for my circumstances; I could hear myself saying “if only” too many times. I decided that I should really take control of myself and just get started to see what I could do, for example, by planning my time better and doing the garden without all the tools that I thought I needed.
After I had made that decision, I suddenly had new energy and I started to have new ideas. The more I just got started with the jobs that I knew I had to do, without thinking how much easier it would be if only I had this or that, the jobs got done and I started to feel a lot more happy and content.
But if we are an “if only” person when it comes to the practical things of life, then we will probably also be an “if only” person when it comes to emotional and spiritual things. That means that we can easily start blaming other people or our circumstances for how we feel. That is how it was for me.
You may think like this: If my teammate hadn’t criticised me, I wouldn’t have become depressed. If my friends had invited me, I wouldn’t have felt sorry for myself. If I had more money, I could be generous. If God had given me a nicer personality, I would be kinder. If I had a better job, I would be less stressed.
If I was married/single, then…
If I had/didn’t have kids, then…
If I was fatter/thinner/taller/shorter, then…
If I lived in another country, then…
And so, it could go on.
But God is not interested in changing the circumstances, He wants to change us! He wants us to become happy and content in the circumstances where He has placed us.
If you always wonder how different life could have been if circumstances had not “worked” against you, then do this. Next time the “if only” thought comes up about what you could have done if you were as lucky or rich or had it like other people, take up a battle against it! Don’t give in to these thoughts. Pray to God to give you a verse to hold on to. Start doing something!
God would rather help us resist jealous thoughts than give us lots of money, because being content and happy means much more than being rich.
God sees absolutely everything. He allows things to happen or not to happen to us. He sees far into the future and His goal is to change us to be like His Son, and He planned all of our circumstances so that He could achieve this goal with us. (Romans 8:28-29.)
It is not how many “talents” God gave us that counts. What counts is what we do with the talents we have received.
“And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one …” Matthew 25:15.
“You have done well, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things... Come and share your master's happiness.” Matthew 25:21 (NIRV).