Yesterday I was reading a blog on saying the phrase "If Only". You should read it but basically it was about how we love to use the phrase "If only" seemingly to justify our actions or thoughts towards our circumstances.
"If only I had a better job/car/wife/roommate/sibling/parent...., I'd be better/happier/more succesful/less susceptible to temptation/satisfied."
This is just rotten thinking, but we all do it. I know I get caught in the web of thinking that if my circumstances were different then I'd be different.
But I got to thinking last night about how easy it is to use "If only" retrospectively.
"If only I'd taken that job/hadn't dated that person/listened to that advice/bought that thing..."
Maybe those things are all true. Maybe those things should or shouldn't have happened. However, it's easy to wallow in the past, to keep kicking yourself about things that can't be changed now.
My problem is that I tend to think that my mistakes rock God's plan (not in a good way):
"If only I'd not done______ or had done ______ like He told me to, then I'd be in His will now/ (or worse yet) He'd love me more."
I have a very small grasp on the greatness of God's mercy. However, from the little I comprehend, His love for us, His sheer delight in His children is not contingent upon our actions or lack of them. Yes, He wants us to obey and to follow His voice. And yes, there are consequences to the decisions we make, but His mercy extends past it.
It's an easy trap to get caught in and it's one I find myself bear-clawed in more often than not. But the Lord continues to reveal His faithfulness, His grace, His lovingkindness in my life. And hooray for us that those things are not predicated on what we think.
If God doesn't dwell in "If only...", why should we?