As I’ve mentioned before, a trap for perfectionists is when they go into “what if” and “if only.” After years of struggling with this, I now try to to say instead, “Lord, show me the good you want to bring out of this. I believe that, “In ALL things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). This is an email my Aunt Betty sent me when I was slipping back into the bad habit of going into the “what ifs” and “if onlys”.
“What interests me is how you are being tempted to back out of the wisdom you had acquired; notice the evidence of your famous “what if” and “if only” temptation that follows…think about this. I believe this is how you dig a hole to fall into…Satan can steal your faith and hope from you when you play the “what if” and “if only” games with him…learn from this, so he can’t get in to take over and move you towards depression…”
She told me that saying, “I wish” is the same as saying “if only” so I now have to stop myself. She wrote me the above email in regards to a decision I had made in prayer years ago. I was lamenting the results of it, but she reminded me that when we make a decision in consolation, we don’t go back on it when we are going through a difficult time. God is doing a work in me and my family that I can’t see, so I need to trust Him, despite the way things appears. Sometimes we need to reach our human limits, so we truly let go and let God take over. That’s where I am. “Your word is a lamp to my feet, a light on my path”(Psalm 119:105). We’d love for Him to show us the whole path, rather than just the next step. That’s where our faith is put to the test.
Bill Johnson said, “God rewards all growth with pruning. Pruning in the kingdom is not punishment, but an invitation into fruitfulness.”