Faith, Holiday, Personal Growth

Day 22: Living in the Land of “If Onlys”

Christmas 2010
Christmas 2010

Mistaken Identity #4: By what I don’t have, I am what I am.

Mounds and mounds of pre-meditated gifts with puffy gold and green bows and red crinkly paper surrounded the boy.  It was Christmas Day. And he was focused on his mission: open…every…one.

Anticipation hung in the air at what will be his in just a few short minutes. Envisions of Legos and electronics and Star Wars figures lined the shelves of his mind. But every now and then, his eyes would dart over to his older brother’s increasing pile of gifts. Calculating and comparing.

With a bam, his heart sank. As his brother peeled back the snowflake paper, he caught a glimpse of the little silver apple, the one with a bite. Gripped in his brother’s enthusiastic hand was the gleaming white box of an Apple iPod. His brother had received what he had only dreamed of getting.

Forgotten were the heaps of generous gifts surrounding him. Gone was the joy in his heart just a few seconds ago. All he could feel was jealousy and sadness.  He ran up the stairs so no one could see the tears welling up in his eyes. If only…that iPod were his.

How often have I said things like: If only I had…

a better body

a bigger house

her cute shoes

a more bubbly personality

a beautiful voice

her flair for decorating

…and the list goes on and on and on.

When we exist in the land of the “if onlys,” our vision is limited to all of what we don’t have.  We then see ourselves through the lens of what we are not.  Because I don’t have, I am not: cool, pretty, liked, admired, talented, loved, adequate…

God shows us through the lives of the Israelites (Exodus 16:1-3) indicators to know if we are living in the land of “if-onlys”:

  • We exaggerate and romanticize the good of what we used to have or what we want. If only we didn’t break-up. I think it was the right thing to do. But maybe he isn’t so bad. I don’t like feeling lonely. Maybe I’ll give him a call.
  • We blame others for the things we lack. If only my family hadn’t been so messed up, then I would be happier.
  • We compare what used to be to what is now or what she has to what I don’t. If only I had her looks and personality, then I would have a better life.
  • We grumble and complain and wish for those missing pieces. If only I had a new house. It’s not fair that we’ve lived in this old house since we were married. I don’t like the outdated countertops or appliances.

It is a barren and dry place, this land of “if onlys.”

Just as God told the Israelites (Exodus 16:4-5), He is telling you:  “I WILL PROVIDE for everything you need. Everything.  It may not come in heaps and mounds, but be patient and trust Me.  For this day, embrace My love for you.  Focus on that and rest. I’ve got you covered! You are loved.”

2011: Christmas brothers
2011: Christmas brothers

So hop in my car and let’s blaze a trail together outta this land of “if onlys!”


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This post is a part of a 31 day series. Find other 31 Dayers at The Nester’s.