I”m More Than The “If Only”

15 Nov

The paper was yellowed with age, and it was deeply creased. I gently unfolded it and was taken back to decades past.

Electronic typewriter - the final stage in typ...

The report card(s)made me smile, as former teachers faces flashed before my eyes.  I was an A and B student for most of my school career. Grades were important to me, I always wanted to do my best. If my grades didn’t match what I thought my effort deserved, then I was disappointed in myself.

There is was. My eyes caught that dreaded letter. “D”. One of two that I received in my entire school career. It was in typing of all things. Yes, typing. It was my sophomore year in high school and it was a mandatory class. Computers in the early 80′s were still not “personal” and most people didn’t have one. This was the pre-social media age. (haha)  I learned to type on an electric typewriter whose size took up an entire desk. The timed tests are what got me. Too many mistakes. Oh, how I teared up when the teacher told me the bad news! I was devastated.

I wasn’t good enough. How could I let this happen?

Almost thirty years later, I still struggle with the not good enough. Oh, not the “D”…that has long since melted into history…but, the underlying question remains, “am I good enough?”

How many times do I set the bar in my life, only to fail? To come up short. At times, not even be in the game?

I am guilty of believing that I was the one in control. That when bad things happen I could have, should have, done something. Done better. Tried harder.

I was never in control. Never. Not once. Not, really.

That is a profound statement, isn’t it? So many times we think about the “if onlys”.  If only I was smarter, faster, prettier, skinnier, more organized, more outgoing, more capable……more. more. more. If only I met all these requirements, then everything would be alright. I’d be in control of my circumstances.

It is a struggle. I wish it wasn’t. I want to see myself, like Christ sees me.

Redeemed.

“But, Lord……if only I’d pray more often. If only I did my devotions every day. If only I loved more and forgave more. If only I was more of a reflection of you in my daily life.”  And the “if onlys” widen the gap between me and the One that calls me worthy.

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12 NIV

But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— Colossians 1:22 NIV

And the tears fall, as the words sink in.

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