If only I hadn't been up all night worrying and thinking, I would have woken up on time.
If only I had woken up on time, I would have done my devotions as my normal morning routine.
If only I had done my devotions in the morning, I would have read exactly what I needed to hear to be armed with the right offense.
If only I had been armed & guarded, I would have had the conviction and direction in that moment of decision.
If only I'd had the discernment in that moment, I would have listened to the Spirit instead of my flesh.
If only I'd listened to the Spirit and ignored my flesh, I wouldn't have made a poor decision.
If only I had made the right choice, I wouldn't have to deal with the consequences.
If only I could have laid down to sleep and known I had experienced victory instead of vanquish.
I can't live a life of regrets, or if only's...nor can I be buried under the weight of sin, guilt, shame or consequence. Certainly, all those things are burden enough to paralyze me and prevent me from doing His will. But I also can't run ahead of Him and try to do things on my own.
Consider Oswald's words: "At first you may see clearly what God's will is - the severance of a friendship, the breaking off of a business relationship, or something else you feel is distinctly God's will for you to do [insert your own struggle here - what is God asking you to do]. But never act on the impulse of that feeling. If you do, you will cause difficult situations to arise which will take years to untangle. Wait for God's timing and He will do it without any heartache or disappointment. When it is a question of the providential will of God, wait for God to move."
Oh yes. I've seen the tangled mess I've managed to weave with my own jump-the-gun-I'll-do-it-myself reaction. Why oh why do I think I can manage on my own? I'm a "get-it-done, take-charge" kind of girl but that knee-jerk reaction has caused me way too much heartache and disappointment. Because I've tried to do it on my own, rather than waiting for God to move. Even when I felt it was something God was leading me to do. Even when my intentions were good. Even when I believed it was His will. But also even when I sensed He was telling me to wait. If only...
Today I'm starting anew. Yes, I'm still wrestling. (Remember I told you - this wasn't over.) But I am determined to listen. Wait. Be still. Armed and guarded. And today I'm trading my "if only..." for "Only You."