October 20, 2017

If only I… (31 Days to More with Less)



My daughter’s voice echoed through our hall last week, “I can’t wait till I am a teenager.” A deeper voice, one in transition, retorted, “Well, I can’t wait till I am a parent because….” (in which followed a soliloquy of disagreements about our parenting style. )

It led me to ponder how this conversation parallels so many things in our lives. Often, contentment eludes us in our day to day. Surely, “tomorrow” will bring us all the things for which we have been waiting.

If only I was married. I only I had a better marriage. If only I had children. If only I had better children. If only I had a job. If only I had a better job. If only I could lose weight. If only I had a retirement fund. If only, if only _____ . Can you fill in your own blank?

Our list of “if only’s” rob us from embracing the life we have been given right now.

We dream of a grandiose tomorrow without processing or enjoying the moments of today.  Trust me, I understand  difficult “today’s,” and in those times, I, too, have wished the day away.

Emotionally, I worked through the unknowns of our family’s year of unemployment, but I continually had to fight my own “If only” tendencies. Learning that this mentality spirals quickly was a necessary reality. One can get completely lost in the dream of a new tomorrow without seizing  their today. When that happens, neither is realized. So I set goals for my new tomorrow, but relish in the experience of this day, both good and bad.

Will you join me as we embrace today?

As I type in this moment, I celebrate TODAY, but still dream of all that God has in store for the future.


  1. I just came across your blog for the 31 Days in October Party, and your post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I just found out today that my mother’s cancer has come back and she must get ready for more chemotherapy and surgery. A very hard reality to bear knowing how hard it was for her the first time around.
    At times like this it’s hard to look at positives and embrace what God has given our family, but we must and realize it’s all for reasons we won’t know until later.
    “If only I… could trust in God’s will.”


    Kassandra Wood Reply:

    @ Dear Lynelle,
    I just wanted to say that your reply hit home with me. A few years ago, we found out my father-in-law had cancer. For a couple of years my mother-in-law nurtured him through surgeries and chemo. One night, she went to the hospital with what she believed to be a bladder infection. She died 36 hours later and we later found out that she had an aggressive, terminal cancer.She was so determined to care for her husband, she didn’t realize she was sick. My father in law is still fighting, 7 years later. The doctors seem to play cat and mouse with his spots. For months he will be cancer free and then the spots return. They just found a couple more and he is currently going through, yet another, round of chemo and this time they added radiation. Last week, we found out that my father-in-law’s mother has cancer… she is a survivor of breast cancer… her last time having battled cancer was over 20 years ago. I have cried when considering what our family is going through and when the reality of the probability of my children or my husband falling ill with cancer. There have been a few times that I have wondered why… and how… and have struggled with faith. Each time I watch one of them return from a doctor’s visit I realize that I must have faith. The Lord has created beautiful minds…. physicians, oncologists, radiologists…. I must have faith. Because for every evil illness the enemy creates, the Lord creates hundreds of thousands of beautiful minds to battle them. What else can that be other than the grace of God? I will pray for your peace of mind… and for the well-being of your mother. You are not alone in your struggles and neither is she. Thank You for sharing such a private, intimate thing. Sometimes it is easy to forget there are others with similar struggles! With Kindest Regards, Kassandra


  2. This is more difficult than it sounds. At one point in my life I remember telling people, “I hope I’m never content, I want to always be striving for something better.” Yikes. A whole life of not being content? Now, I look forward to the day that I’m content. Hahaha Sounds a bit ridiculous. It is a process and I’m still working on it.



    Jens Reply:

    You are so right, and trust me, I have been there. And the striving and contentment don’t have to be either/or…maybe I’ll make that another post. 🙂 Both definitely can go hand in hand.


  3. It is such a beautiful thought to be absolutely content with where we are at in life. Easier said than done, but beautiful none the less. I often wish my way backwards with my children trying to hang onto their childhood as they grow so fast. I really strive to live in each moment with a content thankful heart.


  4. “If only” usually leads to the want of more…and it does always elude us. Wouldn’t it be great to replace “If only” with, “Only if….{it be His will}”

    Thanks Jen! Hopping around to all the 31 day girls today. Great way to spend a Saturday morning, coffee in hand as the girls sleep in!


  5. I just attended a woman’s conference with Priscilla Shirer as the speaker. Her main point was that we are always wishing for the next step in life, never happy with were we are at. I feel God speaking to me, enjoy this moment, enjoy your life now, not tomorrow or yesterday but here, today. Thanks for reinforcing what God is speaking to me. 🙂 Blessings!


  6. Kristie scott says:

    Thanks Jen, there are far too many days that I “wish the day away!” Hoping for a better tomorrow instead of embracing today! Thanks for the reminder!


  7. Amen! Yes, it is SO easy to get caught up in the “if onlys” instead of being content. More stuff, less stuff, different stuff, different people, different places, none of it will truly make me happy. I want to enjoy where I am more every day!


  8. Amen Sister. Thank you for speaking Truth. I have been struggling with this as we have moved into a new house this summer. If only all my projects were done, I would feel peace in my new home. This week I finished that list and still no peace. God then spoke to me and said, “You will only find peace in ME.”
    Keep up the encouraging blogs. You are making a difference!


  9. Amen to your last comment! Looking forward to what God shares thru you this month!



  10. I spent much of my entire life (for reason in childhood & adolescence, mind you) waiting for Something Better, or believing I (anyone, perhaps) deserved Something Better than what I was experiencing; however, I see now that perhaps in some situations while I should not be content, I should have made better choices within the situation and perhaps it could have been better.

    I have one if-only I may never be able to fully put behind me, that I realized too, too late, that, in one situation, that I should have not only been very content, made better choices, but I should have been very happy with what I had. Now I do have what I can only describe as a valid if-only about that situation. I cannot take my decision back and I suppose could not have known then what I know now about myself.

    At the same time, I work hard to find contentment now. It is difficult with being unemployed twice over in the seven months since I relocated to a new state with my guy and with other issues I am not at liberty to speak about at hand. I wish I could have faith it would all work out and soon enough we were not destitute, homeless, in December (when we will no longer be able to pay our rent if I do not yet have a job), but I struggle to do that. We did not have an emergency fund, unfortunately.

    Please do pray for me, if you are willing to do so. I need all the prayers and positive energy I can get as does my guy. Thanks.


  11. This was MUCH needed in my life…. I recently posted about my never-ending “wants”…. 🙂 You never amaze me with your ability to read my mind and post a reply to my thoughts! j/k Seriously, though… Thank You!


  12. Don’t we all deal with our if only’s…If only my daddy didn’t have cancer…if only my son didn’t have Cerebral Palsy…if only I could stay at home with my kids full-time…if only, if only. All we can do is take our if only’s and leave them at the feet of Christ…He will carry them for us!


  13. This very idea has been on my mind and close to my heart lately! This is SO how I want to live my life. Challenging at times…but so very worth it! I recently wrote about this subject on my blog, too: http://beckykeife.blogspot.com/2010/09/wanting.html


  14. Oh, Jen, “If onlys …” rob us of so much. They steal our JOY and freeze us up with fear. Great post, my friend. Thank you for sharing today!


  15. It is such a difficult balance to learn to be content with where we are, yet to continue to strive and grow. Every season of our life has something for us to enjoy, and something to learn.


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