I must confess I swallowed the concept of-


hook, line, and sinker a LONG time ago.  Life has dimmed the illusion, but subconsciously I still think ---IF ONLY I-----

You know of what I speak---those unwritten but well understood rules of cause and effect---

If only I--

study hard--I will do well in school and have a good job when I graduate

eat right and exercise daily--I will live a long and healthy life

obey the rules of the road--I will drive accident free

avoid over exposure to the sun--I will never wrinkle or have skin cancer

stay on my side of the fence--the neighbor will stay on his

be kind--I will be well thought of

work hard--I will be successful in my career

am honest with others--they will be honest with me

am a good wife--I will have a long and happy marriage

am a good mother--my children will respect and love me

am a good friend--I will have many friends

treat all with respect--they will treat me with respect

I could go on and on and then there are those IF ONLY'S of a spiritual nature-

If only I---

go to church at least twice weekly-

read my Bible daily-

sing in the church choir-

teach Sunday School and Vacation Bible School-

give my tithe-

support all local, national and international missionaries-

cook for the sick and those who are bereaved-

pray at all meals and to begin and end my day-

God will richly bless my life and I will live in plenty surrounded by love and admiration.


I found I could NOT do it-there were too many rules--too little time--and not enough of me to keep all the balls in the air.  I was a dismal failure at keeping all the If Only's--and that must be the reason My Happily Ever After dissolved into What The Heck Happened!  Truly--all things considered--I did a pretty good job of doing it all---and still--the deck of cards all came crashing down upon me because someone was always adding another ball and soon there were too many balls to keep it all going.

My guess is the "If Only's" become ingrained at an early age---with the attempt of our parents to civilize us and keep us on the straight and narrow.  Why certainly--this is all for our own good--in a desire to guarantee a long and successful life.  Somehow along the way, we begin to look around and become convinced if we only follow the rules---happiness is the guaranteed result.


What happens when we follow all the rules---dot all the i's and cross all the t's--never waver--keep our nose to the grind stone and our feet on the path---AND YET---things go wrong---horribly wrong---tragically wrong---THEN WHAT???  Our illusion of success from rule following becomes a delusional nightmare of WHAT HAPPENED?

THEN---My Friends---THEN---I learned who God is---was---and always has been.  Then I learned it was not about following the 12 step program to a successful life---but a life long pursuit of a relationship with Him.  There is not one thing wrong with any of the things I listed--but when the rule following became my focus---disaster was sure to follow.  There are no guarantees in life and life can sometimes be a stinky--slimy--ugly mess.


I finally turned to Jesus---the one who came that we might be free from the rules---the one who loves us in spite of our inability to follow the rules---the one who forgives our every failure to obey all the rules---

and then the If Only  turns into  W H A T  I F--

What if--we trust Him---

we have faith in Him

we love Him

we turn to Him

we cry out for Him

we look to Him and Him only--


will we understand joy and the true abundant life.

We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they sayis perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
James 3:2


  1. What an excellent post. This is one of your best Lulu. I have nothing to add but admiration - and a bit of envy that I did not write this post on my Blog.

    God bless you.

    1. Thank you for the high praise from the Master of Verbage, Victor!
      Blessings, Friend!

  2. Lulu ... good stuff. Thanks for making it clear that if we spend too much time on the woulda / coulda / shoulda's, we're missing the boat ... and the blessings.

    Weekend joys and rest to you, friend ...

    1. Your response turned on the light bulb and another post will be born---THANK YOU--for your inspiration, Friend!
      Blessings To You, Dear Friend!

  3. Great Post!!! I agree one of your best and one that speaks to all of us!! I am the proverbial shoulda, woulda, coulda person and mix people pleaser in with that and my life is like a ride on a roller coaster!! Not to even mention the guilt that all of that can bring on! It is only when I quieten myself and try to align my thoughts and actions with God that I find the true joy and contentment that ONLY he can bring.

    1. GUILT--now that would take an entire book to expound upon and People Pleasing is a No Win proposition. You are correct--the only true joy and contentment comes from Him.


  4. I agree. I think that "If only's" go hand-in-hand with the "What if's" of the world. It's too much worrying. You'll never get anything done. (And as Dr. Laura Schlesinger says, What If is for children. Another smart lady.) Just get out there and do the best you can, try to always be kind, and that reflects the love of Jesus Christ. Another excellent post. ~:)

    1. It seems like we are trying to write our own fairy tale, RIGHT? Reflectors---great imagery of what we should be.
      Blessings, Sparky!

  5. I heard this once, and I like it:
    "Today, I will not should on myself."

    1. ME TOO! I am going to remember that one!
      Blessings, Sweet Friend!


Your comments keep my writing and often cause me to think. A written form of a hug or a pat on the back and an occasional slap into reality---I treasure them all!