Sunday, July 8, 2007

Slaying the Beast

Have you ever found yourself saying, “If only I had . . .” or “If only so & so would . . . ”? I know I’m guilty of this. There always seems to be that one “thing” that I can’t have or at least that I can’t have YET. And I know I’m not the only one. Some of the “if only’s” that I know my friends are facing right now are as follows:

If only I was debt free.
If only depression/alcoholism didn’t run in our family.
If only we could afford a house.
If only a family member wasn’t battling cancer.
If only we could get pregnant.
If only I didn’t have to work and could stay home with my children.
If only my in-laws treated me better.
If only I had a loving spouse.
If only our marriage would be reconciled.
If only a friend or family member would accept Christ as his/her personal Savior.
If only I could get published.
If only I had time to workout.
If only I could afford to take a vacation.
If only I was pain free.

The “if only” that I’ve had at the top of my personal list lately is “If only I could slay ‘the beast,’” which is the nickname that I’ve given to a project that I’ve been working on for several months now. I had hoped to finish it before I went on vacation, but I just couldn’t wrap it up. Then, my first week back from vacation, I decided to work on some smaller projects in order to prove to myself that I could still do my job, which I had started to question. With those smaller projects behind me, I returned to the beast and told myself that it had to be conquered by tonight.

“The beast” started out to be very straight-forward. There was a lot to read, but I didn’t think it would be nearly as bad as it has been. It had gotten to the point that it was unwieldy and seemed so much bigger than my skill set. I just couldn’t seem to tame it. Until now. A draft is done. It isn’t the page-turner that I’d like for it to be, but it is ready for another set of eyes to pierce through it.

Throughout this time, I’ve been postponing my joy in anticipation of finishing this project. And yet, there’s been so much that I could have been joyful about throughout the process. For instance, I feel like I’ve identified some tasks that were taking me longer than necessary and have found some ways to make those tasks more efficient when I take on the next project. I’ve learned more succinct ways of phrasing things. And, I’ve been reminded daily of how I must depend on God for His help and wisdom.

I see this pattern often in my life. I wait for something big--an "if only"--to happen. I’m content for a while, and then a new “if only” makes its way to the forefront of my mind, and I postpone my joy in anticipation of fulfillment of the new “if only” criterion. It’s like a little child who asks for “just one thing” only to return and ask for another “just one thing” a few moments later because the previous toy or whatever is no longer satisfying.

By doing this, I’m not accepting that right where I am is God’s “Plan A” (as my friend calls it) for my life. I am doubting that this is God’s best for me. That He wants me to be right where I am right now to fulfill His purpose. And that I don’t need to rush things.

I wish that by writing this, I’d somehow be immune to going through another “if only” rollercoaster ride. But I know it’s not that simple. Instead, I’ll need to be on the alert for it and remind myself that the One Thing that my soul is really searching for is available right now; I don’t have to wait for it.

“Enough” by Chris Tomlin
All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

You are my supply
My breath of life
And still more awesome than I know
You are my reward worth living for
And still more awesome than I know

All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

You’re my sacrifice
Of greatest price
And still more awesome than I know
You’re the coming King You are everything
And still more awesome than I know

More than all I want
More than all I need
You are more than enough for me
More than all I know
More than all I can say
You are more than enough for me

6 comments:

Clarissa said...

What a wonderful word of encouragement, Alyssa. This beast is definitely mine to struggle with as well. I don't want to come to the end of my life just to find that I "if only-ed" it away and missed many wonderful things that God put before me while I was wishing for something else. I think I have to battle this beast daily, 'cause the "if onlies" can really carry me away. Thanks for the upward lift.

"Bluebonnet in the snow" said...

C - I'm glad you were encouraged. I'll be right beside you battling the beast, so maybe we can provide accountability for one another.

onevoice said...

"I’m content for a while, and then a new “if only” makes its way to the forefront of my mind, and I postpone my joy in anticipation of fulfillment of the new “if only” criterion."
Those words say it all for me. Thank you for sharing your struggle with this because even if we don't realize it, I think most of us have this problem.
And by the way, Alyssa, seriously start submitting your stuff - it's really good :)

spaghettipie said...

Great thoughts, and am likewise encouraged. So...what's the beast?

"Bluebonnet in the snow" said...

OV - You are so kind; I think the same thing about your writing!

SP - I think I may have misled you into thinking I've finished a manuscript; I wish! The beast is actually a project for work; sorry for the evasiveness.

spaghettipie said...

*laughing* I was actually worried it was our Writer's Group assignment! :)