Flipping My “Whens and Thens”

I’ve spent most of my life wishing it away. Perhaps some of you can relate. Somewhere along life’s journey, I got caught in a pattern of “when… then…” It sounds something like this: “WHEN my children are older and not so needy, THEN I’ll have time to take care of myself and pursue my own interests.”

The problem with that kind of thinking is that the “when” part is usually some unrealistic scenario that can never be fully accomplished or “done.” That means the “then” part —which in our hearts we know is infinitely more important — gets neglected, put off, pushed aside, or forgotten all together. We can truly wish our life away waiting for all of our circumstances to line up in some perfect way…. so that THEN we will finally be happy.

Or… we can choose a different path. This year, I’m not going to resolve to DO anything differently. I’m resolving to THINK differently. I’m going to flip my “whens and thens”:

OLD: When my children are older and not so needy, then I’ll have time to take care of myself and pursue my own interests.
NEW: When I take time to pursue my own interests and teach my children to be independent and pursue theirs, then they won’t be so needy.

OLD: When I get through this day/week of work, then I can relax and enjoy life.
NEW: When I relax and enjoy life, then work can be a pleasure not just something to be tolerated.

OLD: When my loved ones change their behavior or attitude, then I can be more loving and patient with them.
NEW: When I am more loving and patient with my loved ones, then they are far more likely to respond in turn.

OLD: When I get caught up on bills and have more money, then I’ll give more.
NEW: When I give more, then I will have more to give. (That’s a promise from God! 2 Cor 9:8-11; Malachi 3:10)

OLD: When I get my house cleaned/organized, then I can take time to play with my kids.
NEW: When I take time to play with my kids – and teach them the fun of working together – then the house will get cleaned (and I won’t regret yet another day of missed opportunities)

OLD: When I have more time, I’ll spend more time with God.
NEW: When I spend more time with God, then He will “make my paths straight” so I can do more in less time. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

OLD: When I have all the things I want in life, then I’ll be content.
NEW: When I learn to be content in any circumstance, then I will see that I already have all I need.

Happy New Year. May a flipped attitude make this your best year yet!

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