During the past couple of days, i have encountered several who live their lives by an "if only" philosophy. Their happiness depends on some future conclusion: if only this task were completed, happiness would come; if only there were more money in my bank account, happiness would come; if only others loved me more, happiness would come. My heart goes out to those who are dependent on future events or the actions of others to realize happiness, because i don't believe such happiness will ever arrive. i continue to try and eliminate "if only's," "should's," "need to's," "ought to's," and the like from my vocabulary. i am coming to realize that true happiness comes from experiencing each moment of the hear and now fully, from depending on God to take care of the future, and from ceasing to regret past mistakes. If i live in the present moment and sense God in my heart right here, right now, there is true joy, peace, and happiness, and that happiness is not dependent on external events or on the actions of others.
i must mention one surprise that came to me last evening as i opened our devotional booklet for this new year. Each night just before we fall asleep, my wife and i read a daily devotional. The devotional for January 1 was titled, "A Clean Slate." i was astonished because this was the very image i had of this new year. i remarked to my wife that perhaps this was a sign that God is leading me to some new truth in this coming year, or perhaps it's just a happy coincidence. i'll try to practice what i preached in the paragraph above and trust God to take care of the future by leading me to find out whether "sign" or "coincidence" is the right label for what i've described.
May you live life fully in the present and enjoy the gifts of God in each moment you experience today and through the rest of the moments of this new year.