“If only…” may be the two most dangerous words in a leader’s vocabulary.
Let me explain: Right now I am using the Blended Plan on YouVersion.com for my daily Bible reading. Last Sunday I came across some verses that I’m sure I’ve read/skimmed over dozens of times but never really took note of before:
So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.” Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work. – Exodus 36:4 (NIV)
As I sat there reading this passage I found myself dreaming. Not the healthy “What If…?” kind of dreaming that leads to action. No. I mean the “If only…” kind. The kind where you sit there going “God, if only our people gave more…” or “God, if only I had more volunteers…” or “God, if only you would let me have _______________…”
Dreaming about where you want to go is great. It can lead to clear actions that, when taken, can lead to positive change. “If only…” kind of dreaming is different. It’s the sense of entitlement that God/your boss/society/fill-in-the-blank owes you something. It’s not about what you can do to make positive things happen. It becomes about waiting on others to do things FOR you.
As leaders we need to be careful about the thoughts that we allow ourselves to indulge in. They can fuel our dreams and spur us on to selfless actions, or they can weigh us down and poison our soul with selfishness, wallowing, and self-pity.
So now I’d love to hear from you. What are some of the “If only…” conversations you’ve been having with God lately and how can you turn them into actions that will lead to positive change?