Regrets. Not fun to have. What are they? They are defined as distress of mind, or sorrow for what has been done or failed to be done. We just celebrated Memorial Day here in the U.S. A time to remember those who lost their lives in serving our nation. When I was a child, I just thought it was another day to have a picnic. It took maturity and wisdom to understand that it was a day of sorrow for many families. A time for them to ponder their loved ones choices and their own responses to those decisions.
We have been dealing with this Covid pandemic for several months now. Our leaders made decisions that have affected us all for many years to come. The shelter in place decisions which caused job loss, construction delays, airline disruption–which will impact our economy for many years. Will they have regret for the decisions they made? They did the best they could with the best information they had. Will historians laud them or deride them? Only time will tell. All I know is that I made the best decision I could with what they told me.
I’ve come to realize in my older years–that it is probably impossible to live without regret. The goal is to limit the numbers of those regrets, while also limiting the range of those regrets.
How? First of all become a listener. Listen to those who have gone before. Pay attention to their advice. God is my first source, so reading His Word gives me a base of good wisdom to follow. I try to follow his advice.
Pick the experts you choose to listen to carefully. Not all proclaimed experts are that! I know that sounds obvious, but be careful.
Practice responding, not reacting. Read 1 Samuel 25, a story of David’s reaction to Nabal’s reaction and then watch as Abigail chose to respond! She saved David some serious regrets. He would have destroyed a whole household for one man’s derision. Often when we feel slighted, misunderstood or belittled, we react quickly without wisdom. Learning to control our emotions and be led by the spirit limits our regret.
Choosing to walk in love–no matter how hard it is can limit our regrets as well. Scripture tells us charity never fails. It may take patience to see the fruit rewarded, but this too will reduce excess regrets.
Live your life with intention. Take time to intentionally, yes on purpose, think through how you would like your life to count. Personally, I struggle with “goals” at times, but my mission and core value is to add value to those I meet. To encourage them in whatever way I can. Be it a word, a prayer or an action–I desire to help people know they are seen, heard and regarded by now only “someone” but by our God. This mission leads me to put myself second, and others first. Not always easily or accomplished, but it helps!
Accept that regrets will happen, but seek to learn from them. Seek to figure out what if anything you could have done differently. Make them count. Titus 2 encourages us to teach those younger than ourselves. Many times by sharing our losses, we help others win. It is often this way that God turns everything out for His good.
When regret occurs, do not linger on them. Identify what they are, repent if necessary and then move on. Let them lie under the precious blood of Jesus. Do not let them torment or condemn you.
Jesus came so that we can have life that that more abundantly. He did not intend for us to live with abundant regrets–but with His freedom. He paid the price, lets enjoy it!