“Oh, that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me, when his lamp shone upon my head, and by his light I walked through darkness, as I was in my prime,when the friendship of God was upon my tent, when the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were all around me, when my steps were washed with butter, and the rock poured out for me streams of oil! – Job 29:1-6.
A life of regret is an “if only” life… if only I had walked closer to the Lord… if only I would have invested in my marriage more…. if only I would have spent more time with my children… if only I would have attended church more… if only I would have not wasted that money… if only… a life filled with regrets, retreats, and remorse. Author Kurt Vonnegut said, “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “what might have been.”
What would a “no regret” life really look like? Is it even possible? There was only one person that has lived a regret free life in the literal sense and that is Jesus. The rest of us fail, we struggle, we get in our own way, and as a result constantly manufacture regret. We will fail and we will have regrets. The answer to living the “no regret” life is not found in living without failure, but more in how we deal with that failure.
What will we do with our failures? We can choose to kick ourselves to the curb because of our failures, our sins, our mistakes and let them dominate our lives and our attention or we can “look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,” (Hebrews 12:2) We can either keep our eyes focused on the past or “press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” (Philippians 3:12).
It has been said many times and in many ways, but the fundamental truth is the same: We cannot change our last 5 seconds, 5 minutes, 5 years, no matter how much we want to turn the clock back. Living a regret free life is one that is not focused and obsessed with our pasts and letting that define our lives. Our identity is found in Jesus and working out our faith day by day. In the spiritual life, direction makes all the difference. It’s not where we have been but where we’re going that matters. When we let go of the regret, God opens up opportunities for today.
This week, focus on forgetting your past and the regrets so that you can so you can live the life you were made for. Micah 7:19 tells us, “He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”
C. S. Lewis reminded us that our ultimate goal is to hear God say someday, “Well done, good and faithful servant:” “Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
- What are your “what if” moments?
- Is it hard for you to forget your past? Why or why not?
- How have you been successful in dealing with your past regrets?
- What difference does Jesus make when it comes to dealing with your past sins and regrets?
- Pray this week and ask God to help you with any regrets you have in life.