How many times do you look back at your life and wish you had made different choices along the way? All of us do this from time to time. In fact, as I reflect on my latest adventure (the CLASS seminar which I've posted about recently), I think of the fact that I'm 39, for real, and that I've spent so many years early in my faith walk (my 20's) just getting by. However, there is no time like the present, no matter where we are in life to start with a new plan of action. I would like to share a devotion written by Becky Kinney, Director of Womens Ministries at KC/FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). My favorite phrase was at the end where she states "The key to living a satisfying life without regrets is in recognizing the eternal value of the little things you do." I wholeheartedly agree. Happy reading!
Life Without Regrets-by Becky Kinney
Jane was in the winter of her life and had many regrets. She spent much of her time reflecting over her many years and the things that she wished she would have done differently if only she could do it all over again. She would have been a more compassionate mother, allowing her children to see her softer side more often. She would have taken more risks instead of always making the safe and predictable choice. Change would have been an adventure instead of a struggle. Daily thinking about what might have been brought her great sadness and robbed her of the joy she should feel over the wonderful life she had lived. It also took a toll on her relationship with her family and friends.
I do not believe that there is a life without any regrets. However, regrets can become either burdens that interfere with your present happiness and restrict your future, or a motivation to move forward with hope. Many of us become overcome by regrets. Monica, a nurse, said: “Not the cancers, not the bedsores, not the death and dying…What bothers me the most is when a dying person verbalizes their regrets about what they ‘shoulda done’ or ‘coulda done’ in life. Life should be lived so that there are no regrets in the end…no missed opportunities.”
It is important to determine what your regret really is. Is it something you did? Something you didn’t do? Something someone else did or did not do? A circumstance beyond your control? Is it based on facts? Was it a situation that you assume would have happened if you had chosen differently? Holding on to regret will produce consequences. When we hold on we experience feelings of sadness, possibly anger, and then bitterness may work its way into our lives. Here are just a few steps to help us look to the future and not dwell on the past.
- Write down the truth from the past. Writing about your regrets, feelings, and frustrations can help a lot. Putting your thoughts into written words can clarify them in ways that will astonish you.
- Talking to a trusted friend or family member can also help you identify any false thinking and help you sort through your feelings instead of keeping them internalized. Forgive and make amends. If there is something you can do now, do it!! Ask God for courage, strength and insight.
- Recognize what God has taught you and the growth you experienced even though your life has turned out differently than you imagined. See the opportunities that are now yours, instead of focusing on the “what might have beens.”
- Live today like it matters for eternity.
- Decide the kind of person you want to be---and do something today to make it true.
- Focus on what you want to give, not what you want to get. Set your goals for living significantly, rather than looking at the reward you want to get. The key to living a satisfying life without regrets is in recognizing the eternal value of the little things you do.
“At the annual sand-sculpting contest near the ocean in Newport Beach,California, talented artists create incredible art out of sand. However, a few days later, those works of art have been washed away by the elements. Our lives don’t have to be washed away and forgotten; they can be significant.”
God’s purpose for your life is to trust Jesus Christ.
“Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Don’t stifle the Spirit. Don’t despise prophecies, but test all things. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” I Thessalonians 5:28