Everyone has regrets about the past. Many of them show up as a result of our attempts to fulfill unmet longings. It is relatively easy to see how we feel regret when we act on our longings in ways that take us further from God. For example, when we have an affair, rather than turning to God to fulfill our desire to feel love, we turn to someone else – and that leads to regret. Or when we allow our longing for purpose to cause us to become workaholics, that leads to regret. And when we repeat actions like these over and over again, we get stuck in a repetitive cycle of longing and regret, longing and regret. But there is hope and it comes from God. He still wants to do grace-filled, Spirit-powered things through you. With God, your future life can be amazing. This relationship must first begin with trust.
In Mark 10:52, “Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight….” Bartimaeus seized the opportunity to cry out to Jesus when the Son of God walked by his mat. In that moment, he publically expressed his belief in who Jesus was and what He could do. Then, he accepted the grace of God that allowed him to see again. Many of us are like the blind beggar, Bartimaeus, carrying major conflict, disappointment, or grief on our shoulders. We’re lonely, we have regrets and feel that happiness has passed us by. These sorts of thoughts and emotions can generate a lot of pain. But this isn’t God’s desire for us. Jesus wants to give you a fresh start. This is a gift that we can’t earn or buy. It’s free and it’s called grace. This gives you the ability to make a fresh start regardless of your past or what you’ve done or the things you’ve brought on yourself.
In order to live a life beyond regrets, it’s important to first hand your regrets over to God. Seize the moment and recognize when God gives you an opportunity. How many times have you heard the phrase “everything happens for a reason”? Every situation that occurs in your life, whether good or bad is an opportunity for something greater, even if you can’t see it in that moment or if you don’t understand God’s will for you right now.
Next, it’s important that you move against your fears. Fear is something that we all experience, especially on our journey toward deeper fulfillment and success in life. Being who we really are, expressing ourselves boldly, and going for what we want in life can cause a great deal of fear in us. In order to move through your fear in a positive way, you have to let them go. The process begins with admitting, owning and expressing your fears. The final piece in the process of letting go your fear is a conscious and deliberate choice, not a reactionary form of denial. Once you’ve allowed yourself the time to work through your fear, you can declare that you are choosing to let go of your fear and use its energy in a positive way.
Third, announce your faith and the changes you want to make in your life. Declare that a change will happen today. The key to this is really visualizing positive outcomes. You have to have a vision of the outcomes you desire. Think about them, speak them out loud, write them down, or even close your eyes and visualize how you want things to be and more important, how you want to feel. If your fear is focused on something specific like your work, a relationship, money, etc. – visualize it being how you want it to be and allow yourself to feel how it will ultimately feel.
This is all a lot easier said than done. How many times have you said, “I’d like to change. I’d like to start over. I’d like to be different, but I just can’t.” And you’re right. You can’t change by yourself. If you could, you would have already done it. You need a power greater than yourself to make the changes that really make a difference in your life. You need God’s power.
The Bible tells us we can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). Philippians 4 focuses on the God-given power to endure any circumstance. Philippians 4:12 notes, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Paul had faced times of abundance, yet he had also faced many trials for his faith. Despite the problems he had dealt with and the regrets he may have had, Paul believed and taught that he could persevere because he could do “all things through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4 also focuses on what the believer can do through the strength that Christ gives. This isn’t a promise that as Christians we will have superpowers or that we will be invincible or immune to life’s challenges. Instead, the promise of these verses is that we will have strength from the Lord to faithfully endure the difficulties we face in life.
Finally, if you’re ready to live your life beyond regrets, it’s imperative that you recognize your purpose and that you don’t give up. And when times get tough, don’t quit. Keep going until you can say, “It is finished.” If you will seize this moment, if you will move against your fears, if you will announce that you need God, then God’s grace will be available to you so that you can accomplish things that are even beyond your imagination. Trust in God who will be with you every step of the way.