Yesterday I stayed home to do some work on the computer. I could have gone to the beach with the grandkids. It turned out that I didn’t get done what I wanted to anyway. I should have gone to the beach. I felt something familiar to all of us. Regret.
I regretted my decision. I missed a great opportunity with my Treasures. They grow up so fast. I should take advantage of these opportunities. But instead, I let something else distract me.
At church a couple of weeks ago, they sang a song by Matthew West. The song is called, “Hello, My Name is.” The verse that caught my attention goes like this:
Hello, my name is regret
I’m pretty sure we have met
Every single day of your life
I’m the whisper inside
That won’t let you forget
I am finding there are a lot of opportunities for regret to whisper in my ear lately. This move to Florida has brought huge changes in every area of my life. Changes that take time to adjust to and cause me to feel like I want to turn back the clock and go back to what was familiar and comfortable. I remember feeling the same way when we moved from Ohio to Iowa. There were times when I was especially homesick where I would start second guessing our decisions. I’d wonder if we had made the wrong choices. On the most difficult days I would yearn for the opportunity to go back and change things. I could close my eyes and see my old home, know exactly where everything was in my memory. See the view from my window, hear the familiar sounds, and know that it was home.
But it’s not home now. God has started a new chapter. If we really pay attention, we will find that He is doing that more frequently than we realize. Life is about growth and for that to happen we need new experiences. We can’t keep looking over our shoulder at the “old days” and wishing to go back. We have to move forward even though it’s hard. Of course we don’t have to ignore the memories, but we can’t live in them.
I have always tried to teach my boys to make choices that don’t bring regret. Things like mending relationships and taking the time to tell the people you care about just how much they mean to you while you still have them with you. I also try to help them to recognize opportunities and to take full advantage of every one they can.
I guess I should listen to my own advice! If I had done so yesterday, I would have had a lovely time enjoying the sun and the waves on a beautiful 80 degree day in February.
But I didn’t. And now I have to live with my choices. It does me no good at all to dwell on the fact that I missed it. I can grouse about it and wish it had been different but I can’t change it. I just have to move forward and learn from my experience.
The dictionary says regret is ” to feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity) Regret is about the past.
The Bible challenges us to take a different view. Isaiah 43:18-19 says, Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
If I am constantly looking back and wishing to return to the way of life that was familiar I will miss what God wants to do from here forward. I will become stuck in the past. I will constantly be comparing where I am with where I was.
Ecclesiastes 7:10 says, Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
Today I am asking God to give me wisdom so I may see the hope for the future and not be tempted to remain in the past, whether it’s the distant past or just in the regrets of yesterday.
Ask God today if there is something in your past that you need to leave there. Maybe it’s a choice you made or perhaps it’s a choice someone else made for you. Either way, God wants you to find joy in this day and hope in tomorrow. He’s already there and knows the way. Keep your eyes on Him.