At the beginning of a new year, many of us look back to what we had hoped to accomplish in the last 12 months but we regret that we have failed.
I know someone who is stuck…stuck in regrets. At age 40, she has a failed marriage and three kids who she only gets to see once in five years. She started a business that flounders because she has long-term health issues. She has lived out of her car, with a friend, at a cheap hotel, surrounded by debt and poor choices. In the midst of her anguish, her mother passed away and she can’t quit grieving. Every time I check in on her, her negative words show her hurt but also reveal a heart full of regret. Can she move from her past, through the present and to the future with any kind of joy and fulfillment?
Focusing on the past is unproductive. Learning from our mistakes does not need to take forever. But when we nurse and feed our regrets emotionally and mentally, we put up a block to our future. Giving your past mistakes power cripples you from moving forward.
To put away our regrets, we first must deal with our current reality. What in your life is worthy of your praise to God?
“…whatever is excellent, whatever is worthy of praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8b)
The reason we need to consider where we are now, is that our future is determined by what we do now. Here is a process you can use to get rid of any regrets from your past. This journey uses the acrostic REPAIR.
Repent and receive God’s forgiveness. “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.” (Acts 3:19) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Engage with anyone with whom you need to make amends. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16)
Purpose to forgive yourself. “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
Ask the Holy Spirit to give you counsel as to what you can do to not repeat your error. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Intentionally live above guilt or fear from your past mistakes – because your slate is clean. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (Psalm 130:3)
Release your future to the Lord trusting you are in His hand. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)
If you work through this process now, you can be prepared for a positive future. A future that can come as soon as tomorrow!
A pastor once told his young mentee, “All God wants in us is a teachable spirit and an obedient heart. With just those two things, He can do anything!” You have everything you need to have a regret-free future.
Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday today, and forever.” He lived His life steady-on. Yes, He was God, but He was also man. He felt every issue you have felt, whether during His life or on the cross. We need to imitate His example of living our lives steady-on. Some of the directives in Hebrews 13:1-7 that lead up to that statement are:
- Keep on.
- Do not forget.
- Keep pure.
- Keep your lives free.
- Say with confidence.
The subjects in these verses range from leadership, to marriage. to money, to hospitality, and to loving others…kind of all over the map. Don’t make this next year harder than it is by trying to fix all your regrets. He’s got them all, so REPAIR and give every regret to God.
During 2024 live regret free, and become a true representative of the only Kingdom that is eternal. Steady-on, woman of God. Keep on keeping on!