A Benefit of Regrets

Seasons.  I have heard so many times that the beauty of living here in Virginia is the change of seasons.  The chance to experience all four of them.  And while I enjoy the newness of spring and the glorious colors of autumn, I still maintain I could be a one-season girl and would be totally happy with it.  (I won’t say which season that is but it certainly has nothing to do with snow shovels, ice melt and feels-like temperatures that make my teeth hurt!)  But I will agree each season has its unique beauty – and purpose.  No doubt even those countries with just two seasons – wet and dry – depend on both seasons!

I am currently in the empty-nest season of my life.  Is that called autumn?  I’m not sure but I do know I have been slow to identify, notice and (especially) to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of this season (of life).  But I am getting there:)  And, in keeping with my word and focus for this year, I really want this to be a season of growth.  And of blooming!!

Lately, I have been thinking about regrets.  All of us have them – even those in much earlier seasons of life.  The older, shall I say wiser, I become not only do I have more regrets but I have become more sensitive to them.  Regrets apply to all areas of life.  Relationships, personal goals or dreams, decisions and choices and, of course, regrets in our spiritual life.  It doesn’t matter if you became a Christian later in life, or as a child, we all have regrets when it comes to our walk with the Savior.

Regrets are universal.  Regrets are human.  But what I do with my regrets can make a tremendous difference.  Too often I allow my regrets to stagnate or paralyze me.  The emotions and thoughts tied to the regrets seem to chain me in place – or, all too often, continually pull me to the past.  Either way, I am unable to “press toward the mark.”  To make good choices…continuing to run my race.

Two completely random examples.  Perhaps I regret not making better food choices and creating poor eating habits when I was younger.  Now my health (and weight) are not what I would like. Now is not the time to decide, “oh well… it’s just the way I am.  I’ll just continue eating all the junk.”  Or perhaps I regret my part in a family relationship; however, the other person is no longer even living.  I cannot change or affect that person or our relationship in any way now but it haunts me and I tend to dwell on it daily.

In both of these (contrived) situations, my response is unhelpful.  I can make changes in my eating.  I could impact my health but I choose not to do so.  I am unable to change the past with someone who is not living yet I continue to spend mental and emotional energy trying to do just that.  The effects can be noticed in my physical, mental and spiritual well-being.  Both scenarios can potentially influence not only me but not those around me as well.

The answer is not to simply stuff, or bury, regrets either.  That does not make them go away.  However, I think I can benefit from my regrets.  If I will acknowledge them and then surrender them to Christ, He can use them.  The regrets that want to haunt me can instead teach me, mold me and help me to make wiser choices and decisions.  As I move forward.  Just as I do with my sin, and its guilt and condemnation, I can nail my regrets to the cross.

Nail it to the cross
Get it under the blood
Drown your pain
And every stain
In the mercy flood
Nail it to the cross
Find hope and forgiveness
Kneel at the tree
And walk away free
Nail it to the cross

“Nail to the Cross” by the Whisnants




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