Regrets. We all have them. It may be something you wish you hadn’t done, or a missed opportunity where you didn’t take action and wish that you had. It might be something that was done to you; you were the victim, yet you still feel regret.
The Sorry Cycle
Whether it’s something from last week, last year, or decades ago, you long to make things right – to change direction, to begin again. Yet somehow your attempts to fulfill this longing elude you.
This constant back-and-forth between longing and regret is the “Sorry Cycle.” It’s a pattern many of us live with every day.
Some people have bigger regrets, or dwell on their regrets more than others, but everybody has them.
Mentally rehearsing your regrets over and over in a Sorry Cycle gets you nowhere. Moreover, it does you a lot of harm.
What to do?
Here is some advice that may sound strange:
That’s right – don’t regret your regrets! Learn to love them because they can teach you how to pursue a life you don’t need to regret. Your regrets also help you grow – don’t repeat them, learn from them!
The Sorry Cycle is negative feedback. Through unhealthy rumination, you let your regrets route back to your deeply felt longings in a way that often leads you to make even worse decisions than you did before. The results are about as pleasant as the squeal of a PA system when the sounds coming out of the amp feeds back through a microphone.
However, regrets don’t have to produce negative feedback. If you are mindful of what you are doing with your regrets, you can ask God to help you make different choices that turn those regrets into positive feedback.
2 Corinthians 7:8-11 “Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.”
Take up the challenge to see regret, not as something to regret, but as something to love because it is priceless feedback that allows you to better understand your life.
Romans 8:21-22 “that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”