I have been thinking of regrets lately and I hope to take my experience with empowering you to respond constructively to any type of regret. Recognise your regrets for what they are. What exactly is it that you are feeling badly about? Have you either underestimated or overestimated how serious it is? What power does it have or not have to effect your future? We need to answer these questions if we want to start over.
That seems like simple advice, doesn’t it? Maybe too simple? Yet the human mind has some reflexive responses to powerful emotions – such as regret – that can make it hard to honestly face reality.
For that reason, here are two don’ts and one do when it comes to taking stock of your own regrets.
Don’t dwell on your regrets.
Up to a point, mentally rehearsing something that happened might be helpful to you. You want to learn from your regrets so it’s good to analyse and try to understand what really happened. But too often you go way beyond performing a “helpful” analysis by replaying it in your mind over and over again until it takes up far more of your attention than it merits.
Ephesians 5:8-13. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.
Don’t hide from your regrets.
What may be more dangerous than thinking too much about your regrets is not thinking about them at all. That is a huge mistake! In many ways, you try to ignore or escape from your regrets. You don’t face them at all – or at least you don’t face them truthfully.
Face your regrets head-on.
If you have been dancing around your regrets, trying to pretend they’re not there, or given your regrets so much power you can’t even see them plainly, you’ve got to stop. You can’t change what happened in the past, but you can change what you do in response from here on out. Your choice of response is all-important for your future.
God does not want to leave you crushed under the weight of your regrets. That’s why you have to ask God to give you the courage to face your regrets and stare them down until they lose their power over you.
Is your deepest regret the result of something you did or didn’t do? Was it something that was done to you? What is keeping you from facing your deepest regrets head-on?
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.