The Noose of Regret~

We all have regrets.

As each of us looks over the landscape of our lives we will, occasionally or often, wince when we recall poor job choices, hurt filled relationships, missed opportunities,  and poor financial decisions.  Everyone, as they grow older, has an opportunity to look back with hindsight and consider how we could have better navigated numerous areas of our lives…all of us.

Early in our marriage, with a 2-year-old and while I was 7 months pregnant, Greg and I moved far from family to pursue a new ministry role.  Everyone was supportive, there was excitement about the role we were being given and the impact we had the potential to make in that small community.

We went with the best of intentions but, regrettably, it was a pain filled season for our little family and set in motion a series of challenging situations that nearly broke us in many ways.  Greg and I have often looked back at those choices and say ” we would never make that same choice today”!

Wounded and a bit battered, we had a choice to live in the past and walk away from our passion and calling or choose to learn from it, forgive, and let it go.  We chose the latter but it did take some time to feel fully whole again.

Today I would clearly say that we probably learned more in those trenches then at any other time in our life ~ those we would not like a repeat performance.  God is good to redeem our past regrets; to make “beauty for ashes”.   Regret could have been like a noose around our neck and kept us from the joy of doing what we love to do today!

So, what is regret?  Regret is a negative emotional state that involves blaming ourselves for a bad outcome, feeling a sense of loss or sorrow at what might have been or wishing we could undo a previous choice that we made.  Nothing about walking through life this way is healthy; we must let go!

Today~  what’s got it’s grip on you?  What do you regret that’s keeping you from new starts, fresh dreams, re-newed passion, or fresh change?  What kind of cyclical self-talk do you automatically fall into when faced with moving on and moving forward?

Consider letting go, learning from the choices you made, forgiving yourself and/or others, and look toward the future with great hope and anticipation.  Sometimes you made have to get up and make this choice everyday until you begin to feel free! I know I had to!

How about moving forward?  How about letting go?  How about watching as God so creatively and lovingly makes “beauty for ashes” in your life?

Choose to experience a new season today! Decide to let go! 🙂

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Pardon Me!

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We have all experienced it…..at least once in our lives.  We have all faced situations where there has been misunderstanding, hurtful indictments, poor communication, and decisions made that we may not have agreed with.  These experiences can be within our families, in the workplace, in our churches, or in our community involvements.  But I think I can safely say that we all get to walk through that experience at least once!

The real challenge comes when we try to navigate these situations that cause us to feel offended, hurt, misrepresented, and misunderstood.  Most often our first response is to want to “be right”, to defend ourselves, and to let the walls start to build between ourselves and those we feel have treated us unfairly.

In the early years when my husband was a young pastor, we experienced hurtful situations that caused us to feel disrespected and offended numerous times.  We were young and truly didn’t anticipate these kinds of relational challenges.  We could feel resentments causing us to change from positive, caring people to reactive, offendable people and that’s not who we wanted to be.

Over the years we have had to learn to let the outcome of these situations go .  As we  have chosen to PARDON those with whom we have felt disrespected and indicted, even when the offenders have not acknowledged any wrong-doing,  even when we haven’t been able to justify ourselves ~ We have been able to move on and flourish!   We’ve had to start with the choice to forgive; the feelings have followed over time.

Another choice we have to make is to pardon ourselves for the part we have played in the conflict.  We are never 100% right so there is always something that we have contributed to make the situation more challenging.  If we can own our part, learn from it, and forgive ourselves we can move on in an emotionally healthy way.

Here’s an interesting paraphrase from John 12:24 ” Let your expectations go.  You took a loss.  You’ve complained and grieved.  To hold onto it any longer is counter-productive.  It’s time to let it go or you will remain stuck.  When you let it go you will get your life back and you will prosper.”

Have you walked through situations that have left you wounded?  Have you let your emotions remain intrenched in your hurt?  Is it time to get free?  Is it time to pardon both offender(s)  and yourself? Don’t let offenses change you into a version of yourself that even you don’t like.  You be the hero and hand out the first pardon today.

“…and forgive us our debts AS we forgive our debtors.”  (Lord’s Prayer)