It was suppose to be a spring break we’d always remember. In fact, when my friend, Kristin, and I made plans for this trip back in November, we did it for the sole purpose of making memories with our husbands, our kids, and our two families.
Little did I know it would be a trip I would always remember, but for all the wrong reasons.
As we made our way back home on an Amtrak train after seeing the Grand Canyon, we received word at 11:30 p.m. that my mother-in-law, our beloved Gi (GEE), had been take to the ER, flown to a larger hospital and a few hours latter had passed.
She was gone. No good-byes. No last words. Just gone.
Needless to say, it was a sleepless night for me staring out into the darkness, listening to the quiet hum of the train while all around me were sleeping passengers.
And as I thought about what had transpired, I was overcome by a wave of regret.
Regret because in my mind I had not been as gracious to her as she had always been to me.
Regret for the times that I felt inconvenienced when she needed my help but I was self-absorbed in a task.
Regret because I had not told her how much I appreciated her and loved her for who she was and everything she had done for us.
Regret that I hadn’t walked down memory lane with her, re-living my best memories I had of her with our family.
But now it was too late.
As we spent the next week preparing for her funeral I had a lot of time to reflect. I also processed my thoughts and feelings with my family, my friends – Lara and Kristin, and my pastors. A week after the funeral, I was scheduled to give the message in church. The topic I was to speak on was obvious. It was clear I had to talk about regret.
As I reflected on regret, I realized that regret does serve a purpose and that purpose is to help us make adjustments and course correct. 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NLT) tells us,
For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.
It is similar to the warning light on your automobile indicating that there are problems. The light doesn’t come on to harass or torment you, instead, it is an urgent indicator to “Pay Attention Here”. As soon as you make the necessary adjustments, the light goes off and you can go back to enjoying the journey.
However, in life, either unknowingly or otherwise, we sometimes never get past the warning light. We allow the enemy of our souls, the devil, to keep that light glaring in our face – a constant reminder that something was wrong. And it torments us day and night.
“I should have . . .”
“If I could go back I would . . .”
“If only . . .”
“Why couldn’t I have seen . . .?”
But those thoughts are futile. They do nothing to move us forward. They only keep us stuck in the past.
However, there is an alternative. There is a Prescription for Regret. This prescription will help you release the regret of the past, course correct and fulfill the purpose for which you have been placed here on earth. I gave this prescription in my message at church (link to the audio on Facebook at the end of this post). Here’s a summary:
Prescription for Regret
- Repent and Course Correct – Make it right first with God and then with others.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 (NIV)
- Lay your regret down at the cross. Choose Redemption over condemnation. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)
- Fight the good fight of faith by choosing daily to let go of the regret and instead receive God’s grace. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:12 (NIV)
Take daily & as needed.
The Great Physician – J E S U S
Where are your regrets? You can take them to the cross and leave them there! God is waiting with G R A C E and P E A C E !! All you have to do is receive.
Have regrets – that you just can't see to let go of – like a monkey on your back they continually harass you? You can be free from the tormenting past! Wrote about that in the post "Peace in the Midst of Regret" (link in bio). Even included a link in the post to a message I gave on regret in church. You don't have to be a prisoner of the past. You can experience God's grace and His redemption!! #freefromregret #regret #dealingwithregret #monkeyonmyback #godsgrace #redemption #freedom #grace #peace #leaveitatthecross #letitgo