Regret has a way of showing up uninvited. Oftentimes, we think if this particular thing wouldn’t have happened, or if I would have just said it this way instead… everything would be different.
We can’t go back and change the past. It’s happened. And the truth is, sometimes one isolated event is not as destructive as we think it is. In order for real change to happen, perspective must shift. There has to be an internal change.
Perhaps if you wouldn’t have gone to a certain event, you wouldn’t have met the friends that negatively influenced you to the point where you became a completely different person. But what if you’d met the same type of friends at a different event? Or school? Or neighborhood? Same type of people, choices, and outcomes.
Or maybe you regret the way you treated a loved one. The things you said tore them down and the relationship which took years to build suffered a very hard blow. Let’s say you didn’t blurt those hurtful comments on this particular day. How long would it have been until you were finally fed up (again) and said those words that have been brewing in your heart all along?
Of course, if we could go back and right our wrongs, most of us would. Instead of seeking to change the outcome of one event, I encourage you to change your heart and your mindset. What exactly did you say or do that is causing feelings of regret? What is in your heart that led you to make this decision? Maybe you were influenced by the wrong things, but why? Was it due to low self-esteem, fear, pressure, temptation, etc.?
There are also situations that have happened, that are completely beyond your control. Things others may have done to you, whether accidental or intentional. Unfortunately, we can’t change their actions either. But we can assess how we feel about it, and ask God to heal those wounded areas.
Your feelings about your past are a reflection of your heart today. It’s normal to experience sadness and grief. But is there room for freedom? Is there room for forgiveness? Please don’t allow anger, shame, or guilt to take away from the peace and the joy God has promised to you.
I speak about my own experience of dealing with pain from the past in my book Chosen For Such A Time As This [available here]. One thing I’ve learned is that God will completely heal you from your past, and use your story to bless others. No matter what has happened, trust God to keep His promises. Know that He loves you and there is purpose found in everything you’ve endured.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Psalm 147:3 (NIV)