“Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.” 1 Peter 1:21-22 NLT
It’s been hard not to live in the land of regrets. I’ve made decisions that I wish I could go back and change. I’ve ruined relationships, hurt others, lived in addiction, focused on self, lost sight of what’s important, blamed others, run away, and run from God. I keep looking back playing my coulda’ woulda’ shoulda’ fiddle and yet, I am totally unable to do anything about my past.
Many of my regrets boil down to how I treated people. I’ll let you in on a few secrets about me: I’m incredibly insecure and I struggle with a pleasing nature. When I wasn’t allowing Jesus to be Lord of my life, these two characteristics made a deadly combination. Because I was so insecure, I compensated by trying to create a life that looked pleasing to those around me. I knew how to play the games within an organization, and began making my way to the top. I desperately wanted to please, so I found ways to blend in, yet stand out. I told people what they wanted to hear, whether it was the truth or not.
Being a pleaser meant that I made decisions that were best for me and my appearance, not for the well-being of others. I could play the system and knew the right words to tell someone if they needed advice, but underneath, I was always trying to make a name for myself. Eventually the people who were “real” stopped wanting to be around me. Looking back, I surrounded myself with people who were just as shallow as I had become. I managed to run off all of the people who would be there for the long haul and I made up excuses to comfort myself when these friends were obviously hurt by my neglect in the friendships. I isolated myself from true, deep, connections because of my surface living. I missed out on maintaining real, loyal friendships and in turn didn’t know how to be a real, loyal friend.
This is a big area of regret, and lately, it’s been eating at me. I have missed out on people’s lives. I don’t know their kids or spouses. I couldn’t tell you what their favorite things are. And when I live in these regrets of the past, I beat myself up. I start believing Satan’s lies and get into a funk where I can’t connect to anyone, especially with God. That insecure person deep inside wants to close off from the world and quit trying to reach out to others. Living in my past regrets is so dangerous.
That’s when I have to make myself look past the past and focus on what Christ has done for me and where He has brought me. I may have made mistakes in old relationships, but I don’t have to make those same mistakes in my new friendships. I can also ask those old friends for forgiveness and pray for God to restore those broken places. I can’t go back, but I can go forward. I can’t change the past, but I can make sure that I keep focused in the future. I can also make sure that I keep the line of communication open and smooth with my Savior and ask for His help to be a better friend and all around person. Satan wants me to live in the regrets, but Jesus teaches me that there is more to this life than my old mistakes. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “The old has gone, the new is here!” For this I’m so grateful!
God, thank you for second chances. Thank you for moving me into a place of newness and for opening my eyes to the old life I used to live in. I don’t have to be the old me. Hallelujah! Help me not to get stuck in the regrets but instead to focus on the here and now, all for your glory.
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