REGRET: an expression of distressing emotion – a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done.
It’s a nasty word. Just the sound of it makes you squirm in your seat. Makes you feel all icky inside.
“What’s the single biggest regret of your life?”
That’s the question that I recently proposed to my dad. I had this idea several months ago to start asking my dad one question a week. Becoming a father has given me so much more respect, admiration and appreciation for my own parents. I’ve discovered that they weren’t crazy after all. Who would have thunk? I had such a blessed childhood.
It’s easy to get distracted in life. After all, Goldfish have longer attention spans then we do. So, as I grow and begin to grasp more and more the fragility of life, God continues to remind me to focus on the truly important things. It’s a mission that can be incredibly hard to live out amidst the striving and struggles of life. But one that I fight hard for!
There were a couple of reasons why I asked my dad to embark on this journey. First off, as is the heart of every boy or man, regardless of our age, I long to grow closer to the one man whose approval means the most. My dad! Secondly, because we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, I want to make sure that I collect all the wisdom, experience and knowledge from him before Jesus calls one of us home. It’s the notion of “emptying” my father and not “burying him full.” It’s no doubt brought us closer together. And I’ve learned so much from a man who for so long I thought knew nothing.
My dad’s answer changed my life.
And I believe it can change yours too!
- The question was: “Dad, what’s the single biggest regret of your life?”
- His answer: “I CHOOSE to live with no regrets!”
Are you kidding me?!?! It’s absolutely brilliant. But what the heck does that mean?
He went on…
“I could go back and second guess an infinite number of things. It wouldn’t be too difficult to compile a list of past events or actions that I wish went another direction. But the problem with regret is the assumption that things would be better. Who am I to say that any change in direction or circumstance would result in making my life better? And “better” is a relative term. “Better” for who? Do we have a better plan for ourselves than God has for us?”
“Ultimately, I believe in the providence and sovereignty of God. Who am I to question Him? I CHOOSE to trust in His providence and sovereignty instead of focusing on the coulda, shoulda, woulda’s.”
Life gives the test first, then the lesson.
It’s natural we all experience some regret. No doubt my dad wishes he could have done certain things differently. But instead of fixating on the past and allowing that to rob him of joy in the present, he CHOOSES to maintain a spirit of thankfulness.
We all have a choice! What are you choosing?
Don’t let the past rob you anymore of the precious time that you have left on earth. You’re not your past mistakes or failures. You’re a flawed human being, loved more than imaginable by the Creator, just like everyone else. Great things are in store! Today, tomorrow and the for the rest of your life. And especially the life to come!
Believe it! And live it!
“…one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 3:13-14 ESV)
(Disclaimer: Sometimes we do really dumb things that we will absolutely regret. So we must learn from our past and mistakes and then look ahead to become and embrace all that God has in store for us.)