Are you living in regret? What decisions or circumstances in your life do you find yourself regretting. Are you battling with feelings of shame and guilt? Do you experience intense feelings of regret over a decision you have made, something you have done or failed to do? Is there an opportunity you allowed to slip through your fingers and now you wallow around in a pool of what ifs?
Regret, like its cousins fear and self-doubt robs us of our joy, peace of mind, hope and self-confidence. It keeps us trapped in the past, bound by past mistakes, unable to enjoy the present; and worse, unable to embrace the future or fully walk in our purpose. The pain of regret, the feelings of shame and guilt can cripple us and derail our future.
If you are experiencing any of these, I encourage you – you can break free. It is possible to break free! You can free yourself of past mistakes and embrace your future. You have heard these statements before, “God can change you mess into a miracle”, “turn your mess into your message”, “turn your mess into your masterpiece.” I agree with all of them. As a matter of fact, I recommend you read Tricia Goyer’s blog post titled 5 Ways to Change Your Mess into Your “Mess” age. It is not more than a 2 minute read and the ideas expressed are very practical.
I don’t mean to get preachy here, but I strongly believe in the words of Scripture. Romans 8:1-2 clearly says, “there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you, from the power of sin that leads to death.” This verse tells us that once we belong to Christ we have been freed. He does not condemn us, so why should we condemn ourselves and remain trapped in a prison of regret, guilt and shame? If Christ has forgiven you, then surely you can forgive yourself!
Forgiving ourselves can be very difficult to do, but once done, it can be extremely liberating. I encourage you to say the words to yourself. Say, ……………. (fill in your name here) I forgive you for……………… (fill in what you forgive yourself for here). Say it over and over again. Say it daily if you have to. Look at yourself in the mirror and say it to yourself. Say it just as kindly and gently to yourself as you would to a friend or family member whom you love and have truly forgiven for a mistake, then let it go. I repeat, let it go.
Next, do not remind yourself of your mistake, do not spend any more time ruminating over it. Let it go completely. When it comes to mind, remind yourself that you have already forgiven yourself and that there is nothing you can do to change the past. Fill your mind with positive thoughts, maybe even thoughts of your future or your next steps. Envision the future you want. There are many who believe in the power of visualization and its ability to alter how we perceive the world. There is a famous quote from Muhammad Ali which says “if my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it then I can achieve it”. Ali has enjoyed an illustrious boxing career and has an impressive 56 win record. The power of visualization must have some merit, because after all, Jesus Christ said to the blind men just before he healed them, “become what you believe.” Read the account in Matthew 9:27-31 NLT.
After you have accepted God’s forgiveness and you have forgiven yourself, move forward. We have already established that we cannot go back and change the past. We cannot undo our poor choices or regain missed opportunities. But we can learn from them and we can press ahead and move forward. A quote from Arthur Ashe says, “start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” You can begin where you are and make the best of where you are now while creating a better future. It is possible! You can move forward from past mistakes and regrets, which lead to guilt and shame. Determine where you want to end up and formulate a new plan of action for getting there.
A New Day
One of my absolute joys is looking at the sunset and the sunrise. I always marvel at how one day ends and a new one arrives. A new day is filled with hope and endless opportunities – this is what a new day represents for me, hope and opportunities. When you make the choice to let go of regret and move forward it is like you are stepping into a new day. It is a new day! A new day has begun for you. The prophet writes in Lamentation chapter 3, that the Lord’s compassion and mercies are new every morning. Surely you will agree, that represents hope and new opportunities. Every day we have the opportunity to begin again. We have the opportunity to do better than the previous day or days; the opportunity to break free from the shackles of regret.
I leave you with these encouraging words, from Isaiah 43:18-19 (ERV), “don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true…”
A new day has come for you, flee the prison of regret, the prison of past mistakes, the prison of guilt and shame. The prison doors have been flung wide open, all you have to do is step out into your new day. Let the brilliance of the sunshine penetrate your soul, let the warmth and calmness of the sunset soothe you as you step out and move forward with renewed joy, peace of mind, hope and self-confidence. This is your new day!
Thank you for reading this post. If you enjoyed it please share it with a friend. Feel free to leave me a comment or an email, I would love to hear from you. 😊 Until next time, be blessed and be safe.