but then again…too few to remember
Most folks my age recognize the lyrics from the Frank Sinatra hit, My Way, and they came to mind recently while attending a weekly Bible group meeting called One Thing.
One Thing is a group of 40-70 men from all different backgrounds and all different age groups that meets every Friday morning at Cabernet restaurant in Alpharetta. As a group we discuss a topic from the Bible and then in smaller groups of 5 or 6 men we dive into the One Thing the scripture represents to each of us.
We were discussing regrets and how holding onto past regrets have a way of influencing future behavior; which bridged to this question:
Would God love you more if you had less regrets?
My immediate answer was no, as I believe God’s love for me would be the same regardless of where I fall on my regrets ledger. My belief is His love is an unconditional love, focused not on perfection or being without sin, grounded in the Grace of a personal relationship I have with Him, not in acts or deeds done with the hope of being worthy or measure up.
In the weeks that have followed, another question rose from wrestling with the original regrets question,
Would God love me more if I disappointed Him less?
Thinking back through my volume of regrets most came from disappointing or letting down the people I care about. For me approval is huge motivator, so when my actions or lack of action leads to disappointing someone or God, I have a hard time moving past that point. The very fact this second question arose reflects that I am a work in process spiritually, still trying to measure up, only falling short time and time again.
Unfortunately coming to know Christ doesn’t guaranty error free-living, fortunately coming to know Christ does guaranty the full impact of what God’s grace truly represents.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2: 4-5
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2: 8-9
For me as one who strives do what is right, yet falls short, as one who should choose the path for which I’m being lead, yet continues to look for the short cut which leads to nowhere good, the struggle in me never seems to end. But I do hope coming to know Christ in personal way has led me to leverage my Faith and what I Believe in such a way that I have fewer regrets and fewer disappointments now as opposed to before. From personal experience I found three steps that help me move on from regrets and helped me get past the disappointment.
Acknowledge and Repent
Easier said than done, right? Regrets from mistakes or sin usually have consequences, and they need to be addressed with the parties affected so contrition can take place. But holding onto regrets also carries consequences usually in the form of personal paralysis and there will be no moving on when you can’t move past your past.
Learn the Lesson
I don’t think we are predestined to fail, but in the midst of mistakes and failure there is always a lesson, something I’m sure you’ll agree with me. Problem is most people don’t take the time to dig deep enough to drill out the lesson and then wonder why the pattern repeats itself. I think Dave Ramsey got it right when he said in the foreword of Dan Miller’s book 48 Days To The Work You Love,
“The difference between the successful and the troubled is not error-free living; it is that by discovering and implementing a life calling, the successful stand on their pile of trash/mistakes while the troubled sit under theirs.”
Share your Story
One of the best ways I’ve found to close a difficult chapter of my life is to help someone avoid making the same mistakes I’ve made. A cleansing results when you see someone navigate a situation better than you did, because you story had an impact which yielded better results. It is at that point, bad begets good and the lesson learned and is the lesson shared.
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
Ultimately that is what I feel we are called to do to, share our mistakes and imperfections in such as way that the sharing in itself is the good work, one which bears witness to all what God’s Grace truly is and how that offer is available to them as well if they ask.
These questions are an “all-skate” so jump in, share some insight, I’m curious what you think!
-Have you ever felt God would love you with fewer regrets?
-What were some of the obstacles that stood between you and moving on?
trusting God period
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