This question has been circling in my heart the past few days: “How does that play out in your life?” I thought it was for someone else. It came to me after a conversation with a friend. She shared her regret about something she failed to do. She was on automatic pilot and regretted her actions after the fact. I know I am being vague, sorry, it’s not my story to tell, but the lesson in it is mine, I’m just figuring that part out.
It’s easy to look out into others’ situations and pass judgement, to see clearly, to think we know what’s going on and then it flip flops on us, turns us upside down and BAM, we are on our asses, feet in the air, hair disheveled…what just happened?
The things we see in others are for our one of two reasons: (1) to pray for them that they can see their own blindspots and offer those parts to Jesus to heal the broken, damaged parts of their hearts, or (2) to look into the mirror of our own souls and see a reflection of our own crap that keeps us in the seat of judgement and denial. OUCH! I KNOW!
I thought that question was for her! I was convinced, but it wasn’t, it was for me! Dang it! I don’t like that question, not one bit.
“How does that play out in your, oops, I mean, MY life?”
So many times I walk out of situations wishing I had responded differently, stayed a little longer, engaged, participated. Regret is a powerful emotion that can spiral us into a cavern of condemnation that can pile on top, smothering us from the light of truth. That is a flawed perspective of this emotion.
Regret defined as a verb means “to feel sad, repentant or disappointed over something that has happened or been done especially a loss or missed opportunity. Used in polite formulas to express apology for or sadness over something unfortunate or unpleasant. Feel sorrow for the loss of absence of someting pleasant.”
Regret is an opporunity to turn in, to come closer, to notice, to stop and pay attention and ask ourselves hard questions. Instead we tend to gloss over, move on, chalk it up to “it’s just how we are.” In that space we miss the chance to grow and mature for a better response “the next time.”
God gives us “do overs” all the time!
A few year ago I was in a restaurant and saw a girl I knew in college, I wanted to say “Hi” but I felt self-conscious walking up to her so I didn’t and I so regretted it. I felt like it was a missed opportunity for something, wasn’t sure what, just felt a deep sense of regret and disappointment that I didn’t step into the divine appointment God had for me in that moment. I remember walking back to my car repenting to God to forgive me for pausing. I do that alot — “How does that play out in my life?” Ugh!? To be honest it never plays out well — I miss alot because I pause, I overthink it, I become so aware of myself, I miss everyone else. It is selfish and self-absorbed and prideful and I miss so much circling this space around myself!
I remember apologizing and asking God to give me another opportunity – a do-over! Weeks later I was driving to Sozo gym and I saw her again – running on the neighborhood sidewalk. I almost ran her over, pulling my car over to jump out and say “Hello” – I am pretty sure she thought I was nuts but I wasn’t about to miss this divine appointment again.
She ended up joining the gym for a short time after that, surrounding herself with the Godly community of women that Sozo gym has to offer. I have no idea why or what the need in her life was at the time that God asked me to stop, step in, and invite but I was obedient to His call.
Regret is not meant to push you under a rock, seeing yourself as a failure or unworthy, regret is a gift to posture you to change your future responses. The God of heaven is a God of second and third and fourth chances. He never tires of giving us opportunities to step into obedience and make things right. He will write into your story “do-overs” as long as you ask and choose a different way.
So when regret surfaces in your heart – would you stop and ask this question –
“How does that play out in my life?”
Stop and hold it for a minute–
look at it,
sit with it,
mull it over,
dance with it,
and then CHANGE IT!
You can choose differently next time!