As you ruminate on your regrets, and let it gnaw on you day in and day out it begins to loom larger and larger in your mind and pretty soon your perspective begins to be distorted and skewed. Then you start to fall in to one of several traps that many of us have fallen into one or more of these internal conversations:
1) ALL OR NOTHING THINKING: “This was the only way to succeed and since I didn’t choose it, I’ll never be successful”
2) OVERGENERALIZE: “Since I made the wrong decision once, then I’m doomed to ALWAYS make the wrong decision”
3) EMOTIONALISM: “I’m finished now, I can just feel it! I’m never ever going to be happy again.”
4) PERFECTIONISM: Summarily rule out all the other options, there is no Plan B, you’re such a perfectionist that the only way you can see if Plan A, and if Plan A doesn’t work, you reject any other options.
5) RE-WRITING HISTORY: “The fact that I was never successful in what I wanted to achieve because I was never really interested or that I couldn’t afford to fund it, that shouldn’t have gotten in the way”. You can’t change history nor rewrite it.
6) CATASTROPHIZING: “I’ll never succeed in anything again! People will always look down on me.” You think of the worst possible scenario and think that it will definitely happen to you no matter what it is.
ACTIVELY ASSESS YOUR SITUATION AND MAKE A PARADIGM SHIFT:
1) Write down what it is that you do regret. When you do this, you will be able to cut down a number of traps and will be able to see it in the right perspective.
2) Talk it over with a Godly individual, not someone who will tell you what you want to hear. Yes, you messed up, but you are still a good person, someone who will tell you that your situation is not an isolated one. You need someone like that. Maybe a life group, people who have Christian faith in common. Someone who can speak into your life the hope of the Holy Spirit, instead of a person who doesn’t have the perception of scripture, who doesn’t know the truth that can set you free. As long as the end connection is GOD.
3) Stop comparing yourself to others. One of the most important things to get over your regrets is to be yourself. Comparisons will amplify your regrets. You only get a negative effect from good news about someone with whom rightly or wrongly you feel you’re in competition with. Visions of competition magnify regret. Then oftentimes, we overemphasize the other person’s accomplishments and overlook the downside of their lives, and then stand to underplay our own accomplishments and overemphasize the downside of our life. These competitiveness is ingrained in us from an early age. Competition is healthy but it can also crush us and break our spirits.
There’s always going to be competitions in our lives so it is important to remember God’s attitude towards us. It is important to know that you don’t have to compete for God’s love. The most precious commodity in the cosmos is not some material success, or a promotion, or a job at a high tech firm. The most precious commodity in the universe is the Love of God, and the love of God is not in short supply. It’s not something that we have to scrape for that if you get some, I don’t get any. That’s not the way it works. It’s available to all who open up their hearts and receive it. Sometimes we see someone else getting blessed and we think God doesn’t have enough for me. God’s hands are big enough to reach all of us, all at the same time and find you in a place where he will meet all of your needs from his hand. There is not one accomplishment you can make in your life that would make God love you one aota more than he loves you right now. His love is not based upon what you do, it is based upon the fact that you are his creation and he loves you.
In the biggest arena in the world, you’ve won and it’s not because of something you did but because you’ve accepted the free gift of God’s grace and accept his forgiveness and says, “this is yours”. That helps diffuse the competitiveness and get beyond your regret when you understand that God loves you REGARDLESS of what you’ve done.
1) God celebrates your uniqueness. HE doesn’t want you to be someone else, He wants you to be fully you. Someday, God will not hold you accountable for not being somebody else. He will not stand there in front of you and say, I know you tried your best but you are no “so and so”. God expect you to use the personality and gifts he gave you when he made you YOU. You will one day stand in front of your Creator who made you and you will give an account for every breath God gave you to draw when you got up in the morning. For those who spit in God’s face and said, I’ll frankly do my own thing, the Bible says you are facing the fearful awesome wrath of a Creator who will be frustrated with the creation who lived outside of their potential and chose death over life. The bible further says that God is not willing that any should perish and but that all should come to repent and sent to eternal life but if you want to go to hell God will let you, if you choose life, God will give it to you just the same. The choice is yours. God wants you to maximize what he has given to you so you could forget about what everybody else does. Stop comparing yourself. The yardstick by which you need to measure your life is how can I become more of me the way God created me to be. If you want God to work for you, get involved in working for him. God is always on time, all the time.
2) Confess your regrets to God and those you have hurt. Regrets always include some person that we have hurt in our minds. Healing will never begin and regrets will never dissipate until you first confess it to God, and if at all possibly you go and apologize to the ones that you’ve hurt. You have to confess it to God first. The reason why is because whenever we’re committing a sin or hurt to another person, you realize that you’re hurting God because He is their creator and is their heavenly father and they are his creation. Every one of us is His masterpiece and you have destroyed some of the potential that he has painted on that canvas of that person’s life. God freely forgives and forgets your sins. Sometimes we don’t feel forgiven. That’s because God’s forgiveness is different from human forgiveness. The forgiveness that we give as people is often incomplete and people are often reluctant to forgive but that’s not true of God. People will forgive but they don’t forget. Isaiah 43 25 God remembers your sin no more. Although your sins are like scarlet, God can make them white as snow. Isaiah 55:7 it says God freely will pardon you. Lamentation 3:23 God’s compassion is new and fresh and every morning his mercy is fresh everyday. People will forgive you but they’ll hold a grudge, Jeremiah 31:34 I will forgive their wickedness and I will remember their sins no more
3) Being forgiven does not depend on our feelings. When you turn over your sins to Jesus Christ you’re forgiven because God says you’re forgiven whether you feel like it or not. Your attitude can’t be “okay, I’m forgiven when I feel like I’m forgiven,” no your attitude needs to be “I’m forgiven because God says I am.” He has the divine ability to forget what you may never be able to forget. When you start walking in the truth about what God says about you, you will be amazed at how it changes you. Don’t go saying Oh I’m an alcoholic. If you ask Jesus to forgive you of the sin of drunkenness, the bible says He who the Son sets free is free indeed, there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus because the law of sin and death is broken by the law of grace through Jesus Christ. You’re not an alcoholic anymore! If you begin to celebrate who you are in Christ you will begin to see those things that had a hold on you that wouldn’t let go off before. It will amaze you how your life will change when you accept the potential of what God said is your inheritance.
4) Live at peace with everyone.
5) Develop a plan for the future and build it around God. The devil will tell you that you have to pay for your sins but the Bible says Jesus already paid for it. You don’t have to pay for your sins anymore, all you have to do is ask God to forgive you and accept his forgiveness.
GO LOVE ONE ANOTHER!