Monday, May 7, 2012

Everyday Grace: When Regret is a Bully

Sometimes I'm haunted and beaten up by everything I've gotten wrong. Regret is a bully that way.

A solitary remorse can serve as a spark that lights a flame that spreads like a forest fire through the mind. Lately I've watched with quiet longing as other moms tend to those littler than mine, wishing so badly that I could've known then what I know now. And then think of all the years I wasted on myself instead of living more sacrificially. Before you know it I'm cataloging every episode of ignorance and impulsiveness, cluelessness and selfishness. They've all had their way with me and sometimes it's hard to forget.

Sometimes the past crescendoes like a tidal wave and you're drowning in if-only's. Instead of being grateful for today and hopeful for tomorrow, you're stuck in a place of failure and unproductive wistfulness. 

Too often it takes coming to the end of my rope and hitting the ground with a thud before I finally look up. But when I do, I see that God's ways of dealing with the past and the future are so very different from mine. 

I gaze upon the past and regret.
He calls me to look back and remember His faithfulness.

I stare into the future with fear and anxiety.
He invites me to trust and to take my cues from the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.

I ruminate on the misuses and mishaps of my yesterdays and want to crawl under the covers.
He tells me to forget what is behind and press forward.

And I can. I can do these things but only because of what He did first. The finished work of Christ covers the sin and shortcomings of my past and provides hope and security for my future. Nothing can erase what's been done and I can look at that either as a lamentable reality or through the lens of the Gospel...

Nothing can erase what's been done: Christ came!

And He came to forgive and to redeem and to give us power to take defeatist thoughts captive and to set our minds on things above. 

Every day there is freedom through repentance, comfort through remembrance, rest through trust, and hope through Christ Himself. 

If you feel stuck in the mire of could haves and should haves, lift up your gaze and look at the Rescuer, the author and perfecter of your faith, the forgiver of your past, the power for your today, and the provider for your tomorrows. 

Related Verses
Colossians 3:1-4


"Everyday Grace" is a weekly post I've recently begun. It is sort of in the style of a devotional {which is ironic...because I don't typically love devotionals} and a departure from the sort of posts I usually do. It began as a way to record the ways in which God is making the Gospel of Grace "real" to me in everyday ways. This is a way of recording it for myself and sharing with you. 


  1. I'm with you on this, Sis. My natural reaction is to say, "But, but, but what about...?" in relation to something that I feel can't be undone. 'Tis the curse of the perfectionist to be filled with angst about things that can't be made perfect or what we imagine perfect would be. Once again, your words provide me some hope that progress can be made.


  2. Up until quite recently I thought feeling guilty for my past was the righteous way to go. But then I became increasingly away that remembering those past failures was Satan taking my eyes from God and his incredible mercy and love, and putting them right back on me. Our pastor is going through Romans 8, line by line, for the next few months. We all know Romans 8:1 by heart without even trying now because the Scripture reading begins at the beginning each week and goes to our current location. It's a wonderful verse to have so handy now. :) And I will use this to do just as you say and feel no guilt about one scoop of celebratory Graeter's.

  3. Amen, girl! So powerfully written--thank you!

    Regret is a constant battle for me, even though I know the truth of Christ's redemption. I appreciate knowing that I'm not the only one with this particular struggle.

  4. Thank you for this.

    Heather S.

  5. Very good reminder that regret, like other bullies, will not get the better of me. Thanks.

  6. It is my opinion that regret is something every human being deals with on a daily basis.It is probably one of Satan's better weapons to distract us from keeping our eyes on God. You are right, regret is focusing on the past instead of present and future. Until we meet Jesus in heaven and are made perfect, regret will be an ongoing, everyday, enemy we(I) must battle and defeat constantly. As you pointed out, only God can help us to do that! Marian, I pray you are comforted in the fact that you are not alone!! Luv, Mom-in-law


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