I would rather move slowly in the right direction then fast in the wrong.
I would rather move slowly in the right direction then fast in the wrong.
Link to my YouTube Chanel. Why not check out this video and subscribe to my channel.
The last few weeks we have looked at fear, death, grief, lose and now regret.
These are circumstances and emotions we see as being negative and destroying but I have found we can take the negatives the destroying and turn them into positive ways of building our lives full of purpose and forward movement.
“I don’t have any regrets”! Have you ever had anyone say that to you?
Or ask you; “have you got any regrets”?
I have. It’s a common question that people with a terminal illness are asked. “Any regrets”?
“No regrets”, sounds so confident even courageous.
Psalms 107:10 some of us once sat in darkness living in dark shadows of death. We were prisoners to our pain and chained to our regrets.
Doesn’t say we wont have pain or regret its we don’t have to be a prisoner to them or chained by them.
It’s such an important issue as regret can drive us into depression, shame, bondage, into a life filled with being captive to the past and chained to yesterdays mistakes.
Today I want to show you how you can live a life of no regrets.
How to break the chain of regret!
To take regret and make it a positive experience a real change agent for the better that can lead to:
However, I am beginning to realize that if I never had a regret I’d never have changed.
If I never had a regret I’d never grow.
If I had never had a regret I’d never have admitted fault or sin.
In fact I think the only way to live with no regret is to admit and face up to your regrets.
REGRET can help us make sense of the present, avoid future negative behaviour, and motivate us to make the best of opportunities now given.
If you live without ever having regret then you have missed the opportunity to courageously learn and change for the better.
I remember as a young boy stealing a lead pencil from the local Woolworth store. I needed a 2HB pencil and for some reason that I can’t remember I thought the only way was to steal it. When I went home that night with my prize I could hardly sleep I was so ashamed that I had stolen the pencil, I regretted it. Regret for what I had done made me sneak the pencil back into the store the next morning. I can clearly see myself returning the pencil to its shelf.
I knew I wasn’t a thief by nature but I had stolen.
If I had not acknowledged regret then shame would have said I was a thief but by responding I allowed regret to acknowledge my guilt and I changed the direction of my life.
I acknowledged I had done wrong and regret turned into repent. I asked God to forgive me and I responded to His forgiveness by changing my ways.
So my answer in this situation is I had regret but now I have no regret because I have learned from it and not ignored it.
When we do not respond to regret in a positive and constructive way, regret will morph into shame.
Remember shame will try to define you as being a thief while regret will acknowledge you stole and redefine you as you respond to your regret.
Regret is a powerful motivator for change. It will not just change the situation from bad to good but will redirect and reframe your future for the better.
I have learned so much from people who have admitted regret and acknowledged their regret.
I remember talking to a man who refused to have a PEG (a tube passed into a persons stomach to provide a means of feeding when oral intake is not adequate) put in his stomach as he had lost the ability through the effects of MND to eat and swallow.
He came to a place when he wanted to get it but was unable to as the anesthetist wouldn’t allow the operation. He told me he regretted not getting it when he was well enough. He would have lived longer.
I have learned from his admitting regret and have counselled others who have also come to the place of deciding wether to or not get a PEG early. if the time ever comes for me to get a PEG I will get it.
The more you learn from your and others regrets the less regrets you’ll have.
Maybe being vulnerable about our regrets can bring change in others so they don’t have the same regret.
I have no regrets because I have turned those regrets into a change agent.
I remember getting a credit card interest charge of over $100.
I regretted not paying my credit card off, missing the date and not paying it in full. Since then I have never paid interest on my credit card. I pay on time and never allow the card to go above what I can afford to pay off at the end of the month.
Regret changed the way I did my banking and made me get knowledge about how the interest is calculated on credit cards.
If you learn from your regrets then they are truly no longer regrets.
I can say I have no regret about being charged that interest as its’ saved me ever being charged again.
This is going to be a little controversial BUT telling someone who is dying how you feel about them and how much they have meant to you is not going to impact on wether or not they get well, cured or healed but it will insure you will live without regret.
Anything said to a person who is dying and then doesn’t die has only added depth, love and benefited the relationship for the future.
What about the things you regret but can’t go back and change?
If you get stuck blaming yourself and regretting past actions, this could turn into depression and shame . Find a way to forgive yourself and let it go. Most people have an easier time forgiving others than themselves.
There is no regret that can’t be turned into a life changing experience.
You may regret your life of sin allow it to led to repentance, ASK GOD TO FORGIVE YOU AND THEN FORGIVE YOURSELF.
Mark 1:15 And saying, The [appointed period of] time is fulfilled (completed), and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent (ahave a change of mind which issues in regret for past sins and in change of conduct for the better) and believe (trust in, rely on, and adhere to) the good news (the Gospel). Amplified Bible
I hope this helps you acknowledge your regrets so you dont have to live with REGRET.
PEACE AND LOVE.
If we love then we will not make it through life without experiencing grief.
Strategies for dealing with grief.
In my last vlog I said:
Life’s beauty is inseparable from it fragility.
The greatest beauty is found in love.
With love also comes great grief.
If we love then we will not make it through life without experiencing grief.
Living with arms and hearts that embrace life and love will also bring lose.
This loss can be in the form of the death of a loved one,
Being made redundant from your work place,
A diagnosis that threatens your life,
A business transaction that has been lost,
Lose of business that you have given your life to.
A pandemic that separates, isolates and devastates your security and well being.
BUT WHAT if I could show you a way to processing grief and loss that will lead to a greater depth of joy, a new perspective ON life and new purpose FOR life.
Some real keys to living with and through grief.
First: When we deal with our grief don’t look at it like its a spiralling downward as much as its a way we move forward through pain and challenge. It’s what Philippians calls the “forgetting what is behind and straining forward”.
Sometimes going forward means straining and grief is THAT.
JESUS lived for 33 years on this earth and he lived in a way that not one moment or experience he had was wasted or of no value to him or those who would know him.
In the Garden of Gethsemane we see him grieving again, weeping over his coming death and wanting the comfort of his friends with him.
In Matthew,: “My soul is sorrowful, even unto death; remain here and watch with me” (Matthew 26:38 ESV).
And, of course, lamenting to God is praying like Jesus did. Jesus prayed a psalm of lament on the cross, crying out “Father, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46, Psalm 22:1 ESV).
Jesus grief was seen over the death of His friend Lazarus.
He loved and in His love for Jerusalem, for humanity, for you and I he experienced real grief.
His grief was not wasted neither is our grief.
You may not see any meaning that can be immediately attached to the grief you are going through but the way you go through your grief could in itself attach meaning to it.
This is a world full of brokenness, and grief reveals the truth about that brokenness.
I think this is a topic again so needed right now more then ever.
It’s a subject that again is
not negative but positive,
not destructive but building,
not disempowering but empowering,
not weak but strong,
not fearful but courageous.
If we lean into grief the way we should we will bring meaning and purpose to what may seem such meaningless circumstances.
Yes I believe when we see no obvious reason for loss and grief we have the grace and ability to bring meaning to it.
Can I first begin by saying sadness and grief though similar are not the same.
If we think of sadness its not depression and its not grief.
Sadness unlike depression and grief is shorter more temporary emotion we have in lose or disappointment.
When we see that 958 people died in England we are sad but for the loved ones of those who died they will experience deep grief.
Our sadness may only last for a few days or until the next commercial or news report of another tragedy or triumph.
Their grief will stay with them in some form or another for the rest of their lives.
When I was diagnosed with MND a terminal illness for those who loved me deeply it was a time of grief for others it was sad to hear about Phil.
And thats ok because none of us who love deeply will go through life without grief.
May I also say that grief can have many levels and layers too it.
If your mother was to die at the age of 98 from natural courses your grief will be real but for you to loss a child at a young age to cancer or some other illness or tragedy. May I suggest that grief would be a whole other level and depth so profound that it would impact your life story for ever.
Grief goes deeper, its life changing, its an experience that brings a changed life.
There is a before and an after this happened when it comes to a life impacted by grief.
Before this loss and after this loss!
For me it was I was healthy before i was not, with this MND.
I will continue to live, love and enjoy life but life will be different and so will I.
Even if I was healed today my life will never be the same as it was before the diagnosis.
Grief has the ability to make us more loving, patient, compassionate, accepting and gentle.
This will only happen if we face up to grief, truth up to it.
To do this with any sense of truth we have to know that with grief,
its ok not to be ok,
until you are ok,
and you will be OK.
When I lost my sense of self worth and significance after being diagnosed with MND and as a result having to leave a job I not only deeply loved but that I had been called to.
I loved being who I was and doing what I did so when I lost that ministry as i knew it then my grief was real and tangible.
Grief is not sinful.
It’s a good and godly response to love and passion lost.
Sometimes we repress grief and try to move through it quickly, or even deny that it is there.
We might fear that it is a sin to feel this way.
If we believe it is sin, it follows that we should move away from this negative feeling quickly.
We fear our grief may cause us to question the presence and work of God in our lives.
What I learned during this time is that it was not the end of me or my life but a continuance of it in ways i never imagined.
I would get up but I would be different.
It was going to be a straining, a stretching, a reaching but not a breaking.
What i suggest you do in your time of grief is be honest with your feelings and emotions.
Either write them down like no one will read them, so there is no filter by what you should say or be expected to say.
Lament to God as though he is the only one who hears and he knows anyway so your not going to shock Him.
Confide in a wise friend, pastor, counsellor, therapist who you can trust with the truth about how your feeling.
Lamenting to God is a good and holy way to grieve.
Listen to a Lament in Psalm 102:1-2
“GOD, listen! Listen to my prayer, listen to the pain in my cries. Don’t turn your back on me just when I need you so desperately. Pay attention! This is a cry for help! And hurry—this can’t wait!”
When you write or talk about your grief your showing up to it.
Life is lived when you move forward with your story not by separating yourself from it.
We become integrated and whole able to move forward in healthy ways.
This week and indeed the months ahead will bring with it sadness for some and grief for others.
If we are global christians we will not just see the blessing of living in Australia at this time but also feel the pain of what many others in our world are going through especially in 3rd world countries where the news seems to have no concern.
The way we move forward with these real emotions will determine the depth of love, joy and wonder that life is.
Without grief we would never really fathom the profoundness of love.
Grief is only possible because we have loved and love is ultimately measured by the depth of our grief.
Grief journeyed rightly, honestly and truthfully will bring new purpose, new direction, new perspective to life.
This new life wont come by ignoring the grief but facing it truthfully and fully until we are change for the better because of it.
Write it down
Lament and pray to God.
Talk to a friend
Confide in a councillor.
Remember grief is a stretching, a straining but its a forward movement not a backward one.
You will be transformed by the experience as you face your grief with grace and truth.
You will find new perspective, new purpose, new love for life and living.
Thanks for listening.
If your on YouTube why not subscribe to my channel or
go to my blog at fridayswithphil.com
God bless you all.
If there was ever a time we needed one another to do the right thing, it’s now. By keeping cyber connection and looking out for each other we can get through this better, stronger, more loving, gracious and thankful.
In this video I’m encouraging you to kill “somebody else”. I know!
Sorry about audio. It’s hard to hear on my MacBook but ok on my iPhone and iPad.
What those who are locked-in can teach those of us who are locked-down.
Your ability to adapt to change will determine how quickly we get through this challenge.
Please subscribe to me youtube channel. Search in YouTube for: fridayswithphil
Courage in the face of Coronavirus.
This was posted last Friday on other social media but just worked out how to do here.
Hope your encouraged.
Recently Lenore and I were interviewed “On the Couch” in a heart-to-heart chat about our journey with terminal illness, how we reconcile our journey with our faith, and how we hope our story can help others.
This is a link to the interview at Riviera Christian Centre here:
Please feel free to share this with anyone who you think it could help!
For the past five years I have become friends with some really amazing people on this journey with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) / ALS.
They are people who I have come to love dearly, people who I have shared the highs and lows (mostly lows) with, as the disease continues to relentlessly ravage their body and eventually take their life.
Recently, I lost three of these friends to this disease, all within two weeks of each other, and all from my hometown of Newcastle. Then, I lost a fourth friend a month after that.
I was emotionally drained. I’m not proud to say, I began to build a wall of resistance around my life.
I built a wall that I believed would protect me from ever again feeling the pain of loss that death and suffering had brought.
My prayers had become prayers of self indulgence and self focus. Prayers like, “God I can’t and won’t do this anymore. I won’t reach out to people who are dying, just to be hurt and disappointed.”
To my shame, I didn’t want to get to know more people who I would come to love, just to lose them.
No sooner did I pray these prayers than I was being introduced to four other people who had just been diagnosed with MND. In fact, today, I am meeting up with two of them for coffee.
However, to tell you the truth, I was really struggling to open up, to again build relationships, only to see my friends suffer at the torture of this disease.
I knew that unless a miracle happens in our lives, we would be separated by a cruel death.
Then something shifted.
In my pain, I began to think about all those who have loved and been hurt.
I thought about others who have loved and lost: the partner who has loved and been abandoned; parents who have buried children; children who have seen the parents they love separate; anyone who has loved and seen that love rejected; the young person who opened their heart to have it crushed by abuse or unfaithfulness.
I came to realise that there were others like me who had built or were building this same wall to protect themselves from further pain.
I could see how easy it would be to build a wall of resistance for self preservation.
Why? Because I was doing it!
How easy it is to believe the lie that it is better to not love than to lose the one you have loved.
Soon after the funerals of my friends and being introduced to others who would soon become friends, I was chatting with God and reading my Bible (something I try to do each morning), in particular Ephesians 5: 1-2 which says:
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behaviour from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
The words, “His love was not cautious but extravagant,” just captured my heart and my mind, they penetrated deep into my soul, challenging and at the same time changing me.
Those words, like a bulldozer, began to smash the walls of my resistance and defense.
This Jesus who loved and yet was hurt, rejected, ridiculed and eventually put to death, continued to love without caution. Jesus loved without a sense of self protection or preservation.
In fact, His love was extravagant.
I again began to understand that a life without love and loss is not a life that we are called to live.
We are meant to live life loving courageously.
I found that when my heart decided to love, the resistance that my mind had built up began to crumble.
I may not fully feel the deepest of pain that you may be feeling today, but I do now understand the resistance you may have to fully loving again.
Can I encourage you to courageously find a way to communicate from your heart to your head that love is worth another go?
To love will have its challenges but to overcome those challenges and to love again means to begin to live again.
To live again means that your love is not cautious but extravagant.
You may have had a broken marriage, but you can love again.
You may have had a friend die, but you can love again.
You may have had a colleague manipulate or bully you, but you can love again.
Your trust may have been smashed into a million pieces, but you can love again.
Will it be easy? Are there guarantees that you won’t be hurt again?
No. It won’t be and there aren’t, but if you don’t learn to love again, then the guarantee is you won’t experience all that life has to offer.
Begin today, at least in your heart, to go where you have feared to go. You don’t know where your next step will take you, but a step takes you forward, and through your built up walls of resistance.
As you allow these walls to come down, watch how your life opens up to new possibilities. You will find that the walls didn’t just keep you locked in, but kept others out who can love you and with their love, help you love again.
As for me, I will continue to meet new friends or as they are affectionately called in the United States, PALS (people with ALS). I will love them and at times lose them, but as Alfred Lord Tennyson once aptly said, “’Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”
And it’s true for you too.