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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.
We all make choices. Some of our choices both help and hurt at the same time. They are beneficial but uncomfortable. They are right but they go against the grain.
When you have a debilitating illness, there are certain medications that are prescribed which alleviate pain and the body’s response to illness but at the same time take their toll in other areas.
To help me manage the effects of Motor Neurone Disease (muscle fasciculate, cramps, shakes), my neurologist has given me medication. Unfortunately the drugs come with warnings of blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness, high blood pressure, weight gain etc. You get the picture.
It’s the dilemma of many people in our world who neither choose the illness, nor choose the effects the drugs may have. But in the end we make a decision, it’s the lesser of these evils.
I wonder, how do you make the right choices in life? Choices like:
What medication do I take, if any?
Will I marry this person?
What degree do I study?
Should we start a family?
Should we buy a house?
Do I spend $200k on a trial drug?
Do I want quality of life or extended life?
Here is how I try to make the right choice.
Don’t let happiness be your guide, let peace. When you have peace, joy is around the corner and joy is a necessary ingredient for lasting happiness and satisfaction. As one person put it, “Being sick well means living with joy despite the illness.”
Seek counsel from experts in their field and wise people. Remember sometimes those with knowledge aren’t the ones who have wisdom. Wisdom is knowing how to use knowledge. Give time to thoughtful contemplation, this is different to just accumulation of facts. Value other people’s opinions but remember they may have different values and life goals to you.
Consider this: what will be the impact on others? Try, to the best of your ability, to play out the consequences and see if it ends with increased experiences of love for you and the ones closest to you. Don’t base your decisions on what YOU want but on what is needed.
Allow your heart to get involved and search for what is instinctively true and right. I’m not talking about what feels good to the senses but what has a deep and pervading “I know” attached to it. It reaches to the personal integrity of what you believe is morally and ethically right.
For me, the Bible has given me some moral and ethical absolutes and prayer helps me practice those by God’s grace. Sometimes the absolutes outweigh the popular and the majority.
Your decision to have life may mean certain things you now live with must die: bad habits, unhealthy relationships, negative thought patterns. In this way, sometimes life is found in death. Don’t let pride or fear stop you from changing a wrong choice or making a right one.
Making the right choice, even those that hurt, is a balance between heart and head. I would encourage you to trust yourself and know yourself, don’t fear what others may think. Sometimes the right decision costs us something personally.
Remember this, right decisions take courage no matter what the outcome may be.
My hope for you today is that you choose the best life possible.