When I look back at my life, there are things that I wish I had done differently. I wish, when I was a preteen and read countless books a year, that I had been more interested in learning and read more non-fiction rather than fiction. I wish, when I was a teenager and making money with little to no financial responsibilities, that I had understood investing, finances, and compounding interest more fully. So how do I handle those experiences and my reflection on them? It seems to me that there are two common ways of dealing with past mistakes: we can learn from them and move forward with more confidence and wisdom, or we can wallow in them and live stuck in the past and full of regret.
Recently, I've been finding myself living more and more in that place of regret rather than learning, and today I began to realize that and consider why it was. As I followed the thought processes that went through my head, I realized something I was doing that led to a point of regret. When I considered alternative scenarios, had a made a decision different from the one I made, I only considered the good things that could have come from it. Also, when considering the effects of the decision I had made, I only considered the bad things that had come from it.
But the truth is, every decision that we make brings both good and bad. We are always faced with opportunities, and by the very nature of time we will take some of those opportunities and others we will leave behind. So I am going to work on being more realistic when thinking about where I am at, where I have been, where I will be, and where I could be.
Life will always contain good and bad, but ultimately what defines us is not our situation, but our relationship to our Father. We are not what we could be, but we are what He has made us to be; we are not where we should be, but we are where He wants us right now.
So, may you live out of a love for God, recognizing your faults and failures, not so that you beat yourself up and live in the past, regretful of what you have or have not done, but so that you can accept His love and forgiveness, turning from yourself and your sin, and running into the future that God is preparing for you in Christ Jesus. He is our hope and he is our salvation. Trust in him and you will never be disappointed.