What We Regret
- We regret choices we made/choices we never had (job, marriage, family)
- There are things we wish we had not said/had said
- We wish we had spent more time on(family, friend, laughter, roses)
- We held grudges, built walls, set conditions, withheld forgiveness
- We regret risks we did not take: challenges, relationships, etc.
- We regret experiences that wounded us/changed us/robbed us/crippled us
- We mourn dreams never fulfilled/journeys never taken
- We may have regretted that we are not someone else
What Regret Does
- Regrets focus our attention on the past: what has been-not what will be
- The rehearsal of our regrets is both haunting and paralyzing
- Regrets rob us of joy, and practice sadness and pain
- Dwelling on what “has been” diverts energy from what “is” and “will be”
- Dead Ends: Abusive Reactions, Depression, Drugs, Isolation, Self-pity, Gradual Suicide, Workaholism
How Can We Heal?
- Acknowledging their existence: Am I denying the pain of certain wounds?
- Embracing a genuine desire to be freed (Some people choose to punish themselves)
- Accepting your choices as ours, taking responsibility for our part, but NOT blaming ourselves for what we are not responsible
- Forgiving ourselves for being fallible (accepting the fact that I am)
- A season of sadness: letting go/a season of anger: it takes time…
- A season of grace/ a season of hope: I am more than the sum of my regrets
- Embracing the future: Released to celebrate my life as it is/not “should have been” (biblical examples: Jacob & Esau, David, Simon Peter (John 21), Paul (2 Cor. 4-7)
For Further Reading: Sidney B. and Suzanne Simon, Forgiveness: How to Make Peace with Your Past & Get On With Your Life (Warner); Lewis Smedes, Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve (Harper & Row); Daniel G. Bagby: Healing Our Hurts: Coping With Difficult Emotions (Smyth & Helwys).
Written by Dan Bagby