Rejoice in Regret

Taking what life throws at you and growing into a better person is what I desire. Often times, we have good intentions that aren’t put into actions. The past couple of weeks for me have been one of learning from good intentions.

I worked with Judy for about ten years when I was in Human Resources. She was my “work mama”, a friend and someone who loved me like I was one of her own. She was honestly that way with everyone. Me and my family made so many memories in her beach house for many years. We even had the blessing of staying there for a month one summer. How awesome is that!?!

Christmas Eve, I messaged her daughter to check on her as she had been battling dementia for several years and her health had declined. I spoke with her back in the spring/summer, but hadn’t seen her in a while. Her daughter said she wasn’t doing well and to pray for her and the family. Of course I would do so, but my gut told me that day, “Go by and see her…just for a second.” We were running around trying to finish up Christmas shopping and preparations last minute and before I knew it Christmas and the New Year had passed. I kept telling myself to make an effort to go see her, but it just didn’t work out. Life got in the way as it often does.

Monday as I am running around doing errands, cleaning and taking care of business like us mamas do, I had several missed phone calls from another old coworker. When I seen the missed calls, my heart told me what I feared. Judy was with Jesus. I hesitantly picked up the phone several hours later and called her back to confirm what I already knew to be fact in my heart. Oh the regret that flooded over my spirit. As I stood in line at the funeral home yesterday and sitting through her funeral, my heart was so heavy. Why didn’t I just stop by there and say hello and tell her I loved her. Do I think it would have made a difference to her or her life? Honestly, I don’t know…but I know that I wouldn’t be left feeling regret for my good intentions.

Thats what intentions do. They leave you feeling regretful and asking a lot of “what ifs”. My story is an example of small regret, but what about those regrets that hang over you like a dark cloud? The ones that have hindered your walk with God? How do we get past those feelings of regret or failed good intentions?We embrace those regrets because without them, we can’t build Godly character. If we can’t see where we have failed, how are we able to see room for growth.

If you read the Bible, there are many instances of regret…even to those that walked beside the Jesus. Peter in denying Jesus or Judas betraying Jesus for a little cash. In reading, it’s obvious they both had regrets, but they took different avenues with how they dealt with those regrets. Peter ended up repenting and chose to love and follow Christ whole-heartedly and Judas ending up hanging himself because his ego and shame got in the way.

God doesn’t desire for you to beat yourself up for your regrets. You repent, you learn from them and you cling to the promise in Romans 5:3-5…

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

God’s love is given to you. Take it. Rejoice. Don’t spiritually hang yourself for your past…your regrets…or the good intentions that went the wrong way. Drop your shame at the foot of the cross and say as Peter did, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love you.” (John 21:17). Refuse to be like Judas…silence the voice of Satan and remember that apart from God and His grace we are capable of anything. You can allow regret to paralyze you or you can run toward hope full speed.

Hope will always outweigh shame.