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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Learning How to Get Past Regrets

In review of Isaiah 43:18-19 it says, “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands”

Bottom Line:
Don’t dwell on the past. Something new is starting to take place. He is opening new paths and opportunities.

What this means to me:
I should not dwell on what has happened in the past. Instead I should be alert and present in the moment. God is doing something brand-new. He is paving the way for better things.

Dwelling on the past is much like playing the “if only” game...  
. If only I could do it over again.
. If only I had listened sooner.
. If only I could erase the past.
. If only I could forgive myself.

I have learned that this is a foolish question, mainly because there is no real answer. Furthermore pondering it will never change what had already taken place. I will always have regrets. I have made bad choices and said foolish things. I’ve wasted time and hurt myself and others. I need to keep in mind that I am not perfect.

What I am learning is that I need to release any regrets. Here are some strategies I had tended to fall back on that simply put, do not work:

Burying It - Burying the past will never help me get past any regrets. I can try to minimize (“It wasn’t a big deal”), rationalize (“Everyone does it”), and compromise (lower my standards), but the regrets are still there, and if unresolved, they’ll keep coming back to haunt me over and over again like a creature in a horror movie.

Blame - This tactic is as old as Adam and Eve. When Adam sinned, he took it like a man: He blamed his wife! I have used blame to balance out guilt.

Beating myself up - I try to pay for my guilt unconsciously through illness, depression, setting myself up for failure, and other forms of self-punishment. The problem with beating up on myself is this: My conscience never knows when to stop! I’d rather not spend my life in self-condemnation.

So instead, here’s what I can do:

Admit my guilt - Own up to it. Don’t make excuses. “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance” (Proverbs 28:13 TLB).

Accept Christ’s forgiveness - He’s waiting to clean my slate. I can ask him to clear my conscience. Romans 8:1 says, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (NIV).

Forgive myself, and focus on the future - “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands” (Isaiah 43:18-19 MSG).

Today I will consider, if there is anything I’m holding onto where I need to admit my guilt (or part in it), accept forgiveness and refocus on the future.

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