Regret is a joy thief that hijacks your present and also your future.
It keeps you ever-grieving over the past and incapable of moving forward into a brighter tomorrow.
Rather than making the progress you’d like to see, regret keeps you circling the same mountain again and again…wishing for change but not seeing much at all.
And instead of seeing “failures” to meet your own expectations as mere “potholes” along the journey, you set up camp within them, defining yourself by your setbacks.
We all have expectations for ourselves.
For some, it’s living a healthier lifestyle and getting in shape…. For others, it’s following a better daily routine and becoming more organized… And for others, it’s giving more attention to the people and things that matter most…. The list could go on and on…
We all have goals and areas we want to work on….
And these are all good things.
But, hey! “No biggie” on meeting these goals…
The New Year is approaching, and our New Years’ resolutions will be the cure to everything we want to see different in our lives, right?
Everything will be better on January 1st… when the “magical” refresh button is pushed and change finally becomes possible.
Um….The only thing is…
Let’s be honest…
What typically happens to us when…
…After two weeks into the New Year of dieting, we cave into eating that delicious looking gourmet donut that was calling our name in the break room?
…We procrastinate too long on a project we promised ourselves we’d finish right away?
…We miss an opportunity to express love to our family or friends because we allowed ourselves to become distracted with things that were less important?
I’ll tell you, because I know…
We beat ourselves up and define ourselves by our failures.
“I’m so undisciplined,” we tell ourselves.
“I just can’t get my act together,” we sigh.
If you’re anything like I know I’ve been, we subconsciously label ourselves based on our failures to meet our own expectations…
And so the cycle continues….
Because… “As a man” (or woman) “thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7 KJV)
In our minds we have labeled ourselves based on our inabilities to fulfill the expectations we have of ourselves, and what’s even worse is that when we do see someone else who meets the expectations we have for ourselves, we rank ourselves lower, causing us to lose even more joy and perpetuating the cycle of defeat.
If this sounds familiar at all to you…I have some refreshing news for you.
There is hope.
And it doesn’t have to wait until January 1st to be experienced….
Because…. “His mercies are new every morning”… (Lamentations 3:22-23 KJV)
No, the Lord doesn’t want us to continue defining ourselves by our failures to meet our expectations.
He so lovingly and faithfully offers us a clean slate every day…if we choose to accept it.
We can start each day to move forward little by little with His help and strength.
And thankfully, this doesn’t have to wait for the New Year… (Although I know we often enjoy the “newness” of a completely brand new calendar where the details of life have yet to be written.)
But, here begs the question… Will there be days in this New Year of 2017, where I will feel displeased with the decisions that I’ve made? When I eat the slice of cake and bowl of ice cream that I “promised” myself I wouldn’t or when I fail to keep the daily routine I’ve made for myself?
Yes, I’m sure there may be days like this…although I do aspire to be more disciplined in my choices.
And yet, while I continue to hold high expectations for myself, something I feel the Lord speaking into my heart as this year comes to an end is this…
When you fail to meet your own expectations, rather than camping out in regret, and allowing it to undue your day… keep moving forward.
Don’t stay there. Don’t dwell on the short coming. Press on.
Our Heavenly Father wants us to live in the joy and freedom His Son came to abundantly give us (John 10:10), and we have His mercy, grace, and love to rest and run to at every moment. (Hebrews 4:16)
Neither my successes nor my failures are what defines who I am.
I belong to God, and I am His forever.
He chose me. He loves me. And He has great purposes for my life. (1 Peter 2:9 & John 3:16)
It was the Lord that started the good work in me, and He promises to be faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6) No, I won’t stay where I am forever. My life is always forward moving, because I have Him in it.
It is Him working in my life that causes me to “will and to do according to His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)
So, as I yield myself to Him and follow His leading, I know I will arrive at my desired destination.
And as for regret….?
That’s something I don’t want to carry into the New Year. Instead, I want to carry God’s mercy and grace everywhere I go, running to Him when I fail and allowing Him to pick me back up again so that I can once again stand and move forward into all that He has planned and purposed for my life.
“For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.” (Proverbs 24:16 NASB)
“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19 KJV)