Redeeming Regrets

During my sabbatical, I have invited Ann Webb our Family Ministries Director at HCC, to write this week’s HCC Blog.
Some time ago, the HCC staff gathered and attended the Global Leadership Summit virtually. One of the speaker's talks was about regrets. He said something very profound, "regrets point to what you value. "I don't know about you, but I have always heard, "No regrets," "Move on," and "Don't dwell on the past." These cliches at the surface ring true. I just want to bury my regrets and not even think about them.

Regrets to me have always been a negative thing, a reminder of a painful past and things I wish I hadn't done or had done. I think of what I wish I would have said or didn't say, the risks I took or didn't take. I should have… why didn't I… if only I had…how could I have been so stupid…? Unfortunately, stuffing things down and the feelings associated with them don't make them not exist anymore. They are still there, just waiting for the moment to pop up and overwhelm us at the most inopportune times.

I believe this shame is one of the most effective tools for the evil one. It is a ruthless taskmaster that keeps us in chains and keeps us from living out the best version of ourselves and the person that God created us to be. It keeps us looking down. It inhibits us from looking up and seeing what God sees in us. It deafens our ears to our loving Savior's words of grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness.

Take a minute and write down a few of your biggest regrets. Next to your regrets, write down your feelings associated with each regret. I know this is hard. Looking at my life honestly and soberly is difficult. I must face the pain that I have caused others and the pain that others have caused me. It can be triggering and painful. It's OK to feel these hard emotions; no, not just OK, but it is good to feel them and get them out there. God sees you; I see you, and your feelings are beautiful.

We are human. This life is a beautiful and messy journey of sorrow, joy, shame, regrets, forgiveness, perseverance, humility, grace, mistakes, growth, love, rejection, and REDEMPTION. 

2 Corinthians 7:10 (MSG) says, "Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets."
Our God, our Father, is a God of redemption. 

Now that you have done that hard work, the good part comes! Consider each regret… what does each regret say that you value? 

The other day I was also able to share one of my biggest regrets with my 26-year-old daughter, and by the grace of God, we have a very close relationship today. So I would like to take a risk and be vulnerable with you and share one of my biggest regrets.

When I was going through a divorce at age 29 with three young children, I wallowed in victimhood, and I interacted with my former spouse with disrespect and contempt at times. I regret that my children had to experience some of that and that I took so long to forgive him. Ugh… that was even hard to type. What are the feelings I have associated with that? I feel grief and sorrow, ashamed, guilty, heartbroken, distressed, resentful, and embarrassed. What does that regret say I value? It says I value respect, forgiveness, treating people with dignity, mercy, kindness, self-control, protecting children's hearts, treating others as I would want them to treat me, and marriage. 

Embrace this life for ALL that it is. ALL of it points us closer to Christ… the good, bad, and the ugly. Have regrets. Feel them. See them. Reclaim them and praise God that he has redeemed you for greater things!

Thank you Ann,