There is perhaps nothing in life more powerful at preventing forward movement than regret!
Regret can be the chain that holds us back and keeps us from moving, one faith-filled step at a time, into the life that God has created us to live. We can regret what we have done in the past, what has been done to us or even missed opportunities that we believe would have profoundly impacted our lives.
But, since I know I don’t need to convince anyone about the power of this common affliction, I want to spend a few minutes discussing How We Can Overcome Regret. The list is a bit long and each point could be it’s own post, but my hope is that this will be a starting point on the journey to moving beyond your past.
So, here it is:
Ten Ways That We Can Begin To Overcome Regret
1. Remember what God has done
God has done so much for us and it is important that we take the time to REMEMBER all that He has done. We can reflect on His goodness, mercy, and grace. We can also look back at His faithfulness in our lives and be reminded of how He has been with us through every trial and tribulation. We often struggle with the doubt and fear of regret because we forget how truly good God is.
Let us never forget all that He has done for us!
2. Become Re-acquainted with Forgiveness
I am always amazed, at myself as well as other, how quickly I forget the power of God’s forgiveness. Anyone that has heard me talk about forgiveness knows that I am not a big fan of the phrase, “you need to forgive yourself.” The reality is that we do not have the power to forgive ourselves.
Only God can forgive! What we can do, however, and what I believe the idea of forgiving yourself communicates, is ACCEPT the forgiveness of God as working daily in our lives.
Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
We forgive others because we, and they, are forgiven by God. We release the pain of regret because God, who is the only one capable, has forgiven it. Hanging on to the past means that we have either not released it to God through repentance or acknowledgment of His sovereignty, or we have decided to put ourselves in His place and hang on to the hurt.
Take some time to remember, to truly understand, just how powerful and complete God’s forgiveness really is.
3. Understand that Faith is trusting God for today, tomorrow AND yesterday
Faith gives us the strength to trust in God for our present and future, but also for our past. When we understand that faith is trusting God for today, tomorrow and yesterday, it helps us to have a more complete view of His will and plan for our lives. We can look back on past experiences with the assurance that God was with us then just as He is now. This understanding gives us the courage to face whatever lies ahead, knowing that He will be there with us every step of the way.
4. Learn and apply lessons from the past
In order to prepare ourselves for the future, we must first look back at the lessons of the past. By learning from our mistakes and successes, we can better understand how to move forward. We can use these lessons to inform our decisions and strategies, helping us make better choices for the future.
When we look back at our history, we can also gain a better understanding of our current situation. We can use this knowledge to identify patterns and trends that will help us anticipate what lies ahead. This way, we can be more prepared when it comes time to make important decisions or take action in the present moment.
By studying and applying the lessons of the past can grow from rather than regret what we no longer have control over. The past, good or bad, is only wasted if we don’t use it to move forward.
5. Redeem the past
As we learn from and apply the lessons of the past we are able to redeem what has been a source of pain and regret. Redemption is the process of making valuable what was once worthless. When we use our past and the lessons learned to improve our lives or the lives of those around us, we are redeeming, making valuable an important part of our lives. In Genesis 50:20 Joseph made this statement to his brothers:
“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”
Don’t miss out on what God wants to do THROUGH your story because you can’t see past, well, the past.
6. Forgetting is not Forgetting-It is Releasing
I love the words of Paul in Philippians 3:13-14:
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Paul had a lot in his past that could have, and probably at times did, cause regret. He decided though that he was not going to allow that to hold him back. He said that he would FORGET those things behind. What we have to understand here, though, is that Paul was not suggesting that he would not have the ability to remember his past. He was saying that he was going to release himself from the past!
Paul made a decision that instead of dwelling on what he had done to others and what had been done to him, that he was going to move forward toward what God had set in front of him. He was no longer going to DWELL on the areas of regret and would instead focus on the future. And that is exactly what we need to do-Forget: Let go of the chain that holds us to the past so that we can go where God wants to take us.
7. Feelings do not equal truth. Know the difference
It is easy to get caught up in our feelings and emotions and forget that they do not always equal the truth. We often find ourselves believing things that are not necessarily true, simply because it is how we feel. This can be dangerous, as it can lead to decisions that are not based on facts or reality. It’s important to remember the difference between feelings and truth, so that we can make informed decisions that actually reflect reality. Knowing the difference between our emotions and the truth can help us make better decisions in life and ensure that we are making choices based on facts rather than feelings.
8. Focus on God’s plan for your life-Build where you are
Have you ever felt like you’re stuck and don’t know what to do? It’s easy to get overwhelmed by life’s complexities and feel like there’s no way out. But the truth is, God has a plan for each of us and He wants us to build where we are right now.
God has given us the tools and resources that we need to succeed. We just need to focus on His plan for our lives and use them in the best way possible. By taking small steps towards achieving our goals, we can make progress towards living out God’s plan for our lives.
9. Die Daily
I Corinthians 15:31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
What does it mean to “Die Daily”? It means that we make the decision, EVERY DAY, to live the life that God has called us to live. We struggle with the ups and down of emotion that cause us to get victory over the past one day and feel overwhelmed by it the next. Die Daily. That’s what Paul said he had to do. In order to, “Forget those things which are behind and press toward the mark”, a daily renewal of God’s working in our life is essential. We do not make a one time decision that allows us to overcome regret. We decide every day.
10. Stop comparing
Comparing ourselves to others can be a dangerous. It will lead to feelings of inadequacy, envy, and insecurity. We may think that we are not good enough or that someone else is better than us. But the truth is, we all have different talents and gifts. It’s important to focus on our own individual strengths and weaknesses instead of comparing ourselves to others.
When we compare ourselves to others we can also prevent us from enjoying our own lives and achievements. We may get caught up in trying to compete with those around us, instead of celebrating our own success.
It’s time to stop comparing ourselves with others and start focusing on our own progress and growth.
2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
You have no idea what others have lived through in their lives and are “unwise” when you allow yourself to compare your situation to theirs. You are responsible to God for the way that you trust, live, and serve. Stop comparing. Take responsibility for yourself. Trust God. Move forward.
How do we overcome regret? By recognizing that God has a plan for our lives bigger than the sum of our past and then, in recognizing this, living the life He has called us to live!
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