Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Rancid Regret: When You're Clean But You Think You Stink

Every day I live with regrets.

Some are losses — people, opportunities, innocence.

Some are disappointments — a bad decision, a chance I didn't take, a desire for a different outcome.

Many things I have had to grieve. All things I cannot change.

I don't think regret is a bad thing, especially if I did something wrong. Regrets can help us see our mistakes, so we can make wiser choices in the future.

Sometimes, though, regrets become more than just a mistake or an opportunity to live and learn. We can become chained to certain regrets and allow them to define us.

Like souring milk or bad chicken, we can't escape this rancid regret. And it can really stink up the place!

We use rancid regrets to prove how awful we are. We judge ourselves by them and tell ourselves we are not worthy.

But God has a different message. His way covers it all — even the most repugnant odors.

We may choose to condemn ourselves for the things we have done and live in that condemnation for the rest of our lives. A prideful path and a sin against God.

Or we may choose to accept His death on the cross as an amendment for our misdoings — a remedy for our rancidness.

So how do you embrace regrets and stop feeling like a failure? How can I forgive myself when I can't erase what I've done?

Perhaps it starts with understanding what it looks like to live forgiven?

Forgiveness means I am sincerely sorry. I desire to make a different choice, if there is a next time. I acknowledge what I did was wrong, but it is no longer held against me. It is a second chance. A do-over. If I'm forgiven, what I did does not control or define who I am today or how others see me or how I see myself.

A good friend advised, "Let go of the condemnation (it's not our job) and live in wisdom."

Live in wisdom. Maybe instead of judging and punishing ourselves, we allow our mistakes, especially the big ones, to teach and change us. Even God believed the best teachers were the ones with the most life experience — the least likely characters, who didn't have it all together. Your mistakes make you wiser (or they should).

Every day I live with regrets. But I deep down know this truth—

I am clean. White as snow. A sweet-smelling fragrance blessed by God. And absolutely, unconditionally loved, valued, and forgiven by Him.

"Good things come to those who are patient and still hope, even though they've been let down and disappointed, to those who still believe even though they've failed at something, to those who still love even though they've been hurt before. So never regret anything that has happened in the past; it cannot be changed, undone or forgotten. Take it all as lessons learned and move on with grace." Anonymous

Living radically with Ann at "A Holy Experience"…


bluecottonmemory said...

You are so right - learn from the mistakes, take the meat (wisdom) out of it and discard the rest!Some regrets we earned, some were given to us unasked for - God can turn them into wisdom and we need to let Him! Wishing you blessing this week!

Unknown said...

Thanks, bluecottonmemory, for stopping by and sharing with me. Yes, "taking the meat out and leaving the rest". Well, said!

Angel said...

So grateful for the Cross and how you describe it here, as "a remedy for our rancidness." Amen! Thank you for the reminder that, even when we feel like we stink, His grace has (and continues) to wash us clean.

P.S. Now following...

Unknown said...

Angel: I'm grateful, too. The key is that we feel like, believe that we stink. Praying that we might understand His grace so we can live like we're washed clean.

Thanks for following!

martha brady said...

Christy, i love this post. so true. your likeness of living in regret being like rancid milk was great! (i hope i remembered that correctly.)

how often do our memories of past regrets hound us when the words of Christ in Romans 8 say..."there is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to those who are in Christ Jesus!"

what hopeful and encouraging words to us. walk in wisdom. learn from mistakes and past failures, but live in the forgiveness Christ offers in Christ and His work done and completed on the Cross.


Unknown said...

Martha: Thank you for sharing! It's so frustrating when our memories and past regrets hound us, like you said. They taunt and haunt. And unless we believe the truth, that we are forgiven and walk in wisdom, we remain stuck. We have the freedom, but because of sin we live condemned. May we choose wisdom!

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