Our lives are made up of choices. Some are of little importance and some have enormous consequences. We may choose well, or we may make a mistake. We may look back on some of these choices and wish we had done some things differently. That we’d taken the other path. We have regrets! This is normal. Why? Because we all want to get it right 100% of the time. Many of us are afraid of making a mistake, of failure and disappointment.
But in actual fact a liberating wonderful gift to give ourselves is the freedom to make a mistake. Without questioning, of pushing against the status quo or doing something different, even if that means taking a risk, many of the great inventions, discoveries, works of art, explorations and breakthrough’s of the world would never have been realised or achieved.
2. To live with no regrets we have to learn to move past the fear of making a mistake. All those well known explorers, artists and fore runners had to face the fear of failure, disappointment, and the pain of perhaps making a mistake. But they chose to risk it because the regret of not trying, to them was worse than the regret of making a mistake.
Life is always going to have “what if’s?” “What if I try and I fail?” “If I step out and “fall flat on my face”, “If I make my big move and get rejected? “If I pray and nothing seems to happen?” Yes, all those things are valid concerns. The bible says that when we make a decision we first need to count the cost, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? (Luke 14:28) There is wisdom in counting the cost and evaluating what our choices will mean. There is a cost to following Jesus, (I believe however that the benefits far out – weigh any cost), there is a cost to walking up to someone and telling them how you feel, there is a risk to every new venture we undertake, there is a cost to every decision and choice we make.
But God doesn’t want us stuck doing nothing. He doesn’t want us limited by our fear of regret. He will give us wisdom and clarity if we ask.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you“. (James 1:5)
Our pre-occupation with choices, and the fear of any continuing pain of regret we may experience holds many of us back from being all we were made to be. It is not the plan God has for our lives. He will guide us and help us, and if we do happen to make a mistake and miss it, He promises to be there to prevent us from totally falling.
“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy“. (Jude 1:24)
The LORD supports everyone who falls and raises up those who are bowed down. (Psalm 145:14)
Look at Peter one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, who made the most regretful decision anyone could have made when he denied even knowing Jesus three times, despite Jesus predicting he would. Here was what had happened after the third denial, where he literally called curses down upon himself:
At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind:“Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly”. ( Luke 22:61-62)
Can you imagine the moment? You just spent three years walking with and learning with Jesus, who you believe to be the Son of God. He specifically warned you that you would deny Him despite your bravado. Then He stares right at you, as His prediction comes true. Over the next few days you watch as He is killed in one of the most gruesome manners ever concocted, and then buried. You never got a chance to say you were sorry. You never got a chance to beg His forgiveness. The last time He saw you was when you were denying you even knew Him. If that is not a recipe for regret, I do not know what is. Yet how long did Jesus allow Peter to wallow in the “pit of despond”? Now very long at all according to Scripture.
“Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.” (Mark 16: 7)
Whose words are these? The angel that greeted the women who went to the tomb on Resurrection Sunday! The first order of business? Tell the disciples that He has risen and is going ahead of you into Galilee! And don’t forget to include Peter! God hasn’t forgotten him! Make sure you tell Peter! Jesus didn’t ’t want any regret setting in. In one moment Peter’s regret is suddenly replaced with expectancy.
If we learn from our mistakes, we need have no regrets. If we learn from our mistakes we will only gain a greater depth of knowledge, understanding, compassion, and hopefully character. Peter learnt from his mistakes. The regret was replaced with expectancy for his future, his purpose and a calling from Jesus.
Don’t let a fear of making a mistake hold you back; nor allow regrets from past failings steal from your future. Learn from everything, count the cost before stepping forward, listen and ask for God’s wisdom and live free from regret!
Prayer: Lord I thank you that you give me wisdom to make wise choices, but that you also give me space to learn and grow. Help me to live free from a fear of making mistakes and give me courage to be all you have made me to be. I want to really live – with no regrets! In Jesus name. Amen