Dealing With Regret

Hi, thank you for joining me today!  I’m Debbie.  And we’re gonna talk today about…regret.  Regret, yes.  Regret, something that you might deal with.  I have dealt with it.  And just about everybody’s that breathing on the face of the planet today is dealing with regret.  Because if you’ve been living — if you’ve come out of your bedroom door at least once in your life, you’re dealing with some regret because everybody makes mistakes.  

I think that there are basically TWO KINDS of regret.  

#1 — One is:  “I should have done this and I didn’t.”  That’s a missed opportunity.  

#2 — And the second is more like:  “I did something that I shouldn’t have done.”  

So whether it’s the WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE or the WHAT I SHOULDN’T HAVE DONE, regret is a part of life.  I know when I was in college, I said, “I want to live my life with no regrets at all, and when I get older I want to look back on my life and I don’t want to have any regrets.”  Well, I was young and stupid!  Because that’s not possible.  

The problem with regret isn’t that we have it.  Because, like I said, everybody has regret, even some lightweight remorse (“I should have done this, or I should have done that, and I didn’t.)  But when you begin to dwell on it, that’s when the problem begins to really happen.  When you begin to dwell on regret and remorse, and instead of it just being a like a continuous cycle or thoughts in your head, it gets down into your heart.  When you begin to think, I’m guilty — not only am I guilty, but I was so stupid and I was dumb, and you begin the self-loathing that happens, and you begin to feel unworthy — like you’re not worthy of a good life, and you could never go forward and have love and happiness.  You know what, we do that sometimes, even when you don’t know you’re doing it.  Because, if you catch yourself thinking, I can’t be with this group of people because I’m not good enough for them because of the things that I did back there, that is self-loathing, and that is unworthiness.  When it gets to that, then something has happened.  

And I want to talk to you about that today:  The difference between SHAME and GUILT.  Now guilt is really a healthy thing, I think.  It’s when we feel bad for something that we’ve done that we shouldn’t have done.  It means you have a conscience!  Yes, we should all feel bad to some degree when we do bad things.  It’s natural, and it’s wholesome.  It’s healthy!  

But when it transforms into shame, that’s another matter, because guilt is when you feel badly because of what you’ve done, and shame is when you feel badly because of who you are.  And that’s a whole nother matter.

When you feel badly because of who you are, what has happened is, the guilt that you had, transformed from WHAT YOU DID into WHO YOU ARE.  There’s an identity change there.  Because instead of just saying Well, I did that, and I shouldn’t have, it becomes, I did that, and because of that I’m a bad person.  So when you take it to heart, then your value begins to fall.  And when you become ashamed of who you are because of what you did, then you need to get real with God about it and get that off your conscience.  

There’s a couple of things I want to remind you of before we go any further today:

          *  One is that good people do foolish things on occasion.  Yes, they do.  Everybody that you know, even the    person that you would put WAY UP HERE at the very top at the level of sainthood, they are not perfect either!  They aren’t telling you all of their stuff, because it’s none of your business.  But they don’t go around talking about it.  They’re not giving you the details of your life, but everybody’s got something in their life that they shouldn’t have done.  

          *  And secondly, they thing that you’re so worried about…that you look back on — even if it was something really wicked — the fact that you’re fretting about it and condemning yourself about it, in a sense shows that that’s a character quality of goodness in you.  Because if you were not a good person, and you were really a wicked, bad person, you wouldn’t be worried about it.  

You know, all of this stuff that we’re talking about associated with regret — the self-condemnation, the worry, the anxiety, the lack of ability to go forward with your life and feel like you’re good enough to do what it is that you’re called to do… all those things are NEGATIVE.  Now just think about that.  They’re all negative.  All of them are negative things.  Did you know that we do not serve a negative God.  We serve a good God, we serve a God that’s POSITIVE.  Everything about God is on the up-side!  None of it’s on the down-side.  So when you look at it in the wide spectrum of things, when you’re fretting about the past mistakes you’ve made, and you’re really stewing in regret, you are not doing things God’s way.  You’re not thinking about it the way God thinks about it.  And I can promise you now, that until you do, you will never have peace.  Because God’s way is the only way.  

I want to give you a scripture today…

Acts 3:19-20 — Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord….

Now, if this verse doesn’t encourage you, I don’t know what will!  I’m telling you, this is an awesome scripture.  This is an awesome scripture, and it should set you free because of what it says.  We’re gonna take a second look at it, and as we go forward with this scripture, I’m gonna give you four things to do to help you get beyond regret.

#1 — The first things is what the scripture says to do at the very beginning, it says REPENT THEREFORE.  Repent!  How simple is that?  That’s what God wants us to do.  That’s exactly what He wants us to do.  You know what it means to repent?  It means to repent in such a way, really that in your heart, you would do it differently if you could do it over.  And isn’t that what you would do with the things you regret in your life?  If I could do it again, I would never do it the way I did it.  I would never do that again!  I would never miss that opportunity again.  Whatever it is, when you repent, it’s I’m so sorry, God, that I did that, and I’m giving this to You.  That’s what God wants us to do.  He wants to carry our burdens.  You know, the Bible is full of scriptures about God carrying our burdens for us.  Well what kind of burdens do you think there are that God can carry for you if He can’t carry your regret?  Yes, God wants to carry your regret!  He wants to take it.  He wants you to unload it.  Give it to Him.

#2 — TURN BACK!  That’s the next thing this verse says.  Repent therefore, and turn back.  Turn back, just turn around.  Exchange WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE to WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW?  Because God wants you to let go of that thing and move forward.  This is His will for you!  This is exactly what God wants you to do.  He isn’t interested in you staying where you are.  He isn’t interested in you staying in regret and laying down and wallowing in thing, which is what you’ve probably been doing in the past.  He wants you to let go.  He wants you to get up, give it to Him, let Him carry that burden, and then He wants you to move on with your life.  Because there are things that you are supposed to be doing.  And wallowing in regret is not one of them.  So ask yourself, What should I do now?  I can’t change the past — what I should have done — so what should I do now?  

#3 — ACCEPT “TIMES OF REFRESHING” FROM THE LORD.  Use your faith to go forward.  You know, there is a concept that will set you free when you realize that TODAY IS TOMORROW’S PAST.  Get that.  Today is tomorrow’s past.  Now the past is something that we can’t change, right?  But this is the past… of the future.  Today is the past of the future.  So, if you want to change your past, change today.  What should I do?  I can’t change what I did yesterday, but if I could do it over, what would I have done — What can I do today to make it different?  Do that thing.  Do that thing.  Change your past today.  And then tomorrow you’ll look back, and you’ll have a different past.  

#4 — BE GRATEFUL.  Have an attitude of gratitude.  Be thankful for the things that’s good in your life — but also, the things that you’ve done right.  Don’t tell me you haven’t done some things right in your life, I know you have!  This is what I want you to do:  Write those things down.  Begin to write down things in your life that you’ve done good.  The things you’ve done right.  You know, as women we tend to dwell on the things that we did wrong.  And I know that I’m hard on myself, many women are.  And it’s tempting for us to beat ourselves up.  But that’s not what God wants us to do.  I want you just to make a list of things that you’ve done right in your life.

Now listen… GOD IS FOR YOU.  He’s not against you.  He’s for you.  He wants you to win!  God wants you to win.  He wants you to get beyond regret.  So make a commitment today to take this scripture, Acts 3:19-20, take that scripture, write it down on a postcard somewhere, stick it up in your car, on your bathroom mirror, wherever you’ll see it several times a day for the next few days… Quote it, live it, let it change your life.  

Thanks for joining me today!  I look forward to seeing you next time.