So… I remember a time in my life when I was really indecisive.
I remember I was trying to please others so much, I forgot about myself. In that process, I made a lot of decisions that didn’t give much regard to my life, or emotional safety. What I wanted out of life, was on the back burner. I basically lived for the enjoyment and delight of someone else, because I thought that was how you show you love someone. I was so wrong. I had love all confused. And because of that, I had so much inner conflict, insecurity and so much doubt inside of myself. Discord was often in my relationships, and I just had no peace with anyone, so I stayed away from people, mostly. As long as they were not talking about my life, then I was okay with them. I didn’t want anyone telling me what to do and if they offered without my asking, then I was ready to run from them, even those close to me, and who mean a lot to me.
When you don’t have peace inside, everything you do or don’t do, feels like a mistake. You second guess yourself all the time, and you cannot trust your instincts. And when you ignore your instincts, man… you are in T-R-O-U-B-L-E! I operated in this way so often, I didn’t know who I was , or whether I was coming or going. That means I was lost. After a while, I became so hopeless, I just lost hope altogether. I was just existing. I apologized for everything, I had many qualms with people and the places where I was in life. I carried resentments and as a result, I was just plain miserable. I was annoyed to the point that accepting annoyance was how I lived. But I was so blind to this fact, I simply endured it. It became the norm. I was living with regret. When I looked up the word regret, I found in the thesaurus these words: ” to prey on the mind…have a weight on the mind; leave an aching void.” That’s what regrets feels like. Sorrow, pain, hurt – all the time, and guilt.
Growing up in an alcoholic family, I realized this was the norm for me, ( living with annoyances) which is why I didn’t recognize it when it occurred in a daily basis in my life and relationships. (I know, crazy… right?) But we do this, because we tend to go with what’s familiar and yet become so comfortable with it, we consider it to be normal? How does this happen? You recognize you were annoyed and miserable, yet every single day you find comfort with it? I think deep down inside I knew I was miserable, but I didn’t want to admit it. I was living with a denial and a numbness that honestly, felt very good, because if I didn’t have to acknowledge it, then I thought it was not bothering me. But then, after 11 years of depression, it finally caught up with me. I was at my wits end. My mental health took a toll on me and I knew I had to change something.
One day my spirit cried out to God, and revealed I was living with sorrow. I had much so much REGRET about the situations I found myself in life, the decisions I had made and I was suffering from so much sorrow. I was sad about my life and I felt trapped. I felt responsible for things I wasn’t even responsible for. The adults in my life blamed me and I took on their issues and their grief to the point, I had no resolve, no contentment and no harmony in my life. It took a lot to admit I was sad. I was really depressed and I had chosen to live like that for several years. Living in regret.
I remember one morning I spent the entire morning with God in prayer on my back porch. I was angry, bitter and I was hurting. I was also very stubborn and God used a lot of my grief to help me to recognize some of the things I held on to were because of pride. I remember crying out to God with so much pain and telling God I was ‘fed up’ and I wanted a new life, and new hope, and a new way of being and doing. As I sat there, I had a vision in my head of the image of the woman in the Bible with whom they cast stones . (John 8) These people brought her to Jesus to be condemned. Jesus response to her accusers was to write on the ground. No one knows what Jesus wrote. But her accusers all left after Jesus wrote on the ground. He then said : “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” I envisioned Jesus as I sat on my porch (with my eyes closed); write in the ground for me. As He wrote, He basically wrote some things that only I saw, of course. But what he wrote reminded me of what He desired for me to have. His promises. I saw that He had much greater intention for me to have good, in my life. I believe it was like that with her accusers, as well. What was important was not what He wrote, but what He said and how what he said, made me feel. I didn’t feel sorrowful any longer, I was no longer troubled, I was no longer hurting and burdened deeply with regret, and I became decisive. I knew instantly that I deserved more, I wanted more and that I could have more; and I made the decision to do it.
John 8:7, 10,11 “But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” NASB
Jesus dealt with this woman with such tenderness and grace, that she was in awe. All the accusers surrounding her also were also surprised, but they must have understood, because they left too. If we condemn ourselves, with LIVE WITH REGRET. My relationship with God has taught me I am not worthy of punishment for the decisions I have made.That’s why he died for us. Once I repent, ask God for help, receive it, then move on. then comes release. Just like it did for the woman in John 8. This is very important. It’s necessary for living with a clear conscious.
That day on my back porch, I contended with Jesus, in my soul . But I learned three things after my wrangling with God:
1. I had to let go of my past.
2., I couldn’t live in the condemnation, because if I did, I would accept the guilt and regret from my past.
3. I learned I had to move on, because HE didn’t condemn me, and so I had to stop condemning myself.
4. I had to forgive myself.
When you cannot forgive yourself, you don’t remember to be kind, nurturing and self-loving. You forget to forgive yourself. It took years for me to forgive myself for things in my past, even after I made a decision to live a better life and leave those things behind, I knew I was worth more, I knew I deserved more, but it didn’t make me leave the situation or change anything. Here’s what made the difference: accepting God’s forgiveness and allowing His love for me to redeem me. For me, this was what unraveled the love confusion. I learned that if I accepted God’s love first and allowed this to be my foundation for loving others and BEING LOVED… then I would be alright. Once I was certain God has forgiven me and wanted more for me, I began to move towards freedom, and I never looked back. I fond resolve. But I have to give God my regrets.
People are often amazed by how much peace I seem to have. Let me tell you, I am not perfect. I still struggle, even. And although I have peace , now… It took a very long time to get here. After I got through the muck and the mess of my own regrets, I was able to stand again on my own two feet. Of course, some of the way, God carried me to be honest. But I made it to the other side. Now that I am here, it ‘s pertinent I tell the story of how I made it here, so others could be set free as well.
Amen & Selah.