I should have listened, but it was too late.
College wasn’t in the plans. I wasn’t even fond of high school and proved it by quitting my senior year only to return a few months later when the grass on the other side turned tasteless. I eventually graduated but entered the work world instead of another classroom.
Eight years later, I accepted God’s plan and returned to college as a twenty seven year old, possessing a different outlook on life and education. Among my regrets was paying for what would have earlier been free because of my father’s profession. But regret didn’t prevent my forward move, and eventually I paid the bill.
I’ve been known to long for the good old days when life was simpler. When a loaf of bread was nine cents, a gallon of milk 14 cents and a pound of steak 42 cents. But that was the Great Depression.
Solomon warns of regret’s poison. It keeps us longing for good old days viewed through rose colored glasses. Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. (Ecclesiastes 7:10)
But we have regrets nevertheless. Over failed marriages, misunderstood statements, unwarranted conflicts, poor financial decisions, unforgiveness, soured friendships, and foolish decisions. Not attending college after high school is only one of mine. You probably have a list too.
Regret imprisons in the past, and while I’m a product of mine I don’t have to be a prisoner. I’ve chosen freedom instead. I can long for what might have been or enjoy what is and can be. Pasts may contain closets full of ugly skeletons, but God’s future is bright and beautiful: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
God renews our future when we allow him to heal past regrets.
Prayer: Lord, teach us to learn from the past but not live there.
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