All of us deal with regrets. Relationships that ended poorly. Money that was misspent. Promises that were broken. Time that was wasted. Decisions we wish we could take back. People can say they live without regrets, but I am convinced that since no one is perfect, we are all going to have a few.
How do you deal with the regrets in your life? Some say, “just don’t have any regrets!” Which I suppose means that there is no use spending time feeling bad for something you can’t change. What’s done is done. And while we all agree that wallowing in regret doesn’t solve anything, our strategy should be a little better.
As a pastor who counsels people who are dealing with regret and failure, I always remind people that God is a God of second chances. We should receive His grace and forgiveness (which He freely offers), and then we should seek to repair what has been broken or lost (at least for those relationships and situations where we can take that step).
But the best counsel I can give is to encourage people to deal with tomorrow’s regrets today. Steven Furtick says, “today’s excuses are tomorrow’s regrets in disguise.” Most of the regrets we are going to deal with in the future are going to be caused by decisions (or lack of decisions) that we make today.
Just talk to the people who wish they had done things differently. The man with heart disease who regrets that he didn’t take the time to exercise regularly and eat right. The woman who put off having that difficult conversation with her spouse and now regrets that things could have been different. The retired couple who regret not saving a little bit more when they could and now are struggling every day.
All of these regrets could have been avoided. The solution is simple, but it’s not easy. The answer to tomorrow’s regrets is to do the hard things today so that tomorrow will be easier. Instead, we tend to do the easy thing today and put off the difficult thing until tomorrow. But tomorrow never comes, and life just gets harder.
We all have heard the phrase, “pay today, play tomorrow.” But we live by the phrase, “play today, pay tomorrow.” And today’s fun, becomes tomorrow’s regrets. Today’s decisions really do dictate the future for each of our lives.
Jesus said that if you want to build a house, you have to first sit down and make a plan. You have to think about the kind of house you want, where you are going to build it, what types of materials you are going to use, and most importantly, how much is it going to cost. Think of your life as a house. What kind of house are you building?