Oh, if only… I had moved my hand out of the way of the heavy truck door last night before I closed it. If only… I had pulled it back while my son chattered with urgency over the possibility of a racetrack within the oversized Amazon box by his leg. Today, I may have typed this blog with ease. I also might have avoided a sleepless night without the shooting pain up my wrist and this nagging fear that I may have to get it x-rayed before the end of the day.
For me, regrets all begin with a single seed. A thought within my head that begins to play over and over, allowing doubt to grow. I’ve learned I don’t like regretting my decisions and I believe they are much too heavy for any of us to carry alone through life. I’m confident God wants to receive them all, so we can move on in freedom and joy. Doesn’t that sound great? All we have to do is ask Him to take them, as we accept our own responsibility, and ask Him for forgiveness.
So, now how do we avoid regretful decisions in the future? Maybe we just need to slow down, slow down and pray on the front end of a choice rather on the backside. I believe our decisions will contain more benefits than if we had not prayed at all. Some choices seem like they are between two good things don’t they? But God’s wisdom far surpasses our understanding in even matters like these. In contrast, other choices we face in life may prove quite difficult. After we receive the affirming answer from God we’ve sought, there’s one thing I’m confident, that we will still face doubt in the decision making process. Doubt will surface in either case and ask–“Are you really sure you want to travel down that road?” For a moment–enthusiasm, assurance, and clarity may step aside and allow our choice it’s testing.
Don’t worry, hesitation reminds us of our need for God’s wise direction and assurance. However, let’s proceed in caution here. Both hesitation and second guessing after God has already given His direction might appear in immature or disobedient ways like–
- Over commitment
- Remaining anxious
- Avoidance of intimacy with God
- Re-asking the same questions of God we already were given an answer to.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, any of these things are signals of a problem. Or maybe this sounds familiar–I don’t want to go where my Lord is leading. I’m not ready. Do you remember Jonah’s reaction to his assignment from God? Aren’t we thankful that He’s so patient with us?
Once I realize my need for clarity in the decision making process–
- I often look around at my situation and cry–Jesus please help.
- Even though my emotions need attention, I’m learning not to trust them for the truth at the crossroad.
- I’m learning to ask God hard but specific questions.
- I’m learning to ask Him to close doors.
- I’m learning to analyze my situation through His word.
- I’m learning to ask God to bring clarity to where each path may lead and what His best might look like.
- I’m asking for God to affirm my way and taking note at how God affirms His direction in my life.
- I’m learning regrets are heavy burdens to carry and I will avoid them even if making a decision takes a little extra time to seek God in prayer.
Some of the best decisions we’ve made, my husband and I, were at these crossroads–like deciding to believe in Jesus or not, deciding to build a friendship with each other–thus beginning our relationship, our marriage, our vocation and job changes, our childbearing, our becoming foster parents, our adopting, our seasons of full-time and lay ministry, our moving or staying, our financial choices, our educational choices, our buying or selling things, in our friendships, our choosing a church family, our using our gifts and talents, our making healthy choices, and our long term and short term investments for example. Decisions like those listed, all have their own season as well as a crossroad where making a decision must happen. All of them have a beginning and all have an ending. In every personal journey and calling, each one of us must decide how our faith in God applies, if the Bible matters in our choices, if His commands matter to us, and what will constitute our or God’s idea of success. Finally, each one of us must decide if we believe what 2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 says. Do we believe God’s grace is sufficient for what He’s calling us into or out of, especially when we don’t feel equipped or strong enough for the task?
Let’s face it, we all need daily encouragement from Biblical accounts such as Joshua, Ruth, Naomi, Esther, Mary, Peter, Paul, and Jesus. They all encourage us to proceed in courageous faith, not fear. I pray we will follow their example by seeking and finding God’s abundant grace filled vision for ourselves, like they did at the crossroads. May we guard our hearts in fervent prayer as we take those hesitant first steps of faith on the affirmed road before us. May we drop all clinging regrets of the past at the Lord’s feet today in repentance and proceed in freedom, confidence, and faith together. May we also seek Him in spirit and truth, attuning our ears to His voice more and more in this new year. May God bless and guide our journey with Him by our side.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.”
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me, Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us lineup to what we have already attained.”
“I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called , and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”