What to do when you are full of regret and shame.
Some people worry about the future. I worry about my past. I am constantly replaying scenes from my life over and over again in my mind as if I’m watching a movie. But it’s not a good movie. It’s one of those “B” rated flicks. A film so terrible, I am embarrassed for the actors. I wish I could delete it or turn it off and forget I watched it. But I can’t. I have the starring role.
As I watch these scenes from my past flash before me, I cringe. Visions of my actions or lack thereof make me want to hide. Words I wish I could take back blast loudly in my head like a bad radio station I cannot change. The words I should have said stay trapped behind my lips because I am afraid to say them. Thinking I have let my “co-stars” down, I isolate myself. Sadness, guilt, and shame set in as I beat myself up over all the ways I should have done or said it better. Tormented by my failures, I want nothing more than to have the strength to turn the movie off.
A couple of months ago I woke up early in the morning with the statement: “A woman who continues to put on the old rags from her past will never truly be able to wear the rewards of her future.” blasting in my head. I wasn’t sure why at the time but I was certain God laid this on my heart for a reason. After some time researching and meditating on this, God led me to the word regret. Wikipedia defines regret as “a negative conscious and emotional reaction to personal past acts and behaviors.” Reading this definition I was certain God was speaking right to my heart about my past regrets.
Philippian’s 3:13- 14 says: “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” This verse led me to realize that I was holding on to my regrets. Instead of putting them down I was wearing them like an old dirty, tore up, smelly, heavy rag coat.
No wonder I was so miserable. Weighed down and heavy with all of this regret I couldn’t move forward. Consumed with my past, I couldn’t enjoy the good things right in front of me. I was looking back at what was behind me instead of looking forward to all of the rewards and blessings in Christ that lie ahead.
God doesn’t want us to fret and analyze over our past mistakes nor does he hold them against us. Lamentations 3:22-23 says: “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” God’s love and mercy never ends. Every morning is new. We can have a fresh start every time we wake up. We are not required to put on the old rags from yesterday. They are gone. In Christ, there is nothing we can do past, present, or future to lose his love, mercy, and forgiveness. We aren’t chained to our pasts.
Letting go of the past and moving forward will not be easy for me. I will have to fight the urge to analyze every detail in my past. Learning to be proactive and take every negative thought captive before it takes root in my mind is going to be a challenge. (2 Corinthians 10:5 paraphrased) There will be struggles but eventually I will learn to hand over every past situation before it consumes me. It’s a long road ahead of me but I am not alone. God will see me through this and I will come out victorious! For with Christ all things are possible. (Philippian’s 4:13 paraphrased)
Philippian’s 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
2 Corinthian’s 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Linking up with Sue Detweiler today.