DEAR ALI: ‘How can I overcome regret?’
Recently I was feeling really blue and regretful over a decision I made a few months ago: rejecting a really all-round-great-guy Christian brother who asked me out. I felt we barely knew each other. Now I am kicking myself wondering what would have happened if I would have said yes, but now it’s too late. I have this fear that I missed out on God’s will by making the wrong decision. How can I overcome this?
Thanks for sharing your heart my friend. I can totally relate to what you shared. Sometimes things just aren’t so black and white! Or sometimes we just make foolish decisions that leave us with that awful feeling of regret in the pit of our stomach. You waver, wonder, doubt and question, “Maybe I should have done the other thing…maybe I should have gone the other way…maybe I totally screwed up…maybe I…”
I have experienced this within the realm of relationships as well as other areas of my life. Here are three practical tips on how to move forward in the midst of uncertainty or regret over a certain decision.
Choose to Move forward. Paul says, “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.” Sometimes we just have to make the choice to forget what was behind. Forget what the ‘other’ decision was and press on to what’s ahead. Life is full of decisions, both big and small, and sometimes a circumstance will call for action even before we know the complete picture. Scary huh? That’s when we must choose to live by faith and not by sight, trusting that He will give clarity as we move forward, one step at a time.
Believe God was in the decision. If we are praying and seeking God for direction, we have the assurance that He is right there with us in our decisions, even if we don’t know exactly where He is leading. Just like when Joshua was faced with having to make important decisions after Moses died, God said, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Even if we do make a mistake, God is still right there with us! And we know that “…in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Believe He will intervene if you’ve gotten off track. God sent a whale to get Jonah back on track. And he was rebelling against the will of God! I was faced with a huge decision recently. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do, and earnestly wanted to do what God wanted so I prayed, “Lord, with everything I see with my human eyes and all the information I have regarding this situation, I am going to make this choice. But if somehow it is NOT the way you want me to go then please send a ‘whale’ to get me back on the right track.” If we truly are seeking to live out God’s will, we can rest in the fact he will do everything in His power to get us back on His track. One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 41:13, “For I am the Lord your God, who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.”
If you’re facing a tough decision right now–in a relationship, career or otherwise– and you don’t know which way to go, be encouraged with these words from Isaiah 30:21: ‘Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”’
Whichever way you turn, know that God’s voice will be there to guide you in the way you need to go. It’s a promise!