Here, let me give you a magic pill. Just swallow it and you can go back to any moment of your life. You can either relive the experience, or change it. Where will you go? What will you do?
Unless you’re still young, I bet that you, like me, would return to the moment of your deepest regret. This time, though, you would do something different. You would try to avoid the regret.
I frequently meet people who just want things to go back to the way they were before something happened. The “something” may have been a significant loss, a bad choice, or a catastrophic event that altered them in a way they wish could be undone. They long for the way things use to be.
We can’t go back. No matter how hard we wish, no matter how hard we try, we can’t erase those events that have become part of our life story. So what can we do?
We can spend our lives consumed by regret, focusing on what we lost or what might have been, always looking backward. Or we can try to ignore our regret, pretending it never happened, living a kind of lie. Either of these choices will keep us from living an abundant life. There is a better choice…
Acknowledge your regret and recognize it as an important part of your life story. This perspective does not minimize or excuse past failures, but it does realize the power of grace. The wonder of grace is that our deepest pains can become a catalyst for our most significant growth. We can’t go back to the way things were, but we can have a realistic hope for something even better. Sometimes broken things heal in ways that make them even stronger than before.