Key Scripture: Philippians 3: 13,14 “I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling me upward.”
When making decisions in your life, it’s easy to start asking yourself the question, “Did I make the right decision?” And although some of that can be healthy, it can also quickly get out of balance and lead your heart to place of regret and dread. When this happens, it’s also easy to start regretting the past and dreading the future, and in fact, both are “thieves of joy.”
Many people stay trapped in the past. There is only one thing that can be done about the past, and that is to forget it. When we make mistakes or bad decision (which we all do from time to time), the only thing we can do is ask God’s forgiveness and go on. Like Paul, we are all pressing toward the mark of perfection, but none of us have arrived.
I believe Paul enjoyed his life and ministry and this “one aspiration” of his was part of the reason why. Like us, he was pressing toward the mark of perfection, admitting that he had not arrived, but having insight on how to enjoy his life while he was making the trip.
And if regret has us constantly looking backwards in the past, dread has us always fearing forwards concerning the future. I spend a lot of years with regret pulling one arm and dread pulling on the other. The result was that I felt like I was being pulled apart, and I didn’t even know what the problem was.
Dreading things can become a bad habit, an attitude that develops out of lethargy or laziness, or perhaps because of multiple bad decisions. Procrastination and dread often work together. An upcoming task is dreaded, so procrastination says, “Put it off until later.” That sounds good for a few minutes, but the thing is still there to be dreaded until it is finished. It would be far better to do it and be free to go on to other things.
Final Thoughts and Action Items
I have learned from experience that living life one day at a time is something that can be done. God gives me the grace for today, but He does not give me grace for yesterday or tomorrow. When I am trying to live yesterday today, I can easily start to second guess the decisions made and I find myself full of unanswerable questions and regret. When I live tomorrow today, I allow fear of the unknown to creep in and I can easily start walking through life with endless amounts of dread. Ultimately, living in either regret or dread is pressure. And what I’ve discovered over time is to take the pressure off by believing God and trusting His Word.
Are you relying on the grace that’s been given to you today? Have you asked God to help you rely on that grace?
Make a mental list of how many times you either think or say things like, “I just regret that decision,” or “I’m really concerned about what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
Decide that today is the only day God has given you and commit to do the very best that you can. At the end of your day, ask God to help you change the habit of regret and dread.