I have sometimes heard people say that they have no regrets. But I don’t believe them. Every life has its share of regrets arising from bad decisions, lost opportunities, mistakes, and sins. There are some things we should regret. In fact, regret can serve as a wise instructor, preventing us from making the same mistakes over and over.
But sometimes we get stuck in our regrets, unable to experience God’s peace because we cannot get free of them. What then? Charles Stanley tells the story of a young woman who felt called to become a missionary in Southeast Asia. Instead of pursuing her calling, she married a man who felt no such call. For the next twenty-five years, the woman was mired in her regrets. When she was forty-eight, she told her husband how she felt. A generous man, he encouraged her to undertake a short-term mission, promising to support her in it for up to twelve months.
But all of the woman’s efforts to forge an alliance with a missionary organization failed. Finally she decided to fly to Southeast Asia and look for a missionary who might welcome her help. After four months, she returned home, dejected and in ill health. A wise pastor told her the truth: “That boat sailed. God may have called you nearly thirty years ago to serve Him in Southeast Asia. What you need to ask yourself is this: ‘What is God calling me to do right now?’”1
If you have made decisions or done things that you regret, don’t let your regrets continue to block God’s peace. Instead, take each one to the Lord, asking for forgiveness. Then ask God what he wants you to do right now. Remember that he is both powerful and creative, still able to bring your life—even after many failings—into perfect alignment with his purposes.
- Charles Stanley, Finding Peace: God’s Promise of a Life Free from Regret, Anxiety, and Fear (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2003), 109.