Time to Regret

“My Way”

Show me a man claiming to have no regrets and I’ll show you a liar, or at very least, a person skewed by pride. Ol’ Blue Eyes was full of shit.

Our days are full of missed opportunities and mistakes; that’s just the way life is. Regrets, mistakes, and guilt can feel like the weight of the world when we allow ourselves to be consumed by them. Positively, they can motivate us to try harder, learn from our mistakes and those of others, be able to provide wise counsel to those facing similar obstacles, and in the best case, bring us to the important realization we desperately need Christ.

Personally, most of my regrets revolve around the same theme – I’ve been guilty time and again of functioning hurriedly through life, which has caused me to miss out on some really cool opportunities. As they say, “hindsight is 20/20”, so dreaming about a second chance to do it again is appealing, but ultimately a waste of time.

Then there’s the school of thought that purports I wouldn’t be the man I am today if not for what I went through yesterday – the mistakes and errors included. I understand this outlook, as I’m pretty happy and thankful for where I am today, even though I still need to be less of a control freak.

Hundreds of time per day I feel totally inadequate to be an adult, let alone make the important decisions an adult has to make. Sign here, pay this, do that, plan for the future – juggle it all in the air. Now, add a child to the mix. There’s a living, breathing, human being you’ll probably screw up too! I’m discovering our parents were winging this shit too. What a shock! Dad and Mom seemed like they knew what they were doing!

Still, time presses forward.

Advice to Graduating Seniors

So it goes with this year’s WORD class. The seniors are ready to move on and next year’s high school bible study will be totally different. If it were my choice, time would freeze for at least another year. I’m having a blast being involved in such an awesome group. There’s B, Carlell, Rich, Jordan, Adam, Jon, etc, not to mention a slew of crazy chicks. A cast of strange and hilarious characters is growing up right in front of my eyes.

College is the last stop before arrival in the “real world”. There’s still time to shirk responsibility and stay out all night. For a large contingency of undergrads, hedonism prevails, as evidenced by countless social networking sites that preserve memories of scantily clad girls and Natty Light.

Soon, the pressures of life will be ratcheted up for those I have mentioned, as is the case for everyone who must grow up. The university life is seductive it the ways mentioned, but also more so for it’s empty promises of a future full of comfortable living. On graduation day, I half expected to walk onstage to receive my diploma and back off to a six-figure salary and a house in the ‘burbs.

Upon graduation, the world can really start beleaguering the young adult. Modern upbringing is increasingly doing less to prepare young people for the demands of reality. The transition from child to adult appears as a chasm to some; those that do have the wherewithal to make the evolution from taker to producer soon discover that the weigh of the world is substantial. Student loans, car and mortgage, bills and more bills loom. It isn’t enough to do your job and do it well; your employer wants your heart and soul. But, it’d be career suicide to tell the boss that it’s impossible to muster passion when you’re doing something you don’t really like in order to earn a paycheck.

My advice to the young graduate – don’t be in such a hurry to grow up. By “grow up”, I refer to getting over and done with high school in the naïve expectation that somehow things will be better. The scene may change, but as I stated, the intensity and demands the world is planning to place upon you far outweigh any youthful cares.

Be thankful for your time in high school! It isn’t just some fluffy “live everyday to the fullest” philosophy. If you are a Christian, part of an awesome Body of Christ, and have the ability to build meaningful relationships and significance now. College and its afterlife will come soon enough.

That said, being an adult and a Christian is also a position of coolness. Plus, you can buy beer and do other adult things without other adults thumbing their noses at you. Sure, there’s pressures and the suckage that I’ve mentioned – but there’s also real significance and hope.

7 thoughts on “Time to Regret

  1. “Hundreds of time per day I feel totally inadequate to be an adult, let alone make the important decisions an adult has to make.”

    I still feel this way. In fact the older I get the more and more I see just how inadequate that I am. That’s what’s so sweet about Christ – because he’s complete – no accessories needed.

    I once quipped to Steve as we opened a college savings fund for toddling Evan, “Shouldn’t there be two accounts? One for education and one for counseling.” Sometimes I still feel that way. I praise God for the work that you and the other WORD leaders and workers give yourselves over to daily.

  2. There’s an old song you should listen to, Joe: “These are the good old days.” Have you heard it? Because, as I recall, when you were in college, you looked longingly back to the more care-free high school days. And when you were in high school, didn’t you look back to the more care-free elementary school days? On it goes.

    But Phil. 4:8 is the right quip to quote whenever the darkness descends, wouldn’t you agree?

  3. Yes, Philippians 4:8 (Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.) is one to remember.

    I agree with you – we tend to idealize and look back on the past longly. But, it is impossible to change the past. The point I was trying to make was I, as well as most people, need to be thankful for where I am today, rather than where I want to be or where I was – an issue of contentment. Funny, you bring up Philippians – the book of contentment and rejoicing in the midst of any circumstances. I don’t think Paul lamented about missed opportunities at the end of his life!

  4. This is a worthwhile call to the Wordies, especially seniors, to enjoy the rest of their time here. Word is sweet! It’s such a joy and privilege to be a part of it. In addition to the pressures of adult life, ministry will probably only get harder since most people come to Christ before adulthood. That’s exactly why Ecc. 4:5 and Eph. 5:16 are so important: we need to make the most of our time!

  5. Yeah, Joe, regrets are a bitch! And they are unavoidable because it is impossible not to screw things up. Half the time we actually CHOSE to screw things up. That kind of regret really sucks.

    I’m almost 50. I’ll also be celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary this year. I’ve raised 3 boys (actually, a few more than that.) I find it difficult, at times, not to look back and be filled with regret. “If only I’d…” “Why did I…?” The thing that gives me encouragement through those times is realizing that God really does “cause all things to work together for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”

    I’m really, really not one of those who is highly gifted. I have a few things I do reasonably well and a truck load of things I really suck at. I don’t actually excel at anything – well, I was an excellent student in high school and college, but those days are llllooonnnggg gone. But one thing I am certain of, God looks for hearts that are consecrated to Him and then can do extraordinary things. I often don’t recognize when God has done an extraordinary thing through me. I just don’t see things the way God sees things. I do trust that He gets it done.

    And that’s one thing that is good about regret – when I am faithful, humble, repentant, and dependent on God, and then He does His thing, I am soooo grateful that He chose to use me anyway. “His strength is perfected in my weakness.” And I have plenty of weakness to go around when I’m humble enough to admit it.

  6. Dar, thanks for commenting. I have a feeling that I’m not going to get any better at not screwing things up, either. It’s good to hear that I’m not the only one and it’s really freeing to know that God already knows I’m going to make mistakes and has forgiven me.

    What a cool point you make – God causes all things to work together for those who love God and are called! As long as we rely on his supernatural power, even if we feel we did a “bad” job or made a mistake, he will use the situation to build his kingdom…I’ve seen it first hand when I am feeling inadequate but step out in faith, later learning that I had a big impact on someone for the Lord even though I didn’t feel very impactful.

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