Thursday, October 20, 2022

When Change Leads to Regret


By: Donna Bucher

While we all enjoy the changing nature of autumn with its flamboyant colors of orange, yellow, red and brown; at times change reminds us of what we no longer have. Whether stepping into a new season on the calendar or a new season of life, our excitement for what lies ahead may feel the tinge of regret.


Regret is a negative emotion related to grief, resulting from a loss or disappointment in something that happened or didn't happen. It most often manifests as blame towards ourselves. We may regret decisions, missed opportunities, or words unsaid. Truthfully, we all experience regret. Consider these 5 things you cannot take back which lead to regret:


Words after they're spoken

 Lies after they're told

Time after it passes

Trust after it's lost

An Occasion after it's missed


Maybe you thought of a few more. Those things feel heavy to hold, so final. Which is exactly what makes regret such a difficult emotion to experience. The "heaviness" usually tips me off to my own feelings of regret. I often regret not redeeming the time given to me well in the previous season.

But as heavy as regret feels, and certainly there is a finality to it, I want to give you a few ways to view regret from a point of hope. Regret is a fabulous teacher, if we listen!

Realize you did the best you could. We often feel like we should have done something differently or better. But realizing some things remain outside of our control, we more easily accept the reality of the way things happened.

Learn from the situation. In situations under your control, learn from your mistakes. A common regret is failing to tell others we love them enough, you can change that! Journal ways to do the same thing in a different way next time.

Avoid fixating on "what may have been". It's unhealthy and unproductive to waste energy on “what ifs” or a fantasy of a better outcome. Learn from the unpleasant, and release it.

Recognize regret as a prompt to change. Often we have regrets on the repeat cycle. Assess where you keep making the same mistake. Perhaps you need to make a change in behavior or repent of unconfessed sin.

Lost opportunities mean new beginnings. We regret what has been lost, but we can create a new start. Instead of dwelling on a missed opportunity, focus on creating a new one.

Take heart, everyone has regrets, but living in the past steals the beauty of today. The only thing we can change about the past is how it affects our future.

Regret is a catalyst for growth and change if we allow ourselves to feel this uncomfortable emotion without fear.

Remember, leave the past where it belongs and embrace God’s promises for today.

"There is therefore now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

Romans 8:1


What are you regretting from a previous season today?

Which of the five ways of overcoming regret from above are most helpful to you right now?


Find more encouragement and FREE Resources at Serenity in Suffering!


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