"God's gifts and his call are irrevocable." Romans 11:29
Continuing on with "Leaning Into God When Life Is Pushing You Away" by Robert A. Schuller we come to the chapter on regrets. In his writings Robert suggests that "regrets and remorse are a part of the fabric of everyone's life". He goes on to point out that there are two kinds of regret: debilitating regret and incorporated regret. The first kind of regret anchors you to your past; it haunts you and holds you back from becoming all that you were made by God to be. It causes you to hold on to the ideas and the images of "what could have been." I recently experienced this kind of regret and I thank God that through his mercy, the power of prayer, a faithful and strong husband, great kids, and the support of many friends worldwide, I did not dwell in it for long. For months after we left the Crystal Cathedral I actually had dreams (nightmares) where I would analyze and try to figure out the "what-ifs". Those thoughts could have become obsessions and the obsessions could have paralyzed me and held me back from my life's purpose which is to "connect people one to another for common, worthwhile, God-centered goals." Instead of being debilitated by my painful regrets I made a conscience decision to incorporate my regrets and to use them to grow closer to God and to the many people who still loved and supported me. My twenty-four years of experience as a pastor's wife has allowed me to connect with people on a global scale and has further assisted in my appreciation of people's diversity yet similarities in their struggles and triumphs. Some days I had to pray and dig deep to believe these things. I reached out through this blog that I started in March 2009 and this too has been a major source of eliminating debilitating regret. I cannot speak for my husband Robert but during the later part of 2008 and most of 2009 I witnessed months of emotionally and spiritually challenging times for him. Throughout he kept true to his calling and he relied on the mercy of God to see him through. Today you can read where his new show, "Everyday Life" has been nominated for the "Epiphany Award" by MovieGuide (movieguide.com) I am certain that his faithfulness and his patience through prayer saw him through.
God doesn't hold on to regrets and he doesn't want you to hold on to them either. Instead he covers them with his mercy which is never-ending. If you have debilitating regret today you can translate your past into incorporated regret. One spiritual exercise that has worked well for me and for the groups which I have led is this: Find an undisturbed place where you can find about fifteen to thirty minutes of solitude. Sit with your eyes closed, your legs uncrossed, your arms relaxed at your side. Concentrate on your breathing and as you inhale imagine inhaling the peace and mercy of God in Jesus. As you exhale imagine all of the regret in your life disappearing. Continue to inhale and exhale as you purge your mind, body and spirit of all the past regrets that might have a stronghold over you. You should do this as often as you can and you will see how easy it is to accept the grace and mercy of a loving God.
Remember God does not change his mind about you and His purpose will be fulfilled. Leave your regrets at the foot of the cross. God is blessing you always, Donna