Dealing with Regret

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By: Linda Merriott

Living in or with regret indicates that our confidence is placed in ourselves, others, conditions, and circumstances. God would have our trust placed in Him. God wants us to believe He can do what He says He will do. He is big enough to clean up any mess we make and to work it together for good. Regret is our past, crippling our future, keeping us from pressing on into God’s plans and purposes.

The definition of regret is to be disappointed; unhappy; look back upon; disturbed over; kick oneself; or experience dissatisfaction. We all have regrets, and usually, we can make our way through it by asking for forgiveness of the person we harmed or hurt and then moving on. However, when what we regret is often in our thoughts and mind, and we cannot seem to move past it, that regret becomes crippling. That is not God’s way. God wants us to move forward and continue building His kingdom where we are. 

Regret can be an enemy to His plans and purposes in you.

 We need to acknowledge the disappointments and be willing to let go. We need to trust that God is bigger than any problem. How can we do this when we have a regret we often think about? The Holy Spirit is always at work within us. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any regrets impacting us that we have never properly dealt with. Ask Him to show you these things through His eyes. As He does, we can agree with God and how He views us—giving Him our future.

Key Scriptures to think about regarding regrets:

  • “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28).
  • “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9).
  • “Do not remember the things that have happened before. Do not think about the things of the past. See, I will do a new thing. It will begin happening now. Will you not know about it? I will even make a road in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43: 18-19). 
  •  “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50: 20).
  • “No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us” (Philippians 3: 13-14).

Steps To Healing From Regret:

  • Ask, Holy Spirit: Reveal to me any regret I hold in my heart.
  • Show me how it has impacted my life.”
  • “I confess and repent of holding onto that regret and allowing it to influence my life.”
  • Lord, show me Your perspective of my regret.”
  • I choose to agree with You and move forward.

When you find yourself stressed and thinking about that regret again, you must take several deep long breaths. When we are stressed or thinking about something, we no longer have control over this regret, and we end up thinking with our brain stem, which is typically a “fight or flight” type of thinking. Deep breathing allows us to feed our brain oxygen and move whatever we think to a place in our brain where we store memories. We don’t forget the regret, mistake, or hurt. We still remember it, but if given to God, it no longer has the power to hurt us. We need that reminder occasionally, as the enemy always tries to undermine what God has done.

For many years, I lived with regret. I always wanted to marry but never did. I had many failed relationships looking for the ‘right one.’ I would think about my friends and their marriages, and I was enviously disappointed that I had never married. Somewhere in my 40s, I realized that if I married, it would be God’s doing and not mine, and it was affecting how I perceived myself and my walk with God. 

I began asking God to “husband” me, which helped me recognize that my security was in Him, not a man or another person. As I learned to walk closer to Him, He dealt with my regret and disappointment, and I began to be open to His plans and purposes for my life.

I am so thankful that I finally left that disappointment and regret behind. God gave me a wonderful future filled with joy, contentment, challenges, and mistakes. But He has been with me in every piece of this wonderfully complicated, messy life! He has been my Provider, Confidant, Encourager, and Companion. I am blessed. 

You will be, too, when you leave your regrets behind and follow His plans for you. Your Creator knows you best even when you don’t follow the expected path.