Actually, I used to. Now it only pops up from time to time as opposed to it being a weekly struggle.
Regret was another fruit that was tied to the root I described a couple of weeks ago when I learned that I was finding my value, identity, and love from success and achievement. Since success and achievement equaled love and value for me, any “mistake” would mean I wasn’t valuable or loved.Even the littlest “mistake” would cause me to curse myself and beat myself up. I literally felt enslaved to regret.
I was talking about this with my spiritual director one day and she asked God if he would give me a picture of this regret.
Immediately, I saw a scene of me, sitting on the chest of me (so two of me), and I was just pummeling my face to a bloody pulp. The picture was literally me beating myself up.
This picture jolted me. I can remember having a physical reaction to it. The reason is, I hate fighting! I used to get sick to my stomach when a fight would break out at school and I can’t even watch boxing or MMA.
So while I used the label “beating myself up”, and I knew that was what I was doing to myself, this picture that God gave me had a transforming effect. That night, I remember journaling:
“Today is the day that Regret dies”
That was December of 2013, and I felt like it took me an entire year to give regret a proper burial. I had to continue to walk in the reality that regret was dead and choose to offer myself grace. The power regret had in my life used to be a level 10 and now it's a 1 or 2.
That is called Freedom.
That is called Healing.
That is called Wholeness.
In reference to the 5 Essential Ingredients (you can read about those here), let’s look at what led to this transformation.
First, I pursued counseling (effort) to gain Awareness and expose the roots of what was causing so much discontent in my life. I had Vision of living with the peace and joy that Jesus offers and believed it was actually possible. I wasn't experiencing the promises of peace and joy that I read about in the scriptures, but I wanted to and was hungry for it.
I also found a spiritual director to start meeting with to place that monthly Spiritual Discipline and Rhythm in my life (effort).
On this journey, as I was trekking toward the summit, God had set up camp and prepared dinner like a good sherpa does, and He gave me the "beating myself up picture" that resulted in freedom and healing (God acting in our lives to accomplish what we can't on our own = Grace). His Powerwas able to flow and he spoke clearly to me in the space I created by practicing spiritual direction.
I started hiking, I created the space, but he brought the transformation!
Another piece to this that helped me put regret to death is by watching how Jamie lives (Mutual Know-ness). When Jamie makes mistakes, she just keeps moving. When we were first married this really frustrated me and I wanted her to be more “thoughtful” and more “strategic”. But the more I learned about my own roots, it changed my perspective on Jamie. Instead of seeing her as careless, I now see her as free. Having Jamie model this for me was another important factor in all of this.
So what about you? What is the thing you need to put to death and give a proper burial?
Guilt or Shame?
You see, Friends, even though you have been forgiven and will be with God in eternity, there is still a lot of work that God wants to do NOW! There is healing and wholeness available to us NOW, we don’t have to wait for heaven. Eternal life is available NOW. I like how Richard Foster put it, “Instead of focusing on getting people into heaven, we are focusing on getting heaven into people." I like his play on words there. If we get heaven into people, and they have eternal life now, heaven is a natural result after death. But let's remember, it’s not just going to passively happen to us because we’ve said a prayer and go to church. It requires effort and intentionality on our part.
Do you believe it? Do you want it? Your sherpa is waiting ☺
Questions for applying this to your life:
Regret was robbing me of joy and peace, what is robbing you?
Regret went from a 10 to a 2 for me as far as it's power and impact in my life, do you believe that's possible for the fruit you identified in question #1? Why or why not?
Ask Jesus about it, the thing that has you enslaved. Ask him to give you a picture of it to help you see what effect it's having in your life. Once you have that, ask him to give you a picture of what it would like if it was gone.