Sometimes we get the opportunity to redo something we haven’t done well but more often than not we are left with an experience that helps make a better decision in the future.
There is a lot of wisdom to be gained from experience if we pay attention. I have some regrets, of course. I think if we are honest, we all do. Some of my regrets relate to missed opportunities, relational foibles (relationships are my Achilles’ heel), things I have done, and things I wish I wouldn’t have done. And there are some things that I wouldn’t change because, while they may not have been fun to go through, they helped shape and mold me into the person I am.
As I learn and grow, I also change. And so I might look back and think “Oi! I wish I wouldn’t have done that!” It also developed something in my person or strengthened my relationship with God or brought something (or someone) else into my life that I really treasure. Things are so crazily interconnected that it isn’t always to isolate a decision or a path and wish to eliminate the difficulties it brought and not also see how the experience could be a blessing to someone else in some way.
God can do that – take a bad move and make something good come out of it.
Have you ever thought about forgiving yourself? Have you walked the process of giving all of your past, all of your present, and all of your future to God and asking Him to use it all?
the stupid stuff
the evil stuff
the selfish stuff
the reckless stuff
the “I was clueless” stuff
the “I can’t believe I did that” stuff
the “I sure caused a lot of pain to the people I love with that activity” stuff
I am not a big planner but I can appreciate one. I have learned how to plan over time but it won’t ever be a natural part of my constitution. I am sure one can analyze my early years to come up with a theory but I naturally just try to go with the flow. It is possible I learned along the way not to hold tight to plans or expectations. Yet I still vacillate between being disappointed things aren’t how I imagined they would be or wildly blessed that an experience has far exceeded my expectations. While I have much less control over things that happen to me than I might like I can ALWAYS control my response.
There are times we might carefully plan things and there are times we wing it. Both approaches have their place. The person who loves to plan and follow it gains great fulfillment when it comes together perfectly. The person who can pull it together at the last minute or go with the flow and enjoy the ride can also find great satisfaction. Knowing which approach to have in the variety of life’s circumstances takes practice but being able to develop a plan and then be content when it doesn’t work out is an act of faith. How we respond is so very important.
I rest my heart on Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declare the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Throughout the course of my life there have been things that have not made sense at the moment but became clear as time moved along. I do completely trust God and the things He has allowed in my life because I have watched Him work things out.
He always works it out!
Even as we look to these heavy days prior to Resurrection Sunday, we see God working out His plan for humanity.
Do you notice those times when either exactly what you needed was provided or you were in the right place at the right time to provide for someone else? They are powerful moments – particularly if we recognize them. I anticipate they are going to happen because they seem to often enough and I don’t want to miss them when they do. I also don’t want to miss out of the opportunity to recognize (and thank) WHO is behind it.
It is so easy to write up my list of things to do and forget to first thank God for His provision and faithfulness for yesterday and ask God to bless my today. If I am in the habit of recalling what He has already done for me then my eyes, ears, and heart are tuned into His work and I see those golden moments much more clearly.
As you journey through this season of Lent, I encourage you to look forward with positive anticipation at the work God is doing in and through you. Take note. Give thanks. Trust Him. Sometimes His way of providing is something we would never have been able to imagine (for example, Jesus’ provision for us on the cross) but He delivers in ways beyond our understanding.
Heavenly Father, Give me eyes to see You and faith to trust You even if my eyes are unable to see. Thank you for your past provision. I look with anticipation to the future.