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 can’t help myself when I hear an accent; I want to know where people are from and I try to ask in a loving way. I know of people who have worked to perfect their speaking so their accent is nearly undetectable. They don’t want to stand out. I love to hear accents because so much of my early years I spent around people who were learning English as a second language and while we all have unique stories, I am sure that someone with a heavy accent has something fascinating to share.
Where are you from?
At first I might be inclined to answer the question from a physical standpoint. I am originally from Youngstown, OH but then I spent quite a few years in Nebraska and then in Indiana. There were a few other places in there but they’re not really worth mentioning. But the truth is all the places along my path made a bit of an impact on my journey, one way or another – even those brief side roads. They are a part of my story.
From where do you come?
Don’t think so much in terms of the physical space but the experiences that describe your childhood or youth or young adulthood. Do you allow them to have their space as descriptive? Or are these experiences defining? Do you rest on them and remember them often? Do you try to bury them? Are they good things? Or bad?
Are you stuck in that hard place?
Sometimes we can get so caught up in where we have been that we miss the places we can go. Being stuck in our history isn’t helpful. But if there are some things to work through and resolve, burying those things isn’t the answer either. There are times it takes years to understand or process “where we have been”. For some of us it has been a very bumpy road with diversions that have brought a lot of pain. Others of us have come from something much easier and carefree and we struggle to understand the pains and needs of others who have come from a place where there was a lack of stability or an abundance of junk.
Where we have been does not need to define who we are and where we are going. I may not have loved every place I have been but I know God can use each of them to grow my prayer perspective for others who may be experiencing something similar. God can and will all of our life experiences for the encouragement of others so it is important to process what needs to be processed. Let God recycle what can be used and transform our trash into His treasure!