I try not to be too strict on myself, but in this case, it’s a clear non-negotiable: my no-regrets policy.
Every now and then someone will ask, “What is a decision you’ve made that you regret?”
To me, regret means something that you wish you could take back. That if a magic genie asked you which experience in life you would like to erase off the board, you could point to a specific moment and say, “Be gone!”
I don’t believe in that. In fact, I highly disagree with the notion that we should look back at our past and wish it had been different.
And that goes for the tough stuff. The really ugly, messy, broken shards that have left scars, caused tears and taken you to places that you never would have chosen for yourself.
I, like all of you, have gone through things that I would never wish on anyone else. I can’t think of a time in my life after the third grade when my life has felt “normal” and I’ve made decisions that I’m still dealing with the effects of.
But to say that I would want to wipe those experiences away would be a denying the person God created me to be.
Like I heard my pastor at church say: “We are created on purpose with a purpose.” All the experiences we go through in life are meant to be. If you take the time to think about it, it’s those ugly, hard things that most build our character.
Like the time when I stepped on a plane to go the Czech Republic for three months, crying out to God to give me strength, because on my own, I wasn’t going to make it. Days before I had torn my ACL. Just five days before I was to embark on a missions trip where I would be helping lead English camps that involved hiking, playing soccer, trekking around the country with a large backpack … There was no earthly way I would have made it without His gift of strength.
Were there times when I wished I could have rewound the tape and stopped myself from the accident caused my ACL to tear? Yes, I did have those thoughts. But if I hadn’t torn my ACL, I wouldn’t have needed to rely on God in that way. My whole life I’ve seen my body as a machine meant to be tested and pushed. My only limitations came from me and I didn’t see myself as truly weak without God’s blessing of strength and ability.
So that’s why my ACL had to tear. Without that experience, I wouldn’t know how to lean on God in that way. It needed to happen. Even though it has been painful and challenging, I thank God for the gift of being able to turn to Him to carry me. If I didn’t have that heart knowledge like I do now, I would be a completely different person!
And I can the same thing for so many other parts of my life. Do I lament the hardships some days? Of course. There are days when I am sad that I made decisions that hurt myself or caused me to think less of the creation God made me to be. But I know that every experience in my life is purposeful.
No matter what I endure, I will never regret.