Living with Regrets

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been reflecting on my first year of ministry among the wonderful people of Grace Baptist Church.  A lot has changed over the past year–two months homeless, had another baby, first gray hair, etc.  One of the recurring things in my day has been lying in bed with thoughts having to live with regrets.  The more responsibilities that come in life, the the greater the challenge to balance them and live with the end in view. Here are some that come to mind.

I regret that I have not taken as many pictures of my children or made a ton of family videos, and yet I do not regret the time instead of cherishing each moment with them.  I find myself more caught up in the moment rather than trying to capture it.  I consider this a good thing that unfortunately has no record except in my memory.

I regret not being able to blog as much as I would like.  Thoughts of blog posts and series are constantly running through my head, but I am pleased to know that the firstfruits of my labors are devoted to my church and the precious people I’ve been entrusted by God to serve.  While my blog traffic is down a bit, my love for God’s people is up a lot.  This, too, is a really good thing.

I regret that I have not been as disciplined in my daily exercise as I would have liked, and yet the interruptions such as membership interviews, mentoring meetings, and family worship times have been worth it.  I don’t want to pit exercise against spiritually profitable matters as they are both important, but I don’t mind letting the former go in order that the latter may grow.  Indeed, this is a good thing.

Here’s my point. We are going to regret some things in life.  It’s unavoidable.  The issue is living with regrets that you know ultimately pale in comparison with the far weightier matters that should rightly occupy our lives.  Sadly enough, there are some regrets that I have which, by God’s grace, my repentance will kick to the street, such as inconsistent witnessing, paltry commitment of Scripture memory, and an undisciplined reading schedule.

The biggest regret is to look back at life and realized that you just wasted it.  You’ve got one shot at life.  There’s no do-over.  And the time to examine what regrets you might have that should bring about repentance is now.  Don’t let a future regret be that you did not regularly examine your life and the regrets that should have been addressed with repentance and resolve.  This is the kind of thing I’m preaching to myself right now.

One of the precious mercies God has given us is the ability to remember and reflect on life, and the tragic commentary is that we do so little of it.  We are overwhelmed with information and yet underwhelmed by our ability to live skillfully and wisely.  Five to ten minutes of reflection can spare you from five to ten days of wasted living.  Without an active, aggressive approach to living our God-ordained purposes, we will find our lives packaged with goods with an imminent expiration date and no eternal value.

So pick the areas of life you can living regretting.  Don’t let them be your time with Jesus, your spouse, and your children.  Don’t tether yourself to the virtual world more than the real world.  Have in mind “this one thing I do” and learn to say “no” to things that are often well-intentioned but not profitable in the end.  Don’t regret that you heart was never broken for the lost, passionate about the gospel, and convicted of its own idolatry and unbelief.  Don’t regret your mind was never led to dream about God’s kingdom come, meditate on God’s glory been displayed, and remember the promises of Jesus that should have set you free.  And be the kind of Jesus follower who has no regrets for losing his life for His name’s sake because of the glorious, vindicating reality of the resurrection.

Here are a couple of clips from Piper and Keller that are short but speak about this very thing:

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