With the exception of that one season, most of my life has been characterized by long nights, overcrowded schedules, and unending exhaustion.
What one season, you ask? Freshman year in college: the season I chose to do everything I was advised against. It was a season of long nights, lazy mornings, loud music, and ludicrous parties, and I have had to heal from years of regret ever since.
Whatever, Whenever, Whomever
You see, I was a believer when I first began unpacking my belongings in that little dorm during the summer of 2005, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell if you looked at my lifestyle. Before arriving at college that summer, I’d not only been a great student, but I had actively participated in the youth group at my church, attended Christian school for half of my life, and enjoyed some familiarity with the word of God.
However, that freshman year was the one season I did whatever I wanted, slept whenever I wanted, and befriended whomever I wanted. It was not healthy. As you can imagine, I attempted to work myself out of the hole I’d dug academically, emotionally, and spiritually the entire three years that followed.
You might even say that I experienced some success. By senior year, I had earned a role as an undergraduate research assistant (something that had never been done in my concentration before). I had become president of a pre-law association that had tripled in size under my leadership. I had even been offered three jobs before graduation. However, I still wasn’t healthy.
And It Showed…
Although I’d been able to dig out of my academic hole, I burrowed deeper in every other way, and it showed.
Ten years later, I finally realized how unhealthy I truly was. You see, I’d enjoyed an incredible feat with a team of women I was leading that was successful in every way. However, the days following that long, hard season left nothing but pain. My face twitched uncontrollably from the stress I’d endured, exhaustion made everything harder, and I had absolutely nothing left for my husband.
Doubled over in tears and guilt in the middle of one of the most glorious vacation getaways my husband had ever planned as a celebration, I finally invited God to speak to my heart about the regret I’d been running from for years. You see, I had regretted that freshman year and the grief I felt I’d caused my Savior for over ten years. As a result, I determined to never lose out on an opportunity to steward one of His blessings again.
There, in the middle of those mountains, God began to speak to me about how much pleasure I brought Him and how pleased He was with me. It was one of the most transformational moments of my life, and, believe it or not, I’m actually grateful for the exhaustion I experienced. Although I’d shared that God loves us, not because of what we’ve done, but simply because we are His, with others countless times, it was the first time it had really resonated with me.
What’s Fueling Your Desire to Be Faithful?
Sis, I want to ask you to take a moment and ask yourself: what’s fueling your desire to be faithful? Is it fear? Because if it is, there’s freedom here.
If you struggle to walk in the peace of God, and, instead, feel pressured to perform out of a desire to please Him, remember that you already do. Then, recall 1 John 4:18 to your mind. The New International Version reads, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love”
Sis, Jesus has come to make you perfect in love-His love. He has already paid the price for the mistakes you’ve made, and it’s that love that offers freedom from regret. Accept it and invite it to wash over you as you find the freedom to break away from the feelings that have held you bound to your deepest fears.
Let’s Face It.
Let’s face it. Our mistakes have brought us closer to the Lord in ways that we can now appreciate. Furthermore, God has never been surprised by our actions. He is our omniscient God, and that means He’s all knowing. We can relish the fact that He has loved us every day of our lives, and it was His great love that led us to this place.
We don’t have to work from a place of regret. In Christ Jesus, we have the incredible opportunity to work from a place of rest.
If you’re ready to move forward, here are five ways to find freedom from regret:
- Begin to Slow Down and Think About What Success Looks Like To You.
- Consider Whether or Not You’ll Be Satisfied if You Obtain Your Success When You Pass and Whether Or Not It Aligns with The Legacy You Want to Leave.
- Begin to Journal About When You Began to Develop That Vision of Success and What Has Motivated It.
- Thank God for the Good and the Bad that Has Helped You Become the Person You Are Today and the Fullness of the Relationship You Now Enjoy.
- Think About Your Greatest Fear and Begin to Pray About It Until You Feel A Release From It and Repeat As Often As Necessary. 💗
Father God, in the name of Jesus, I thank You for the freedom I get to enjoy in relationship with You. I have a deep desire to glorify Your name on this earth, but I’ve made some mistakes in my past. And sometimes, those mistakes make me feel regret.
I have fallen into the trap that of believing that I can work hard enough to dig myself out of the hole I’ve dug over the years. But it’s a lie. You’ve already paid the price for my past mistakes, and I want to live in the freedom that You offer.
Purify my motives and help me to enjoy the blessings You’ve given me to steward, without fear of retribution, regret, or remorse. I thank You for the freedom that You and You alone offer. In Jesus’ name, amen.