Last week we went to visit friends. Both our families have kids the same age and they love to play together. As the kids watched a movie, I sat at the kitchen table with my friend Matt (besides sharing the same name, an awesome guy). Conversation moved to the past. We talked about growing up.
I mentioned my grandfather taking me fishing on Saturday mornings. No cell phones. No deadlines or dilemmas. He drove his old pickup truck to the pond, parked next to it, and gradually walked around throwing his line in at various spots. I talked about learning how to play cards and feeling like I was an adult as I sat in on rounds of family pinochle. Matt said his grandfather was a farmer and they would go on long walks at the farm, just talking and throwing rocks into the fields.
I regret the past my boys won’t get to have.
Regret, you see, is a tricky thing. In Mark Batterson’s book, If, he writes about regret. As people age, they long for the missed opportunities. In the short-term it is more regret of things done. Time draws your attention to the probabilities. If only I had started that business, chased that dream, asked out that guy or girl. If only I took that vacation, adventure, mission trip.
We must reframe the concept.
If there is anything I regret, it is not changing the narrative of my life. I told myself a story shaped by my experiences. This kept me out of leadership opportunities, creative endeavors, ministry to friends and family It told me I wasn’t good enough, said I was the sum of my past and not a new creation.
It was condemnation, pure and simple.
And we know that, according to the Apostle Paul in Romans, There is no condemnation for those in Jesus.
It is so addicting. In this country, we love throwing condemnation around and drawing our lines in the sand. We are fine with grace as it extends to us, just don’t ask us to push the boundaries.
We are called into the void, past the battle lines.
The cross allows us to live without condemnation, destroying the influence of the past and old narratives on our lives. The voices that trap and snare from the dark now fall on deaf ears. We are new creations, made to chase down callings that shine light on the world. We are meant to create, to sing, dance, write, act, draw, sculpt, design, build, and plan.
We are here to destroy old ideas and break new ground.
We are called out of the safety of our regrets (for excuses are always safe) and made dangerous. Dangerous to the ways of the enemy, the one seeking to destroy lives. Dangerous to the ones saying this kind of radical love is impossible. You want to donate, serve, open your home, give your time?
You want to be selfless?
This year redefine regret and let it move you forward. Take nothing for granted. Dive in and know that you are called to so much more.