Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What I Think About: Beauty from Ashes


The R word.


I'm kind of over the good old days of cliche songs and sayings telling us to live with no regrets.

Can anyone do that?  SHOULD anyone do that?

Last Monday I had a blue day for reasons I'm simply too proud to admit.  While I was feeling sorry for myself the worst thing happened--like it always does.

I started to drudge up old regrets.  Not just the "I wishes" but the "I wished I hadn'ts." The list of my regrets grew.  And Grew. AND GREW and by about 8:30 I was on the phone with my sister--nearly crying (which should *really* say something!).

I felt like the worst kind of human possible.

Untrustworthy. Unlovable.  Unworthy.

And no amount of "live in the moment" crap could make me feel better.

I just had to navigate my feelings.

Thoreau said, "Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest.  To regret deeply is to live afresh."

Tend our regrets and sorrows?  Regretting deeply refreshens us?

It's so counter-intuitive.  I mean, it just feels easier to ignore our regrets.  To push past them with an "I can't change the past attitude" feels doable.

But then they come back. On dark days when we are alone and ashamed.  Our regrets come back and they haunt us--when we don't handle them.

I know the Biblical accounts of regrets and how God casts our sin far from us (Psalms 103:11-12) but we can never fully do that.  We can't pretend to have no regrets.

So what if there was a change in perspective?

What if we did tend our regrets?

What if we faced them head on?

What if we felt our way through them--the shame, the pain, the dishonor?

What if we didn't beat ourselves up for shortcomings but we used them--like a mirror--to see exactly why we need Christ?

Why we need forgiveness? 

To see exactly what. grace. looks. like?

What if we let our regrets send us running to the throne room in loving humility to be comforted?

What if our regrets were simply a matter of perspective and instead of letting them paralyze us with fear or self-loathing, what if we simply accepted them, learned from them, and lived from them?

Wouldn't that be living proof that He makes all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28)?  Even our regrets.

What I think is that regrets can have a terrible hold over us.  They can keep us living in guilt and fear.  But I also think, when we work through them, our regrets can restore, rebuild, and redeem us--beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:1-4).

Thanks, Shell, for hosting this post at Things I Can't Say!


  1. I sort of wrote about regret today too. Regret is definitely good for teaching us and healing us and sometimes we do need to wallow in it. But I've always felt it should be a temporary stay and then you just gotta pull yourself up and move on. We can come back and revisit from time to time, to give us a healthy dose of perspective, but at the end of the day, some things just can't be undone and we have to give ourselves that grace and forgiveness. Great post!

    Stopping by from PYHO.

  2. Good lord. A lot to think about in this post. I think that the more we bring those regrets and shameful things into the light, maybe talk to someone we really trust, the less hold they have over us. Because life is not a life if we don't make mistakes that shape us. Really great post!

  3. Such a different way to view regrets!

  4. Beautifully said. In all our ugliness, God still sees beauty.


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