Today I was on the phone with a friend talking about my decision to finish school in three years rather than doing the "normal" thing and sticking around campus for the full four. Not only did I avoid the entire idea of regretting this decision throughout the conversation, but I wouldn't even entertain the idea that I the thought of, "I wonder what my life would look like had I done things differently" had even crossed my mind.
Why did I react this way?
Perhaps it's because I don't want my husband to think I regret marrying him, since that whole idea is completely false, even though marriage was a huge reason I wanted out of school early. Perhaps it's because I want everyone to think a certain way about me - like I'm mature and classy for making such an adult move at such a young age. Perhaps I want people to think everything I said last year about wanting out of school so bad ended up working out perfectly for me.
Or perhaps I have fallen victim to the "live life with no regrets" mentality.
I'm not sure why my generations hates the word "regret" more than any other word. Other than the fact that Katy Perry sings about it and Nike probably endorses it, this "live life with no regrets" motto isn't even logical.
Whether you're the creepy Jesus kid at school or work or not, you don't have to look far to see that things aren't as they should be. Parents get divorced, children die from not having meds we could buy at Sheetz for $1, the grocery store won't take your coupons even though they're not expired, Brusster's runs out of 'Graham Central Station' ice cream...you get what I'm saying. Things are screwed up. The messes we see in this world are merely symptoms of a bigger disease - tangible evidence that the human heart is selfish, plagued, and doubting.
We're broken, guys. I am broken. And you are, too.
And surely, if this is true, then we will do things that we wish we wouldn't have done. We'll miss out on studying abroad because we were scared of leaving home. We'll verbally drag a person's character through the mud because we're insecure about ourselves. We'll date a guy we knew from the start was no good for us because we were lonely. We know better, and yet we do it anyway.
This is why I think the fact that God loves you is the hardest Sunday School lesson to teach. It cannot be taught. It must be experienced.
And when it is experienced, perhaps we'll learn that in a broken world, regret is normal.
Now, Am I suggesting that we dwell on things of the past until it paralyzes our future?
Of course not.
What I am suggesting, is that we confess our pride. I'm suggesting we mourn and joy over decisions we have made and decisions we have influenced. I'm suggesting we eat some Ben and Jerry's and cry a little bit. And I'm suggesting that in doing this, we'll proclaim the Truth that God loves us despite us.
What I'm suggesting is that we regret - we regret in the security that it is not about what we've done or what we do, but who He is and what He has done.
God is bigger than whatever mess we've made, but when we refuse to admit that we are the one who has made the mess, we begin pointing fingers at whoever else is to blame. And eventually, instead of pointing to God with our lives, we begin pointing at Him.