Ever look back at specific points in your life and wonder, “what on earth was I thinking?”
I have those moments now and then. I think back to my childhood and teen years and remember some embarrassing moments I wish I could take back. I’m not usually the regretful type because I believe all things happen for a reason, but some of these memories just sneak up so randomly and make me cringe! It’s crazy how memories can affect our present self so much.
It’s not just the fact that I remember it, but I think about the people involved. Do they remember? How did they perceive me? Were they offended? What do they think now?
The Hardest Person to Forgive
Then you see quotes like,
…and the insecurities rise, and before you know it, you’re staring at the ceiling at 2 a.m. wondering if you should call or text that person to apologize about that one thing you said at 12 or 20 years old because you worry the way you made them feel still lingers to this day.
*Sigh* Yep, I definitely become regretful in these moments.
There are also mundane days and weeks we don’t remember. These are the days that hold nothing extraordinary in them. Kind of like these past several weeks of quarantine. They’re sort of just passing by, and suddenly we’re two days away from May. Where did the time go and what did we do with it?!
It’s easy to start guilt-tripping yourself and regretting what you shoulda-coulda-woulda done, and I’m sure you realize this, but that does us no good. It’s important to get “ahead of yourself” in these times, to save yourself from falling into this rabbit hole of regret.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23.
My husband has some sticky notes hanging in our closet and one of them says, “Mercy woke me up this morning.” I see it every morning as I start my day, and every night as I get ready for bed. No matter what kind of day/night I had, it always reminds me to be content and at peace with where I am today.
When I contemplate on cringe-worthy memories or grieve lost time, I try to remember this simple statement. I also remind myself that God is a forgiving God. The Bible says we reflect Him, so shouldn’t we be able to forgive ourselves as well?
The people involved most likely don’t remember or even know how things looked from your end. But if they do, they most likely moved on. It’s over-thinkers like myself who often jump into a boxing ring to fight and beat themselves up for something no longer worth their time.
Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11
We end up spending even more precious time this way cause it’s sometimes hard to just jump out of the ring without a couple good hits. It’s important to stop ourselves from going into the ring in the first place by reminding ourselves who we are in Christ already.
For instance, yesterday I realized how long it’s been since I went into my prayer closet. Just me and God, nothing else. I’ve been reading my Bible, doing my daily devotions, and praying for others, but I began slacking in prayer. I ceased praying for a couple weeks now. I was about to jump into that boxing ring when Holy Spirit gently whispered a famous Nike quote, “just do it.”
No, silly, not jump into the boxing ring!
He meant to just go into the prayer closet now. To just do it. To do it whenever the thought came into my mind. To avoid going on a guilt-trip and to embrace the moment of realizing what I need most right now. And to live this way continuously, focusing on what’s in front of me now. To stop being lazy and to act upon these inspirational thoughts because most of them are from Him.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2
God is so gracious. He speaks in ways to bring us to a higher place of understanding. First, of who He is and second, of who WE are in Him. There is now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. This means that whatever cringe-y memory is floating through your mind right now is… wait for it… meaningless. You can’t take time back, but you can redeem it by focusing on your now. There are opportunities to seize, not cease, now.
For me, this means intentionally seeking God, sharpening my musical skills, picking up the paintbrushes, deepening my Bible studies, and worshiping Jesus as long as I can (an hour or even 10 minutes!); spending time with my husband and also writing more. There are a few other things, but I think you get my point.
Forgiving that person:
Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this. Ecclesiastes 7:10.
Basking in regret, guilt, and shame is not a sin, but it is NOT the way of the Lord. Here are some things you can do to avoid the boxing ring with yourself:
- Journal on your mundane days. Keep it simple and write about what God is doing in your life or what you’re thankful for. Challenge yourself with writing prompts or describe your environment.
- Have a shoulda-coulda-woulda thought cross your mind? Well, can you do it now? Can you recreate that thing now? If not, what CAN you do right now? Do that.
- Falling into a pit of self-pity? TALK TO SOMEONE. Ask for perspective. I usually talk to my husband, and he helps bring my head down from the clouds (or pits).
- Remembering something cringe-y? LAUGH it off and think about your life now. How much have you grown since then? What changed? Would it play the same way if you had the chance to relive it?
- Give yourself some space, grace, and forgive yourself. After all, you have to live with you all the time 🙂
Praying you’re encouraged and staying healthy!