If you look back on these last 20 or so years as an adult and see nothing but success and victory, if you look back and are very proud of who you are and what you’ve done, my hat is off to you and rightly so. You should feel very, very proud. I have to say for me it’s much more of a mixed bag. When I look back there are things my heart smiles broadly at, but I also have some deep regrets.
While I’m not a Madonna fan, I saw an interview with her years ago that really stuck with me. She was asked if she had any regrets. Her response? No. She had none. Everything she had done had been part of her learning process (though interestingly she has since admitted to regrets). My initial reaction was, “Really?! No regrets. Wow. Wish I could relate.”
Now I think I understand a bit more where she was coming from. Do I have regrets? Yes. But have those regrets taught me tremendous lessons? Have they propelled me forward on my life’s journey? Yes they have. I think sometimes with all this pressure we put on ourselves to prove and perfect and achieve we forget to simply thank God for the process, for the ways He’s refining us. Not that we would choose to go through some of the things we’ve gone through, and not that God would choose those things for us, but He will use each and every one of our experiences to help us grow and become who He’s calling us to be.
I absolutely believe the second half of our life can be even stronger than the first half, that who were yesterday doesn’t define who we are today in this moment, just as who we are today in this moment doesn’t necessarily define who we can be tomorrow. It’s one of the things I love about life. It is full of infinite possibilities. And we have the ability again and again and again to steer ourselves in better, stronger directions.
So if, like me, you look back and you think, “Ugh. I wish I could have done that so differently,” know that while you can’t change it, you can learn from each and every circumstance and then push forward. What you’re doing right now is exactly what you need to be doing. In that you will find freedom and joy and a life with no regrets. Not even one letter 😉
For further thought: Whatever your stage in life, God will use your circumstances to create good if you let Him. Romans 8:28 says, “We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.” (Voice) Consider how your life circumstances can help you grow in a better, stronger way moving forward.