Sometimes I question this path of vulnerability I'm on. Sometimes I so badly want to retreat. To not let anyone know what's going on inside of me. To hide. But God has called me to expose the vulnerable parts of myself. I think one reason He is leading me on this journey is to help others in similar situations. I'm so blessed to have been able to share my story with several people over the past several years.
When I was going through the healing process I had no one to talk to who could identify with what I was experiencing. I hope I am that person for those who need someone.
I believe it's one small way that I can give God glory from what was otherwise a sad situation.
So today I question regret. I live with regret. I wonder if it is a lifelong sentence. I posted that as a comment on my Facebook page, and received quite a few comments. And I wonder how many of us understand regret. I'm not sure I do, so I've done a little research on it today. I researched it because the comments I received were similar in content, yet different. And different from what I interpret regret to be.The subjects of the comments ranged from guilt to repentance to bondage and condemnation. See what I mean? I think all of those may be somehow intertwined with regret at some point, but not in the sense I feel regret.
I know I'm being about as clear as mud, so let me just explain what I'm not experiencing.
I'm NOT experiencing:
guilt, shame, bondage, condemnation, anger at myself, deep sorrow, lack of faith
Good golly...I look at that list and think how sad it is. Yet, there was a time when I felt every one of those (at the same time!). But that's no longer the case.
What I AM experiencing is: an occasional passing desire to be able to change the decisions I made in the past
Had I not made the decisions I did, I might not experience some of the things I now experience (i.e., consequences). While I've made peace with my consequences, I occasionally have the thought that I wouldn't have those consequences if I'd made right choices. On the other hand, I often think about how much things have changed, and how God has used my actions and my consequences to bring glory to Himself.
Okay, with all that said, here are definitions for regret and guilt:
Regret - to think with a sense of loss
Guilt - remorse or self-reproach caused by feeling that one is responsible for a wrong or offence
While the definitions are similar, they are different. For example, I experience a sense of loss when I think about the people who are no longer my friends because of the choices I made. I wish I had not made those choices. I wish I had not lost those friends. But I no longer experience the the feelings of "remorse or self-reproach" over the actions that led to my loss.
With all that said, I do occasionally experience regret. Every once in a while, something triggers a realization of how much my life has changed. How much I lost, as well as how much I've gained (and, NO, I am NOT talking weight!!). How different things are. How all those changes can be traced back to my decisions. And, for a few moments, I wish I could have the chance to go back and make different decisions. And, because I do experience triggers, and I do have memories, I believe there's a good chance that regret may be a lifelong sentence...something I will always have to deal with from time to time.
I'm not sure I've made any sense at all to anyone (including myself) in this post; but maybe you got something out of it...