It was 5 AM. I had been awake all night.
There’s something about a quiet, dark room. It makes all of the thoughts inside your head unbearably loud.
It was a sinking feeling; the type of feeling that causes you to believe you made the biggest mistake of your life and there was no going back.
The thing about regret is, once unleashed inside your mind, it seems impossible to push it back. There is no more little voice in the back of your mind lingering only when you find yourself unoccupied. It’s now in the forefront, blaring and blazing across your eyes to remind you of what was once in front of you and what you didn’t do. I tossed and turned, whispering the words, is there any hope? There didn’t seem to be. I felt destined to a life of “what if” and “what could have been.”
I couldn’t help but feel like I had really messed up. I lost something very important to me and I was sure it was my own fault.
It had been years, but it never got any easier. The feelings of regret kept accumulating.
Whispers in the dark turned into bold prayers. How many times had I asked God to fix it? More than I can count. I knew the only reason why I felt the way I did was because the door had closed and my greatest hope was that it’d someday open again. Those were the feelings I thought needed to be taken away. Surely if I could move forward, this hurt would melt away. But somehow weeks turned into months, months turned into years, and I couldn’t change. Regret only grew the harder I tried to let it go.
Perhaps I had prayed for the wrong thing all those years.
I was trying so hard to just make the whole mess go away. I thought I could close my eyes, pray a few words, and wake up the next morning like the past had only been a dream. I wanted Him to take care of this my way, on my time. Instead of handing my mess back to God and seeing what He would do, my heart broke every day He didn’t change everything to the way I wanted it to be. I thought I had caused destruction beyond repair.
The beautiful thing about grace is that we can mess up over and over again, but it doesn’t mean we miss out on God’s blessings. Yes, there are consequences we must face for our actions when we go against Him. We have to take responsibility and seek to remedy wrongs we’ve done. But God does not withhold good things from us as punishment when we mess up or foolishly try to do things on our own. I had been trying so hard to get it right, trying to fix what I thought I had surely damaged, not realizing God can work in spite of me and my mistakes.
He will not let us miss out on His best.
Christ came to give me a life of freedom by His grace alone, not when I seem to get it “right” or when I try to clean up my own messes. He has given me freewill, yet He still directs my path and holds it all in His hands. He works all things together for good; even my mistakes. He has great things planned for you and me, and thankfully, He longs to give us His blessings as we walk with Him, and even still when we stumble off the path. He’s there to pick us up and place us back by His side.
Slowly my prayers turned into a cry for transformation – for God to work in me and through the circumstances, not magically take them away.
It took a while for me to realize that even if a closed door came from something I did or didn’t do, God still has the power to redeem the situation and turn it any direction He wants. If it stays closed, it’s because that was His plan. If it opens again, it’s only because of His grace and sovereignty. He has called me to surrender this illusion of control and these feelings of blame to instead allow Him to work. I know nothing is impossible for Him.
So even though I sometimes feel helpless, I will remember He is powerful, and He can allow peace to enter my restless heart whether or not something changes. No matter what, God is still the same. His plan for my life has not changed, and I continually submit to where He takes me. He has not called me to a life of regret, but one in the assurance of His footsteps. His plan and His timing is perfect, and I will choose to accept this as His will for my life.
Being in this place is not a mistake.