I think all of us have done things we regret. There’s a page, maybe even whole chapters we wish we could go back and undo. But there’s no rewind button for life. We can’t undo things we’ve done, things we’ve said, people we’ve hurt, choices we’ve made. We can, however, learn from our screw-ups and do better now and in the future.
Sometimes we focus so much on our past mistakes and we dwell so much on what we could have done differently, we actually lose sight of the life we’re living right now. We start to obsess over what should have happened, what our life could have looked like. We lose focus on the here and now.
I can guarantee you, there’s a story in each of our lives that we hope no one ever reads. There are mistakes we made that we pray we never have to tell other people about. There are secrets we hold that we’re so ashamed of we hope no one else ever finds out about. We have skeletons in all of our closets that we’d prefer to stay there, covered up and hidden.
Every morning that you wake up, even every single breath that you take, is a chance for you to start over. It’s a chance for you to say, “You know what? I won’t be a slave to my past anymore. I won’t let this hold me back from the plans for the future that I know the Lord has promised to me.” You have that choice.
People might judge you. In fact, they probably will. But your validation shouldn’t live in the opinions of human beings. It’s in the One that created you. God knows your purpose, He knew you were gonna mess up when He created you, and He still loves you. Nothing you do will make Him love you less, and trying to “fix” your past mistakes won’t make Him love you more.
You can make better choices in the future. And you know what? You probably could have made better decisions back then. You probably shouldn’t have dated that person. You probably shouldn’t have went down that road. You probably could have studied more for that test. You could have taken that class more seriously. But you know what else? All the should have, could have, wish you would haves, will never bring you back to the past. It just takes away from where you are at this very moment.
We’ve all messed up. We’ve made mistakes that bring us to our knees and begging for forgiveness. But the great thing is, He makes us new. We don’t have to be slaves to our past anymore. You can rest in that. You are not who you were. You can be who He created you to be. Let’s just give a huuuuuge sigh of relief that He doesn’t define us by our pasts.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)