Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On Rehearsing Regrets.

How often do we chain ourselves down with the “doh”s of life? I cannot even begin to count how many times my palm has made contact with my forehead in the gesture of disbelief and shame at my own actions. I can’t believe I said that. I can’t believe I did that. I can’t believe I believed that…after the initial doh comes the haunting. The late night recollections of all the errors I’ve made, all the people I’ve hurt, all the friendships I’ve damaged, and even the pain I’ve caused myself because of regrettable actions.

It can get weighty. Carrying around all you should have done, and bearing the weight of all that you shouldn’t have done. Like vines choking off a tree, so too can these regrets choke the vitality out of you—if fed.

We are told that if we confess our sins, he is faithful to forgive (1 John 1:9). Yet, we are so reluctant to forgive ourselves. I know that I have often beat myself up over things that I have repented of years ago, yet I still regret that I ever was at a point of immaturity that I did such a thing.

In doing so, I waste so much energy looking back at all my failures. It drains me of energy and depletes my confidence, so much so that I have no strength or motivation to look forward in life. This very truth is enough to convince me that it is not God behind the nagging in the back of my mind about how I messed up and how I should have done this or that differently. These thoughts PREVENT me from doing his work, and who would want that? Certainly not God, but it would suit the devil just fine if he can convince us all that we are so terrible that we cannot be trusted to do God’s work, therefore we should just leave it to “someone else”. If everyone becomes convinced, nothing will get done. How convenient for the devil.

So, though I do struggle, I challenge you to make things difficult for the devil. Serve the Lord in your brokenness, and allow him to equip and grow you. You don’t have to have it right today, or tomorrow, or the next day. Life is a continual journey of growth, and being such, each day we will see that some of our actions from the day before were not all that they should be, that we were not all that we should be, but God CALLED us, he wants a relationship with us. He could use the trees, the rocks, the sky to do his work, yet he wants it to be you. He wants it to be me. He loves us and wants us to be co-workers with Him in spreading the word of His love.

So, I say;

No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energy on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. (Philippians 3:13 NLT)

I don’t have it all figured out, but I’m going to fight the temptation to pour too much of my energy into what I failed at in the past, instead praying for the strength, wisdom, knowledge, and courage to move forward—living for Christ and growing in Him.

Isaiah 43

Israel’s Only Savior

1 But now, this is what the LORD says—

he who created you, Jacob,

he who formed you, Israel:

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

2 When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers,

they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

you will not be burned;

the flames will not set you ablaze.

3 For I am the LORD your God,

the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

I give Egypt for your ransom,

Cush and Seba in your stead.

4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,

and because I love you,

I will give people in exchange for you,

nations in exchange for your life.

5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you;

I will bring your children from the east

and gather you from the west.

6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’

and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’

Bring my sons from afar

and my daughters from the ends of the earth—

7 everyone who is called by my name,

whom I created for my glory,

whom I formed and made.”

8 Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf. 

9 All the nations gather together 

and the peoples assemble. 
Which of their gods foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things? 
Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right, so that others may hear and say, “It is true.” 

10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, 
 “and my servant whom I have chosen, 
so that you may know and believe me 
 and understand that I am he. 
Before me no god was formed, 
 nor will there be one after me.

11 I, even I, am the LORD, 
 and apart from me there is no savior. 

12 I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— 
 I, and not some foreign god among you. 
You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God. 

13 Yes, and from ancient days I am he. 
No one can deliver out of my hand. 
 When I act, who can reverse it?”

God’s Mercy and Israel’s Unfaithfulness

14 This is what the LORD says—

your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:

“For your sake I will send to Babylon

and bring down as fugitives all the Babylonians, in the ships in which they took pride.

15 I am the LORD, your Holy One,

Israel’s Creator, your King.”

16 This is what the LORD says— 
 he who made a way through the sea, 
 a path through the mighty waters, 

17 who drew out the chariots and horses, 
 the army and reinforcements together, 
and they lay there, never to rise again, 
 extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: 

18Forget the former things; 
 do not dwell on the past.

19 See, I am doing a new thing! 
 Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? 
I am making a way in the wilderness 
 and streams in the wasteland. 

20 The wild animals honor me, 
 the jackals and the owls, 
because I provide water in the wilderness 
 and streams in the wasteland, 
to give drink to my people, my chosen, 

21 the people I formed for myself 
 that they may proclaim my praise.

22 “Yet you have not called on me, Jacob, 
 you have not wearied yourselves for me, Israel. 

23 You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings, 
 nor honored me with your sacrifices. 
I have not burdened you with grain offerings 
 nor wearied you with demands for incense. 

24 You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me, 
 or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices. 
But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offenses.

25 “I, even I, am he who blots out 
 your transgressions, for my own sake, 
 and remembers your sins no more.

26 Review the past for me, 
 let us argue the matter together; 
 state the case for your innocence. 

27 Your first father sinned; 
 those I sent to teach you rebelled against me. 

28 So I disgraced the dignitaries of your temple; 
 I consigned Jacob to destruction 
 and Israel to scorn.

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