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Archive for November, 2014

Working Through Regret

send button

After typing out what I thought was a funny retort to a long email chain, I hesitated for just a moment. But I clicked “send” anyway.

Then my mind was immediately bombarded with all sorts of thoughts. “Why did you send that?” “What are people going to think?” “You crossed a line, Doug!” “That wasn’t funny; it was insulting!”

And then I felt that sinking emotion: regret.

We’ve all done it. Regret comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it’s regret over something we’ve done: in our speech, in our actions, in a text message. But sometimes we feel regret over something that we failed to do: like not speaking out against a wrong, failing to support someone in need, not reconciling a relationship or not following through on a “Holy Spirit” nudge. Sometimes regret is over something trivial. Sometimes it is over something immensely huge.

I hate the feeling of regret. I feel it in my stomach. It tastes of bile. My face feels flush. But even worse that the feelings are the thoughts: guilt, sorrow, shame, and a constant stream of “what if’s” flooding my mind.

Sometimes I wallow in worry from regret. Other times I try to ignore it or stuff it. But I think Jesus wants us to deal with it differently.

I believe He calls us to work through our regret. Like every other issue we face in life, Christ wants us to walk through it with him. To bring our struggles to God’s throne for the sake of transformation is an act of worship – it’s all a part of offering our whole lives to God (Romans 12:1-2).

Here are a couple ways I work through my regret with Jesus:

  1. Welcoming prayer (click here for a more detailed description of this prayer practice): instead of avoiding the feeling of regret, I welcome it into my being. But I also welcome the Holy Spirit. I notice how this makes me feel without judging it or myself or others. I then surrender control over regret and the circumstances that caused it to the Lord.
  1. Silent prayer (click here): I take 5-10 minutes and still my soul, my heart and mind to hear for God’s voice to speak. In this case, I often pray the short prayer, “Lord, have mercy” when I notice myself getting distracted or when the voices start invading my mind.
  1. Share with a trusted spiritual friend: usually the first two prayers give me enough discernment of what I should do next (making amends, reconciling relationships or let it go). But I will also bounce the idea off my wife or one of my close spiritual friends (you know, the ones who will shoot straight with you).

One thing is for sure, you don’t want regret to fester in your soul by suppressing it or wallow in it. Too many Christ-followers allow the poison of regret to infect their lives, as well as the lives of others. If we’re really following Christ, he wants us to do one thing with our regrets:

Give it to Him.

Cast all your cares on him, for he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

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Checking In

Check-In

I apologize for such a long break between blogging. Some of you have been wondering, “What happened to Doug and wholelifeworship?” Some have even thought there was something wrong with your email or with WordPress (my blogging site).

No, there’s nothing wrong with your email or the website.

I just haven’t written any blog posts for over a month. There are reasons and excuses. Professionally, there have been some major transitions in my department. So there have been some emotional goodbyes to dear friends (they are good, by the way). And it has taken some time to get my new staff oriented and functioning (they are wonderful, by the way).

Personally, there have been some bumps in the road – some family things, some health things (nothing serious), and just some adjustments to be made because I’m getting older.

But mainly, I just haven’t had much inspiration to write. I promised myself that I would not write a blog post just to keep up with expectations (of others or my own). I didn’t feel it was right to just write on random things for the sake of keeping up the blog’s momentum. And most of all, I want this blog to be from the “overflow” of my soul.

To tell you the truth, while a lot has been going on in my soul over this past month, it hasn’t been formed enough to “name” or put into words.

So as unnerving as it has been for me (I am incredibly co-dependent who demands a lot from myself), I am being “schooled” by God to wait on him. Waiting to be filled. Waiting for the next wind of the Spirit. Waiting for the “seasoning” of my soul, heart, and mind that will result in something worth writing about.

I do sense something is coming. I’m confident that I will start writing again. I’m not sure when it is coming. And I have no idea whether it will be as regular as it was.

But I appreciate your patience. And I’m checking in with you. I’m still alive and well – thank the Lord!

One of my wholelifeworship friends told me that she went on my website and started reading some of my past posts. I was encouraged by that comment and I want to pass that idea onto you – if it’s something that would be helpful to you. Just go to wholelifeworship.com and find the box on the lower right hand side, entitled “Archives,” and you can catch up and some blog posts you may have missed in the past.

Blessings,

Doug

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