|Image by Steven Depolo via Flickr/Creative Commons|
"Can you unscramble eggs?"
When my pastor posted this on Facebook and Twitter Saturday I thought, "That man has been working too hard."
But it all made sense once I went to church Sunday and heard a thought-provoking message on regret delivered by one of our associate pastors.
Regret, much like fear, is something we all experience at some point in our lives whether it's regarding relationships or our career goals. And, unfortunately, regret often keeps us from going to the next level in our relationships and in our careers.
But stewing in regret is as futile as trying to unscramble eggs. Regret tries to convince you that if you feel bad long enough you'll eventually feel better. Regret tells you that if you beat yourself up enough about a bad decision you made, things will eventually improve. This is a lie.
The message to us on Sunday was this: You can't unscramble eggs, but God can.
What I took away was that the keys to getting over regret are forgiveness and focus.
As a Christian I must make sure I truly believe that God forgives me no matter how much I screw up. And all of us, regardless of our faith, must learn to forgive ourselves.
This is easier said than done. One day you think that you've forgiven yourself, that you've finally let yourself off the hook, and then the next day you can barely look at yourself in the mirror.
This is why you need focus. Those "if only" thoughts are bound to haunt you occasionally: "If only I had taken that job and not this one," "If only I had gone out on that date," "If only I had been more responsible with my money."
But when these thoughts try to creep into your mind, get focused! Get focused on your goals and dreams. Turn regret into motivation.
I believe that after God forgives us, God gives us a mission and a purpose to pursue. After you forgive yourself, you need to do the same. Get over it and then get to work!
And don't think that what you've done in the past -- no matter how awful or how stupid -- disqualifies you from doing great things in the future. In fact, you will probably find that it actually qualifies you for the tasks ahead. The lessons you learned from your mistakes can be passed on to others. The weaknesses of your past can be your source of strength in the future, especially if you're a writer. Think of the masterpieces you can create and the lives you can touch thanks to what you've endured. Never underestimate the power of a personal story.
And now you know how to unscramble eggs.