Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One word at a time: Regret (by Bridget Chumbley)


By "social media guru" standards, I suppose I don't have many followers on the twitter - 954 at last count. But that's certainly more than I could ever really keep up with. But the great thing about tweetdeck is that you can create a "favorites" column to keep up with your favorite tweeters. Bridget Chumbley certainly falls into that category. Always kind, always encouraging. And did I mention she's a very good writer? Also? She quoted me - which has nothing to do with the fact that she's guest posting. (It's just nice to hear someone else quote me besides my kids, because they use my words against me.)

Here's Bridget with some thoughts on Regret:

I've found myself spending a lot of time recently dwelling on regrets. Some regrets are for things I've said or done that caused hurt and pain, some revolve around situations that were completely out of my control, while others resulted from a lack of comprehension, simply because I was young and immature...



Growing up, I used to get really angry and frustrated with my mom. She's struggled with health issues and chronic pain for as long as I can remember, but as a child I tended to be selfish and focused on how it would affect me...not how hard it was on her (physically as well as emotionally). There were times we'd be driving to Disneyland (or somewhere else I REALLY wanted to go), and half-way there we'd have to turn around and go home, because she'd be sick or hurting.

1Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

I'm not sure how you dealt with disappointment when you were young, but I got pretty upset. I'd sit in the car with steam coming out my ears, insensitive to the fact my mom was obviously feeling guilty enough without my 'tantrum' in the backseat. Now that I'm older (and I hope wiser), I understand what she was dealing with, and what a constant struggle it was for her to plan those family outings, never knowing what each day would have in store for her body.

Another regret is of a time I was being babysat while my parents were at work. The babysitter decided we'd take a ride on her bike up to our local store. This was NOT something we were supposed to do while she watched me, and to top it off she put me on the handlebars! Sadly, she hit the curb with the front tire, and subsequently I hit the gravel driveway (face-first). I ended up in the emergency room, with much of my face left behind on the road.

I don't remember most of what happened (being unconscious can do this), but I've been told that when I was able to talk, I blamed my babysitter for the 'accident'. I was upset and scared, and said a lot of things I didn't mean!

Most of us have had moments like this, we're hurt or afraid and we speak before thinking...then when we've come to our senses, we apologize and hopefully we're forgiven and we move on. Well, not long after this 'incident', before I realized how stupid and childish I was being, my babysitter was killed in a tragic school bus accident. When I read her name off the list of deceased students in the newspaper, I remember being shocked and full of regret...why didn't I just say I was sorry?

Many years later, during the summer of my freshman year of high school, I spent a few weeks with some relatives in Connecticut. It was a great trip (my first one without parents along), but about 2 weeks into the trip, I received news that my dear friend Brian (we'd had a crush on each other for years) had been killed in a horrible car accident, along with his dad.

Needless to say I was devastated. Not only didn't I get a chance to say good bye to Brian, I also missed the funeral by the time they were able to reach me. I went to the cemetery as soon as I got back home, but it wasn't the same. I still have a deep regret for things left unsaid and unresolved...

Now I'm an adult (at least according to my age), and I've had plenty of lessons taught to me (some harder than others)... life is short, take nothing for granted...take opportunities as they arise, because there might not be others...


Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Why then is it still so hard to do what we know to be right? There are situations I need to put in the past... words left unspoken... people I need to forgive (starting with myself)... but it's a constant struggle! I know better than to procrastinate, yet here I sit with a heavy heart and a stubborn head!


"Forgiving others is a gift we give ourselves" ~ katdish

It's never too late to show compassion, and Jesus Christ gave us the ultimate example of forgiveness! Should we continue living with regrets and heartache, or are we ready to give ourselves that priceless gift and finally let go?

***

To read more from Bridget Chumbley, visit her at One Word at a Time and follow her on the twitter at @bridgetchumbley.

24 comments:

Bradley J. Moore said...

But Katdish, you ARE a social media maven! Come on, now!

Bridget - Thanks for sharing from your life. Yes, we all have our stories, some of bad decisions, others of situations that happened to us. Thank God that His grace covers us through it all, and hopefully brings us to a place of acceptance, peace and forgiveness.

Then, of course, at times the most appropriate thing to do is to get off of our butts and do something about it!

Sarah Salter said...

In the front of my Bible I have a quote written on a yellow post-it that I've carried for several years. It's a quote by Buddha (of whom I am not a follower) that says, "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."

Jesus wants us to have joy (it's a fruit of the Spirit!) but we can't do that if we don't let go of the anger and regret of the past. Thanks for the reminder!

Steph @Red Clay Diaries said...

Awww MAN, Bridget! Just yesterday I was feeling convicted about relationships that I haven't done my part in restoring, and then you write THIS. It's like I was destined to read this or something....

Great post. Obviously, very thought-provoking for me.

Corinne said...

What a great post! I struggle regret quite a bit, so this really hits home. It can be a long journey to move past it all, but it's worth it from what I hear...

Ginny (MAD21) said...

Wow, Bridget. This is great.

It is hard to let go of things like this isn't it? But we must. I think it's a good thing that we feel regret sometimes, otherwise we would never learn from our experiences and decisions. But that being said, it's never a good thing to hold onto. It benefits no one. And in the end only holds us back from what God wants us to do next.

Andrea said...

I always remind myself that forgiveness is a choice. After forgiving the person who killed my sister many years ago....it is easy for me to forgive others. I suppose you can say GOD gave me a super sized lesson in forgiveness early in my life.
Blessings, andrea

Billy Coffey said...

Oh my, Bridget. That one stepped on my toes a little, but you wrote it so well I didn't mind it a bit.

That was awesome. Think I'll go mend some fences now. Figuratively speaking, of course...

Joyce said...

Very wise words...oftentimes it is that feeling of regret that nudges us towards forgiveness. Sometimes that person we needed to forgive is gone from our lives and that's when we need to be able to forgive ourselves.

Bridget Chumbley said...

Bradley is right... you are a social media maven!

Thanks for the chance to guest post, I'm honored to have been asked.

Heather Sunseri said...

That was beautiful, Bridget. Forgiveness is a wonderful thing to give ourselves and others. Thank you for the encouragement. It can be difficult to forgive, but it's way more difficult when you lose the chance to do so.

Tony C said...

A beautiful piece of writing!

Thanks Bridget for giving me a devotional to study and meditate on this afternoon.

May God's blessing be upon you and Kathy both.

FaithBarista Bonnie said...

Regret is such a sad word.

Thank you for putting encouragement in it for me, today.

"Life is short, take nothing for granted."

Thank you for such a beautiful post, Bridget that is personal and deeply moving.

Very powerful.

Jeanne Damoff said...

Lovely, Bridget. Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts.

Helen said...

Excellent post, Bridget. I love your honesty and openness.

When I was in college, my goal in life was to live a life without regrets. Now I look back on my life and say "Well wasn't that goal adorable? No regrets... How long did I keep that up, ten minutes?" Yep. I even regret the goal of no regrets. :-)

But seriously, thanks for sharing that. And thanks for allowing it to shape you into the wonderful person you have become.

Kathy, thanks for using for offering guest post space on your blog. You bring out the best in people, you know that?

jasonS said...

What struck me as I read this was the fact that you acted out when your plans got changed not understanding your mother's pain, and we still do that today. People respond out of hurt, pain, guilt, condemnation, etc. and if we don't understand, we only see our side and feel justified in "putting them in their place" or cutting them off all together. Our view is all that matters to us and we feel justified way too easily. It's more subtle, but just as real.

Reminds me why I have to have patience and the mind of Christ. I know your point was about regrets, but I got stuck on the other (hope you don't mind). :)

nAncY said...

oh yeah, regrets, they add up pretty fast and easy, just like pounds on my hips during the holidays.

Candace Jean July 16 said...

I love how you have shown that we can move graciously from regrets to opportunities. It just sounds so much simpler when others do it! Thank you for this encouragement, Bridget.

Rebecca on The Homefront said...

I agree with what Jason said. I have to remind myself (regretfully and frequently) that I can't respond without thinking of the other person's position. I regret the times that I haven't, because they result in hurt and have caused rifts that take time to heal.

Thanks for a thoughtful post. :)

Heather of the EO said...

Saying goodbye to regret is really hard. I think it serves it's purpose, it pushes us to mend fences (even within ourselves), but it's so easy to get stuck. Then we feel guilty and get stuck more. Then we dwell. Then we let it fester. Then we repress it. Then we aren't living in the freedom of Christ. He came to set us free. I am so relieved.

Even though I like to hold on to my regrets, I'm working on that freedom thing...

like I said, it' hard.

Thank you for reminding me...I needed reminding :)

Chris Sullivan said...

954?! Watch out Ashton.

Great stuff Bridget. The thing about regrets is if we do any more with them than learn from them and move on, they can become an anchor. So we learn and go back to living.

Peter P said...

Regrets... oh, where do I start?

I wish I could forgive myself. No matter how hard I try, I just don't seem to be able to do it.

renaissanceriss said...

I tagged along over here from Bridget's blog, and thought I'd add my two cents. There's something I frequently tell my friends--one of those, "I've said it before, and I'll say it again..."

"The phrase shouldn't be to 'live life with no regrets,' but rather: to live life in such a way that you have nothing to regret."

In other words, don't regret your mistakes forever, but just long enough to learn from them...and then move on, right?

~*Michelle*~ said...

this was beautifully written.....and yet so convicting. Thank you for your raw honesty, for keeping it real.

I struggle with forgiveness on both ends. I need to step up my game and push through it all....because what Katdish says it so true. I have never been good at receiving gifts, it's something that I get a little uneasy with. I am sure it can stem back to some childhood hangup. Regardless, it *is* a gift that I know Jesus wants us to give and receive. We need to release those burdens as much as we need to take them off others.

Thank you so much for this....I really needed to read this today.

Bridget Chumbley said...

I was reading over the comments all of you left again. Thank you for all the kinds words and support... it is much appreciated!