Posted by: SandreS | December 6, 2010

“Shoulda” – “Coulda” – “Woulda”

Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before; I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).

We unnecessarily live with the regrets of the past. We think that if we could just go back and do things over again, we would do them so differently, and that they would turn out better.

We call this “hindsight,” and we always rate it “20/20.”

Hindsight is defined as:

The recognition of the realities, possibilities, or requirements of a situation, event, decision etc., after its occurrence. – Farlex

The opportunity to judge or understand past events using knowledge that you have gained since then. – MacMillan

This hindsight is simply the wisdom gained by experience. Experience teaches us that if we had to face similar circumstance today, we would do them differently – and why not? Isn’t that the purpose of experience, to make us wiser?

Regret however is defined as:

A feeling of sadness about something sad or wrong or about a mistake that you have made, and a wish that it could have been different and better. Cambridge

Rather than operating in the wisdom of experience, sometimes we unnecessarily wallow in the regret of the past. Melancholy and even fits of depression can set in concerning past choices. The plain fact is that we can’t go back and change the past. It is impossible; and even if we could actually do so, we would be destined to repeat the same choices that we made on our first go-round. Let me illustrate.

Let’s say that May 20, 1967 I received a “U” for “unsatisfactory” on my elementary math test. Theoretically I could live in regret about that test result even to today. I could think to myself, “If only I could go back and take that test again, I could get an ‘S’ for ‘satisfactory’! In fact, truth be known, I could get all the answers correct – with flying colors! If only I just had it to do all over again.”

Well, it may be true that if I had the test to take over again today that it would be a breeze. Why wouldn’t it? After all, that was decades ago, and one would think that I would have a lot more practice, experience and knowledge than I did the night of May 19th as I lay awake over thoughts of my math test the next day.

However, that I could ace that exact same math test is a truth for today, not for May 20, 1967. If I went back to that day and took that same text over again, I would get the exact same results – no matter how many times I traveled back to that day to retake it. Why would that be? Because if I went back to that day in history – I would be at the exact same place in my development that I was then, with the exact same circumstances that were brought to bear on me on that day. No matter how many times I could return to that day in my past I would erase all of the intervening days between then and now, and I would make the exact same grade – because there would be nothing different in me.

If I went back to May 20, 1967 I would not have the hindsight that I have today. Remember that hindsight is only “after the occurrence” and is the experience of “using knowledge that you have gained since past events.” If I went back in time to take this test I would no longer have the knowledge gained “after the occurrence,” and could not use any knowledge gained since the event. Mistakes of the past are only of value now, and only if we have learned from the experience.

Now let’s bring God to bear on all of this. He is God, and we are His creation. We are His “workmanship,” His “achievement” (Ephesians 2:10). We are not self-made, we are not self-improved; He is the Potter and we His clay. At every place and at every stage in our lives we have always been right where He wants us; and He uses everything around us as His tools to bring us along as His skillfully designed masterpiece.

So, what if you “messed up” in the past? You have always been right where He wants you. It was all a part of His divine plan of experience.

We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us (Romans 5:3-5).

Amazing is it not, that God uses your problems to work in you His divine patience. Then He gives you divine experience, which brings you divine expectation. Then the divine expectation makes us unashamed, opening the floodgates of God’s love pouring out all over your heart. Bask in the goodness of His plan for you!

Relax and lighten up about your past; and your present, and your future for that matter. God is God; He is in charge. He loves you unconditionally and is molding you – day-by-day – into all that He intends for you to be. Do not be discouraged with His pace, nor with His progress, for He is not yet finished; but one day, in the glorious resurrection, you and I finally will be complete, and He will place us (His “workmanship” and “achievement”) on grand display for all of the rest of creation to see.

That in the ages to come He might display the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:7).

So, now what? Well, in the meantime, enjoy the journey of your lot in life with Him. You are right where He wants you. You are not ahead, nor behind of His timetable. You are spot-on in the divine schedule. Everything is working just as planned!

We know that all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:28-31).

Now, what about all of those past “regrets”? It is time to let them all go. After all, they are a part of your past, and you belong to Him, so they belong to Him too!

Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before; I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).

Enjoy the life of God in you!

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr,
© Daily Email Goodies

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