Choosing Your Regrets

by Andy Wood on August 29, 2011

in Following Your Passion, Hoarders, Life Currency, Love, LV Cycle, Pleasers

Ronnie Blair spent a lifetime waiting for the perfect moment.  And he never seemed to find it.

He waited to ask Lisa Crane to the Senior Prom.  Ricky Styles beat him it to it.  Now they’re married with two kids and a third one on the way.

He waited to apply for the college scholarship from his father’s employer; didn’t want to appear too eager, he said.  He missed the deadline.

He waited for the perfect job to present itself upon graduation, and in the process passed up three good choices.  He wound up taking an entry-level hourly position not even in his field.

He waited for the perfect time to ask Leanne Wilson to marry him, and to her it seemed as though he was afraid of commitment.  They wound up possibly the only couple in town who got engaged as the result of an argument.

In Ronnie’s life, the pattern was always the same.  His effort to find the perfect time to take a risk only masked a deep fear of getting it wrong.  A fear of rejection, heartbreak, or disappointment.  What his fearful heart failed to inform him, however, was that his search for the perfect time gave wings to his opportunities… and they often flew away, never to return.

Life is filled with risks and regrets, dares and disappointments.  And make no mistake about it – disappointments can be brutal, and regrets can last a lifetime.  But the minute you sound the retreat or crawl into the bunker to avoid one source of pain, you only invite it from a different direction.

You can decide to avoid rejection – just bottle up the love in your heart.  But in doing so, you invite the larger disappointment of realizing you waited too long or wasted a good portion of your life avoiding the people you love most.

You can decide to avoid sounding foolish – just avoid talking about awkward things like faith or feelings or eternal matters.  But in doing so, you invite the greater regret of losing the opportunity forever because someone died or somehow permanently left your life.

You can decide to avoid the awkwardness of reaching out to someone and having your kindness misunderstood – just don’t take initiative at all. But in doing so, you risk the greater angst of discovering that no one – ever – really showed that person genuine kindness or God’s love.

You can decide to avoid the hard, gritty work of making a relationship work – just push someone away when they’re getting too close, or keep nursing that self-pitiful offense.  But in doing so, you risk the sick realization that a part of you has died with the relationship, and you could have done something to stop it.

Maybe there’s a better way.

Maybe there’s a path of regret by choice.

Maybe it’s time to decide…

…that touching the right heart is more important than finding the right moment.

…that truth spoken in clumsy love is more significant than finding the perfect words with no one left to share them with.

…that kindness and decency are more important than self-protective disclaimers.

…that being connected is more important than being right.

Maybe it’s time to decide that you don’t have time to decide…

…to wait any longer for love to be risk-free.

…to waste another second choking off the testimony of your heart.

…to keep the world at a sterile, clinical arm’s length away.

…to kill yourself slowly with pride or unforgiveness.

If you must choose your regrets, choose the ones that have you moving toward people.  Far better to reach the end of your life and wonder if you could have loved too much (fat chance) than to die bitter, cold and alone, whispering, “If only….”

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