Regret is a fascinating emotion. It feeds on past mistakes, while preventing present usefulness and future plans. It is so easily provoked -an innocent word, a picture, a social media post, a movie, a smell, and a dozen other avenues are used to bring its forces racing to our minds. We hate having regret, and we know that being children of God means we are forgiven, but we still allow regret to have the upper hand. We still feed its incessant appetite, and the more it is fed, the less useful we become. Yet, we often hide in the shadows, feasting on regret.
This inevitably leads to opening a Pandora’s Box of emotions, which drives us to our hiding place. Where is your hiding place, social media, shopping, eating, television, books, work, video games, ministry, community service, house projects, drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography? We all have a default hiding place; unfortunately, running to the wrong hiding place only gives us more regrets.
I have said and done many things I regret. I am reminded often of those regrets. I battle them constantly; they are the invisible companions that walk with me daily. However, there is a hiding place that affirms my value, when those around make me feel useless, unwanted, less-than, or shamed. It is in the arms of Jesus. I can tell him exactly how I feel, and he reminds me who I am in him. He reminds me that my value is in being made in the image of God. He tells me that my righteousness is not in living a squeaky clean life but in the righteousness I have in him. He expels my regret with whispers of truth, grace, and love.
The hiding place of social media says, “You’re not good enough.”
The hiding place of food says, “You’re fat and out of control.”
The hiding places of addictions say, “You’re hopeless, dirty, and wicked.”
The hiding place of ministry and service say, “You’ll never do enough,” or “You’re a hypocrite; you’re doing this for selfish reasons.”
I would love to say that I always run to the arms of Jesus as my hiding place, but that isn’t the case. However, I’m finding more and more that it has become my most treasured hiding place. I find such peace and contentment there. I find that he is able to silence the voice of regret like none other.
After Peter’s denial of Christ he sought a hiding place in fishing, but it was inadequate. In fact, it made him feel even worse because he fished all night and caught nothing, which only heightened the intensity of regret’s attack. He had determined that he was useless in the work of God; he had gone too far to be useful. Peter had become a victim of regret’s vicious invasion, but he found healing in the arms of Jesus (John 21).
What are your regrets?
Where is your hiding place?
I want to challenge you to run to the arms of Jesus as your hiding place. You might spend a long time in his arms. You may just have to bow your head at work as regret begins to assault you and say a short prayer. Maybe you’ll need to open your Bible to a passage that gives you comfort and feeds you truth. Perhaps you’ll need to confide in someone who will speak the Word of Truth to you and be the arms and voice of Jesus. Whatever form it takes, I beg of you, run to Jesus; he is the only one who can offer an adequate hiding place from the onslaught of regret.
God bless you in your journey of growth.