I knew this would happen but I didn’t think so soon. Blogging every day is quite the commitment. I made it a long way in 2013 before I missed a day. But then I had something set to share daily unlike now where it’s catch as catch can. But the reason it’s been a couple of days isn’t that I didn’t have something in mind to write about.
Just the opposite.
The topic of regret has been on my heart for days now. But I don’t like that topic. So I’ve been avoiding it. As I’ve told you before, writing is how I figure out what I think, so I’ve specifically avoided writing about regret. Even though I’m going to have to write this out to move forward at all. Because my writing mechanism is stubborn like that. (One reason my dissertation took so long.)
As I shared in an AM Radio episode Amy and I recorded a year ago, I’ve been a habitual regretter pretty much my whole life. I was on a plane to Costa Rica a few years ago when God really got after me about this. Words like “sin” and “idolatry” got thrown around. I was taken aback by how earnest bordering on angry God came across in that moment. I definitely felt scolded, corrected, and yet set free at the same time. It was something like one of those harsh, head-clearing talks a coach gives a player who is dwelling on a fumble or error or whatever instead of focusing on the next play, the task at hand, the present moment. I would call it a pep talk but it was more pepper than pep. And exactly what I needed. I’ve never experienced God like that before or since.
Ever since, I’ve grown more aware of my tendency to regret, to live mentally more in the past than the present. I don’t second guess myself as much as before. Not that this is something I’ve completely put behind me. But I at least see the problem for what it is and I’ve tasted the freedom God is calling me into. And I’m working out the difference between regret and reflecting on my experiences and actions to learn from them. Practicing the daily examen helps with that, and would even more if it were daily. More of a sporadic, occasional examen for me at this point. This is not me expressing a regret (ha ha!), just acknowledging that life is full and good and crazy for us right now. At the end of some long, full days, I simply crash/pass out and enjoy the deep sleep exhaustion brings. I don’t want you reading “daily” to mean I’ve got my act totally together over here.
All my ducks aren’t necessarily in a row but I feel like we’re in a good place. I’m really content with where we are in life. This is partly because breaking my regret habit has freed me up to make unconventional choices that seemed Spirit-directed and now seem to be working (that should come as no surprise). It’s also because I’ve grown much more patient with the process that is my life. I sense that these two are deeply related, dropping regret and growing in patience, but I haven’t done more than intuit that. Still need to write that out to understanding.
All of which is to say, I don’t regret committing to daily blogging. Nor do I regret not actually getting it done everyday. This is a good goal and I’m going to work at growing into it. And when it doesn’t happen, oh well, the internet is short a few hundred words. It’s still well over the word count (a joke only students may get). I do appreciate you reading this. It’s like you’re my accountability partners. I need that because I’m a master at avoiding what I don’t want to think about and my writing muse is unrelentingly stubborn.
If you’re a regretter like me and haven’t thought about it as sin before, I encourage you to consider it. Pray on it. For me, it was a problem of not trusting that God could redeem my past, of losing hope in the future God has for me. The practice of regret was a bad liturgy, not life giving for me, not honoring for God (those always go together, btw). God only exists in the present. The Holy Spirit invites us to live in the now, in all that this moment holds for us. Let’s accept that invite and enjoy the divine in us, in each other, and all around us.