I just recently reread a tweet by Tullian Tchividjian that I saved last year. He said:
“While we can never go back to a past that we have lost or ruined, we can always go to God—a God who promises to love and use people who fail because there aren’t any other kinds of people.”
I believe his words ring absolutely true. We have all made mistakes in life. We all have regrets about decisions we’ve made or didn’t make, things we’ve done or said to other people, relationships that we’ve had a hand in ruining, plans and projects we’ve abandoned, things we meant to do but never did, or things we knew at the time we shouldn’t be doing but did anyway.
There’s no one reading this who doesn’t have mistakes they wish they could change. I do—we all do. When it’s all said and done, we’re all in the same boat and would like to take a mulligan on some part of our lives.
But there are two important things to remember about the mistakes of the past:
- We can’t change them.
- God can use them for His own divine purposes.
We first have to get past our regret. Embrace your regret, but don’t linger on it. It will do you no good except drag you down into a quagmire of self-hate and loathing. Trust me—I’ve done that and it’s not a place you want to be. Realize that like all human beings, you have made mistakes. Then move on.
Next, we need to trust God to do His work. Ask Him to use your mistakes to:
- Make you a better person.
- Help someone else.
Be unselfish with yourself. Look for ways that you can be a blessing in others’ lives. Maybe these opportunities will come as a direct result of your past mistakes—you see others making the same errors you did and you can help them make better choices.
Or maybe you have simply gained knowledge and experience that allow you to show more compassion and care—you’re able to connect with others in ways you might not have been able to previously.
Be aware of those around you. Take your eyes off yourself and look for others who need help navigating the storms of life (I’m talking to myself here mostly). See how you can lighten someone’s burden.
You’ll not only help those around you, you’ll also end up feeling better about yourself. Who wouldn’t feel better knowing that they’ve been a blessing to others?
Plus, looking outward rather than inward helps defeat feelings of depression and anxiety. It creates a win-win situation for yourself (Again, I’m talking to myself but letting the rest of you in on my inner thoughts).
Trust God—He can use your mistakes to make a better you.