Regret me not!!

Hey all, back for another rattle this week.

I have been doing a lot of thinking in the area of regret this week; this was all triggered by reading a novel called the Midnight Library by a very talented author called Matt Haig.

After reading a lot of Christian books recently back to back, I thought I would mix it up a little with a novel, like a little reading holiday.

But before I go on to talk about the Midnight Library, can I just give a shout out to a book I finished last week that was so good for me to read. I just know it will be a go to book for a long time.

The Book is God on Mute by Pete Greig. Such a truly gifted and anointed writer, who bravely addresses the subject of unanswered prayer through the transparency of his own life and his many trials and traumas.

I’m not sure I know one person that wouldn’t benefit from reading this book, and the newly revised 2020 edition has a 40 day devotional included as an added bonus. I highly recommend this book, to the point I’m sure my friends are a bit tired listening about it, but seriously, it’s a great investment.

So back to the novel that was intended to be a little bit of light reading for down time and ended up activating a week of deep thinking and soul searching, much praying, and repentance, lol. So maybe I’ll just stick to the Christian books, ha ha!

Would I recommend this book? I’m honestly not sure. There is no doubt it is a masterpiece of creativity; it touches on some real life issues such as depression and suicide and addressing regret, so I think it was good, but at the same time, it doesn’t quite align with any biblical teaching. although It did contain some profound truths, so as long as you are not pulled into some new belief, I think it’s a good read.

I don’t think I should lay out the plot, to avoid any spoilers, but what I can tell you is, when all her odds are down, the main character, Nora, decided suicide is her only option, but before passing on to death she is taken to the Midnight Library. and there she visits her other parallel lives, addressing the many regrets “she thought” she had that ultimately lead to the decision to overdose.

Like I said before, the novel led me to think A LOT about the many regrets I have accumulated. I have years, both of things I’ve done and things I wish I’d done. It made me think of what my life might look like had I made different choices.. it was a rabbit hole. There were things I could hand on heart say, I’m thankful for that, even though it was tough or sad or bad. Sadly, there were a lot of things that came to mind that I really truly wished I had done, and I thought about what difference it would have made to my life now. And, like I said, it was a rabbit hole. I had to take a lot of stuff to God, some unforgiveness had to be addressed, others matters I had to repent for. I’m still working on some bumpy bits in my heart, but by Saturday, siting writing this, I can say hand on heart, I am thankful for the process of regret. I’m thankful for the decisions, good and bad, and well, while I acknowledge my life could be miles better, after some dodgeball decisions, it could also be a heck of a lot worse than my current situation.

I’m so thankful for God’s amazing saving grace that brought me this far and I’m also excited for the plans he has infront of me.

So this week, I just wanted to say, unless you are super human, or perhaps a little narcissistic, I’m betting that you have had some regret to deal with in your life. While, yes there may well be natural, unavoidable consequences of our bad decisions, the real beauty of the cross and being a child of God lies with Jesus dying on the cross to give us that ultimate midnight library.

On accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, the Bible tells us that we are a new creation, that our sins are forgiven and we have been given a new life. This is the good news, our second chance, the opportunity and right to reside with God for eternity. Not only all the good stuff for our time after the grave, but now for here living on earth, we have been gifted with a new chance to live a life full of joy and peace and love and happiness.

Sadly, for a lot of people, even Christians, they believe that their mistakes disqualify them from God’s redemptive grace, when the Bible clearly instructs us that is not the case. In fact, we have been given a written manual of God’s word, his commands and boundaries to keep us safe, and the more we follow these instructions the less we are going to have to deal with regret.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

The Bible tells us that there is no mistake too big that God can’t forgive, the Bible tells us that the enemy or any force in hell does not have the power to keep us from God’s love. However, the truth is we stop ourselves from embracing it and recieving it because we believe our mistakes are too big for God, lack of belief or the enormity of God’s power and forgiveness.

Believe me when I say I could write my regrets down starting now, and this time next week I would still not be done. When God took up residence in my heart, things changed. By the grace of God, I was able to address bad decisions. I was given the chance to make some right, I was taught how to deal with and accept the ones I could not change. I don’t have the same urgency to race into things, those decisions that lead to those awful, regretful mistakes. My heart has been transformed from a heart full of regret and despair and hopelessness to one of forgiveness, hope and excitement for the future.

Do I get it all right?.. Heck no!

Do I still make mistakes?.. sometimes, though less frequently now.

Do I live a life shrouded with depression, bitterness, guilt & regret?… not anymore.

He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” Psalms 23:3 NLT

That’s thanks to the overwhelming love and power of the blood of Jesus. To know that my past does NOT define who I am. God does, and he has a lot to say on the matter. Knowing he has perfect plans laid out for my future, despite what mistakes I make, God has a plan and purpose for my life.

I stress to you, as someone who knows what it is to live a life of excessive amounts of regret, from someone who has buried her shame and regrets deep and dark inside, scared the real me would be exposed and nobody would want to know me… which was quite the opposite…. I urge you, shed some light on it, that burden you carry!

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 NLT

Talk to God about it. Pray about it. Repent. Lay it at the cross.

Start living the life God intended for you to live and enjoy. A life filled with hope and promise, a life of truth and joy and love, a life with the great majestic overwhelming love of Christ.

You know, if you believe as much as Jesus hung on that cross, and you continue to cling on and carry this shame and guilt and regret, basically Jesus hung there for nothing.

“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 NLT

And that would be a real shame, because it’s a lie, Jesus hung there for our freedom So go claim it today, without delay. Lay your burdens down, claim your freedom in Christ our King. Perhaps you can’t change the past, but you can chose to change holding onto mistakes that will affect your future.

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,” Philippians 3:13 NLT

Positive FAIL

Hello, how is everyone doing?… hope you are all well.

It’s a little ironic that last week I post a blog telling you all of my prayers for my work and performance and on Monday, I woke with what can only be described as THE WORST head cold I have ever experienced. The sinus congestion was brutal, the intense headache behind my eyes had me in bed for almost two full days. I also managed to smit my youngest, Joshua, then had to watch him suffer for the following two days. So for anyone who has caught this particular strain of the cold, you have my most sincere sympathy.

However, bugs and germ are not what I’m talking about today. It actually is bit of a cheese ball analogy, but as I cringe a little telling you this story, I am certain it is the most obvious God-given lesson I can tell you all about this week, so bear with me because it actually ends up being quite powerful, and some serious questions came from it.

On Friday evening, I had my car MOT test; for those of you not from UK, it is simply a vehicle test to examine the car and declare it safe for road use. It looks at things like lights and windscreen, seatbelts, horn, looks at your wheels and brakes and a few other bits.

In preparation for this test, I did very little. I had got a crack on my windscreen a few weeks back and it had to be replaced and I got three new tyres an hour before the test. The guy in the tyre garage asked, do you want me to check your lights? When I asked how much extra it would be, he said not much. The reply I distinctively remember saying, was that it’s not worth failing the test over the lights, so go for it!!

Well, I’m guessing you probably guess by now where this is going. YES indeed I did FAIL the test and you guessed it… on the light alignment.

Now I promise you the next thirty minutes after my test can only be described as UGLY. The guy at the test centre hot footed it away from me because, he probably thought my look was going to kill him stone dead. (great way to testify, Terrence) All grace and coolness leaving me about the situation, and feeling an intense rage starting to build inside, I got in my car, slammed the door closed much harder than I needed to and zoomed off. I ranted and I raged to myself the whole way home, absoultly furious at the outcome of the test. The lovely guy who fitting my tyre probaly got cursed in and out of hell more than once. I was so cross, to be honest, I was abnormally cross at one stage. I had to stop and spoke out loud and said, RIGHT TERRI, that’s enough, pull it together, it could be a lot worse, it’s only a light alignment, probably a two minute job, not a three hundred pound part.

The area of dealing with disappointment and things not going my way, I had given a lot of attention in recent years. Even more so in recent months, I have with God’s help worked hard on how I process and react when things don’t go according to the Terri plan.

To the point, that I have little to no reaction at all sometimes besides an internal heart sigh, so when I say the rant that was going on was extreme, I really mean it. I had one of these explosions a few months ago, and I was so ashamed of my action, I promised I would get a real handle on this. But here I was again exploding, only this time, it wasn’t my feelings hurt. I knew my purse had got off lightly. Besides the inconvenience of the retest, things really were ok.

Asking myself what was causing this, why did I feel disappointed, I was really coming up with nothing other than the fact that God didn’t give me some divine favour in my test. I know, I also LOL to this. I’m semi joking, but half, not because that it is very much the temptation when things go wrong to assume God’s favour or presence has fallen away and you have been left to your own devices, or that the car machanic or tester are working in allegiance with the enemy.

I really do have an active imagination! Yes, an awareness of warfare is essential, but sometimes we can give the enemy way too much credit.

I found myself still muttering on about this stupid light alignment the next day, on and on I replayed this phrase light alignment, swimming around in my head, hating even the sound on my tongue. I prayed and quickly asked God why I was struggling to let go of the annoyance this caused. My reply came quickly.. why is alignment so important Terri? BOOM!!! Is it possible God allowed me to hang on to my irritation a little longer than necessary to minister to me on an area of my faith.. 100% possibility, felt like a very Jesus type thing to do!

He now had my attention and I was ready for the little heart training ahead, and it’s very simple really.

Why is light alignment so important ??

According to the car blog I googled, correct light alignment is very important, especially in the DARK winter nights, because if your lights are not aligned properly it can cause you to A) not see the road ahead properly, B) blind other road users, C) other road users and pedestrians may NOT be aware of your presence..

Why is it so important our lives align with God’s Heart?

A) We can’t see the road ahead properly, only when we are living connected to God and invested in reading his word and knowing his character, only then can we truly see the path he is laying out before us.

B) We can blind other road users… absolutely if our lives are not properly aligned with Christ, we can easily lead other Christians to veer off the path in the wrong direction, blind or confuse them with our ways, our contorted beliefs, thinking or behaviour.

C) We don’t make others aware of our presence. When we do not have our hearts aligned properly with God, the simple thing is people may not KNOW we are Christians. We don’t shine brightly to others and we won’t light the path that leads to Christ. And essentially, we could cause others to fail, simply by not being the light that they need in their life when in great need, or when things are darkest.

What causes Misalignment?

Bumps on the road, accidents, wear and tear, sudden sharp breaking.. sounds similar to misalignment in life with God. Every bump in the road, every time we have a mishap or fall short, sudden stoppages when things are not going according to OUR plan can all lead to to our Misalignment with God.

And as I was looking for someone to blame on Friday for me failing the MOT, it wasn’t the mechanic, or the guy at the test centre, it wasn’t even my brother who accidentally reversed into my bumper It was me, my responsibility to keep my car in check and keep it fit for road use.

How often I look for excuses and things to blame when my life with Christ is off course. It’s the circumstances, it’s the problems, or the people, or the church, or pastor, or a million other excuses. When the bottom line is.. the responsibility lies with me, and me alone, to keep my life aligned with the teaching of Christ. its my responibility to read the word and attented church and check in with my friends for accountability. to be honest and vunerable and listen to wise counsel when they lovingly correct me.

So there you go… Is it time for your spiritual MOT with God?

Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:6‬ ‭TPT‬‬

But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:14-17‬ ‭NLT‬‬