Regret in the Rear View Mirror 
The alarm is sounding. That annoying buzz is not waking you, but confirming you have been awake already for an hour. Why are you up so early? What gives cause to the "earlier than normal rise out of bed awake" moment? Because today is the day you have been waiting for. For the last 6 months you have been focused on finishing the big project at work. Several months ago your boss asked you to lead a team of your peers and develop a plan to accomplish a better bottom line for your department. You have done it. The presentation is ready. The handouts are done. Things look clean and crisp reminding yourself of the new white on white striped shirt you will wear today. This special occassion calls for me to look my best and be my best. As you arrive at the office the conference room is abuzz with excitement and anticipation. You know more is on the line than just completing the project. You have heard through the rumor mill that if this project goes over well and is accpeted their is a promotion waiting for you. Promotion! Yeah, a big promotion, and it's what you have been waiting for. This is the break you have longed for.
The presentation goes flawlessly. You say to yourself, "My energy was good. My presentation was clear. The facts were strong. Our team did well. I answered their questions succinctly, with clarity and with confidence." The meeting is over and as you walk back to your office you are congratulated with high five's, pats on the back and verbal 'atta boys!'
You get to your computer and have already received several emails complimenting you on your quality leadership, the soundness of your presentation and the bold initiatives you proposed. A weight has been lifted. The elephant of responsiblility you have been carrying is gone. You seem lighter; it's as if you could jump and reach the moon. You feel so good about this project. Musing to yourself, "I need to call my wife and tell her I am making dinner reservations. We are going to celebrate. Wait...am I being premature about the success of the project and the undisclosed promotion? Nah, this is in the bag!" Just as you start to call your wife your boss knocks on the door. "Congratulations Clint! That was an excellent presentation. Very well done. May I come in for a moment?"
Your heart starts beating faster. It's pounding in your chest so forcefully you are self conscious and wondering if he can see your heart beating. Thinking to yourself, "Stay calm. Stay cool. Act like you belong here. You deserve this. This is your moment to shine."
Your boss, is a gentle and fair man. You anticipate any moment the big announcement. He starts, "Clint, the department heads and myself were very excited about your presentation. You laid out some bold intiatives that will help this company and help us achieve our year end goals. Your team spoke well of your leadership and how you empowered those around you. We are really excited to have you as part of this team. I'm sure you are aware that a recent promotion came available and we strongly considered you for the job. Your presentation today was robust and a case for why you are ready to lead a bigger team. However, the department heads think we should hire someone from another division who has more experience and a proven track record of success. I hope you are not too upset. Stay engaged with us Clint. Your time is coming."
The dreaded moment we all hate. The "however" moment that leads us to a place of promise and fulfillment but while on the brink of accomplishment and satisfaction life takes a hard left turn and you run straight into the wall of regret.
Why get all of your hopes up? Why invest so much with so little promise of return? Why set yourself up for disappointment and discouragement? Because the alternative is unimaginable. We can't live without hope. We need hope to live. God is a God of hope according to Romans 15:13. He fills us with peace and joy so that we overflow with hope. If you and I are pierced by the sharp and unseen arrows of regret or pain then we need the healing that hope offers. Hope is needed most when we are hopeless.
God is a God who gives a future and a hope. He is a God who thinks of us and his thoughts are peaceful. Previously I wrote regarding these truths. They are weapons for us to use as we defeat the power and stronghold of regret. Finally, I want to unfold truth #4, His Giving must be Received. Receiving a future, a hope and a new way of thinking is essential. The danger, however, is that we create a transactional relationship with God. I give him my pain and he gives me healing. As long as life is good no transaction is needed. Transactional relationships are the natural product of independence and living outside of covenantal relationships. In communion with Jesus, we are called to live with a bright outlook for the future and with peaceful thinking. It's impossible for us to see the possibility of what lies ahead by looking behind us. The haunting voices of past mistakes and regret are being displaced by the sounds of hope and a future ripe with life. Receive what God gives you as a beloved son receives from his father. It's not because you have to or because you should, but because you are loved. The inability to receive is the byproduct of an orphan heart. Orphans, left without care and nuture, are wildly independent. When regret happens it's difficult to receive the healing power of Jesus because of all their lives they have taken care of themselves. Overcome regreat by becoming a great receiver of all that God has for you. In humililty say Thank You!
Until next time...