Every now and then I sit back at night and I stare out the window with a cup of tea in hand, and I wonder about the direction my life has gone in. It’s not so much that I have regrets, though, if I had the time again, I know there would have been some things that I would have changed. It’s that, in those moments, I just think about the ways it might have been different had a decision been one of the other choices I could have made.
Who would have I become? How would have it changed the person I am? Would it have changed him at all? Would I still have been the same or reached the same place? If I had, would my life have been any easier for getting there? If not, would I have been happy with the person I had become?
Sometimes, to be perfectly honest, I’m not always content with the places my life has taken me or the places I have wound up. In those moments it’s easy for me to slip into the “What If’s” of a different time and decisions. After all, life is made up of all of those little choices that we make along the way. Sometimes they’re so small that we don’t even recognize them as being as big as they are as they set us on a course we little expected, profoundly changing the direction of our lives.
It could be that it’s an important process for us to come to, to make peace with ourselves and the decisions that we have made and the road our life has gone down, especially when it hasn’t been all that we had hoped or thought that it would be. Yet it is also one that we have to be careful of lest we allow ourselves to fall into the trap of regret.
You see, our lives, at times, can take unexpected twists and turns. It can take us down a course and a path that we little expected for it to take us on. Perhaps it’s far from where we had ever thought we would be. The truth is, that happens. Yet, sitting back and wondering to ourselves how our lives might or could have been different does us little good in the grand scheme of the human experience.
For as much as the past may have had its effect on us and who we have become, it is not nearly as important as looking to the future and deciding what we want to make of it. (Philippians 3:13-14)
You see, life isn’t about living in previous things. Yes, perhaps we have made mistakes in them, but, in the end, about the only thing we can really do about it is put them behind us, and learn from them, knowing that even they had a purpose for us to draw upon. (Hebrews 12:10-11) Though God doesn’t want us to make mistakes, it’s not like His plan and His design for our lives can only operate if we are free of them. Loving, understanding, and knowing, even as He sets into motion the plans He does have for us, (Jeremiah 1:5) He does so taking into account the human element so that our future is one of hope and faith in that hope, (Jeremiah 29:11) even if we don’t necessarily understand at the time.
Sometimes then, it is just about how we let the decisions we have made pass through us as we let them pass by us, knowing that though they may have been hard, and perhaps they have taken a toll on us, God didn’t need us to make all the right ones from the start to help us reach the inevitable end that we need to arrive at. Our faith, our trust it has to lie in more than just the choices we make, knowing that while we take an active part in our future, for however far we may have deviated from the road we perhaps should have been on, we can be taken back to the path we need to go down.
Here, if there are changes to be made, it isn’t a question of how could of my life been different. It’s a matter of how can I make my life different. It is about looking at the gifts, the talents, the blessings and the hope that have been given to you by your Creator and using them, learning to become the person you want to be rather than perpetually looking back to the person you might have been. It’s about knowing that life is a journey, and one that does take unexpected turns, but also one that we are always growing, evolving in, one that, as we put our faith in a higher purpose and a higher meaning, heals us from the wounds of the past to start fresh with the future.
Be who you are, but do it with a firm eye on who you need to be. Remember God cannot reveal what is in front of you if you are perpetually looking behind you. He has more planned for you, it is just a matter of taking hold of it and moving forward, reminding yourself that the reason behind everything is revealed in time in love towards the person you were, are and can be. Lay your burdens at the feet of your Savior, Christ Jesus, and move forward with the love and the hope that God has intended for you and your life.
When you see the path as that journey you travel towards a place of hope, know that it is never going to be perfect, but it is going to give you the peace in who you have become that you have been searching for.