Tag: regret

When Pain Is Your Mistress

When Pain Is Your Mistress

I don’t always know how to be happy and I’d hazard a guess that I’m not the only one.

Happiness is one of the most elusive concepts humans pursue. Most of the time, we’re mistaken about what will actually make us happy. We get it and are abysmally disappointed. More money, a relationship, new job, influence, power, etc., are just a few things we often believe will bring us happiness. (Mo’ money, mo’ problems).

Interestingly enough, we don’t have to desire things that are inherently bad in order to be disappointed once we get them. The reality is, nothing on this earth could ever or will ever satisfy the longing for fulfillment. Only God can. Some things seem to get really close, but fall short every single time. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t desire things, relationships, money, or influence. Instead, we must remember that in all things, we must ask, ‘why do I want what I want?’

Many of us have no trouble desiring things. For some of us, however, desiring anything good is an arduous task. Life experiences and disappointments have taught us not to expect anything good or for it to last very long. Our inner system of belief begins to tell us, ‘don’t get too attached,’ or ‘don’t get your hopes up.’ These thoughts come when your belief system is being run by doubt and fear.

Pastor Marcus Howard says, “Fear is not an emotion. It is the absence of emotion; because you don’t know what to expect, you fear. Fear is a toxin eating up the core of your belief.” I’ve heard him expound further saying, “fear comes because of a lack of expectation.”  

Our life experiences teach us what to expect or what not to expect. Painful experiences teach us it’s not worth hoping for something better. Sometimes, we become so familiar with our pain, that we forget how to be happy. We forget to receive the joy that’s been given to us through Christ.

Let’s talk about joy and happiness. If you ask a random person, they’ll tell you that joy and happiness are one in the same. I understand from where we get this idea. However, let’s look at Scripture for a second. Many of the verses that mention joy speak of it in spite of something.  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3).

We don’t experience joy because things are going well. We experiencing joy whether or not things are going well. Happiness is different. Happiness requires a particular condition. ‘I’m happy because _______.’ This means: if the reason for which I’m happy changes, so does my happiness with it. If I’m happy as long as I’m in a relationship, then the moment I’m single, I cease to be happy.

Joy is different. Joy is an assurance, a steadfastness, being immovable in the knowledge that everything is going to be alright. This kind of joy is only possible through knowledge of the One in whom there is assurance: Christ.

Oddly, joy is more natural than depression, anxiety, worry, doubt, or fear. It’s who God is. When you choose to have relationship with God through Christ, you choose everything that comes with Him. You marry (figuratively and spiritually) yourself to Him and the two of you become one.

Similarly, when you are friends with someone, the two of you begin to share the same vocabulary, ideals, and gestures. When you accept Christ, you begin to share in who He is.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:17).  What is Christ’s is ours. (What’s mine is yours. What’s your is mine. Marriage.)

Joy is a result of that relationship. Peace is a result of that relationship. Patience is a product of that relationship. Galatians 5:22 says, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” 

Christ teaches that we will go through difficult times (John 16:33). Don’t marry yourself to your pain. It’s not a healthy relationship. It doesn’t serve you the way a husband and wife serve each other in marriage. It only weighs you down. Nevertheless, realize you will experience pain, but remember what the outcome ought to be. It’s there to perfect your faith.

For further study: 2 Timothy 1:7, John 16:33, Romans 8

Happy reading!

Over and out.

 

*I do not own the rights to or the featured photo. I made small edits for the sake of the post.*

Ctrl, Alt, Del

Ctrl, Alt, Del

Control. Alt. Delete. This is my go-to when a computer decides to act rachet (see urban dictionary). When you enter that combination, your computer SHOULD give you the option to restart or shut down. When that doesn’t work, then you KNOW something is wrong. If only life worked this way…

Sometimes, you just wish you could start over. Maybe not completely; but many of us have a point in our life, we’d quickly consider starting things over from. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with wanting things to have been a certain way. There’s probably nothing wrong with wanting to do things differently.

However, I believe the true treasure is found in our applying lessons of yesterday to today. We don’t have to meditate on should’ve, would’ve, or could’ve. We don’t have to ponder on what was or wasn’t, but what is and will be.

My saying this does not mean I’ve never thought, “Man, I could’ve done this if THAT had never happened. I would’ve been here if THIS had never happened.” I’ve had more than my fair share in meditating on the past and still struggle with it from time to time. My issue, most of the time, is thinking TOO MUCH about the future. God, help me.

If I had to choose between dwelling on the past and regretting past decisions, or getting the most out of where I am now and having hope for the future, I’d choose the latter. I’ve reached a place where I’d rather keep pressing forward to see that which God has prepared for me. As afraid as I am of the future at times, I have confidence that whatever lies before me is surmountable if my eyes are on Christ.

The book of Hebrews says it best.  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything(every weight) that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2).”

Dwelling on the past hinders us from reaching true purpose. Sin will entangle you and keep you from reaching purpose. We have to throw aside EVERY weight. Don’t let the past be a weight that slows you down from reaching purpose.

Here are some things to hold on to if you find yourself regretting your past or feeling like you’ve wasted time:

We don’t get to change how we started, but we can affect how we finish. There are experiences I’ve had that were not life-giving that at times shook my faith that anything good could ever happen. Even when I don’t know how the good will come or when the good will come, deep down, I know it will. I hang my hat on that.

Your future is brighter than your past.

The people you surround yourself with affect your future. Find some people in your life to hold you accountable and encourage you to move forward in your life.

God uses the good as well as the bad. So, even if it hurts or hurt, God will use it to produce something beautiful (if you let Him).

Keep your eyes on Christ. We become what we focus on. If my eyes are set on Christ, my identity is no longer found in the things I did or didn’t do in my past, but in Him.

God is a redeemer of time. This should not encourage us to waste time. Instead, it should encourage us that if we’ve turned in the right direction that the things of the past will be used for our benefit and His glory.

I hope this has encouraged you today. Keep your eyes fixed on Christ.

Happy reading!

Over and out.

 

*I do not own (the rights to) featured picture.