Saturday, August 26, 2017

If You Could Change One Thing


A question I have asked myself before is this...If you could change one thing, anything, about your past, what would it be?

I'd like to say that my answer is nothing, I have no regrets.

However, as nice as that would be, it would be untrue.

There are things I regret. Times I said something I regretted for years...or did something I regretted. Things that probably changed the relationship I could have had for someone. Things I had to tearfully apologize to someone for. And things they probably don't remember anymore, but I do...and groan.

Perhaps I would change one of those times. Perhaps not say that one thing.

Or maybe I would go back and change my 7th grade year. Maybe I would actually go and talk to people. Maybe I would change it so that an older girl came over to talk to me. Perhaps I would have my one small group leader stay with us. Perhaps.

Or perhaps, though I regret things, though there were hard things I went through, perhaps I wouldn't change anything. There is no way I want to go back and repeat those things...but maybe they don't need to be changed either.

Perhaps those things I regret have shaped me to be the person I am today. I watch my tongue more carefully now because I have said hurtful things in the past. Perhaps I have learned some things from awkward situations created by something I said or did. Perhaps I have learned to laugh at myself sometimes because of some goofy and dumb things I have said that have caused people to laugh at me. Perhaps the hard times have taught me to trust God. Perhaps God had me go through those times so I can help some other struggling seventh grader. Perhaps.

So if I could go back and change one thing from my past...would I? Would I? I don't know. If I erased that thing I said, would I be the person I am now? If I erased that thing I did, would I be the person I am now? If I erased that memory that brings pain, would I be the person I am now? If I erased the loneliness that I felt in 7th grade, would I be the person I am today? If I erased the things I struggled with, would I be the person I am now? If I erased the things I went through that were extremely difficult, the trials, would I be the person I am today?

As difficult, embarrassing, or painful things from my past may have been, I believe that they have shaped me to be the person I am today. I don't think I'd be the same today if those things hadn't happened. And I think I'm turning out alright, if I do say so myself. 😉

Is there something in your life you would change if you could? Or would you keep it the way it is? Can you even be thankful for the trials you have been through, the regrets you have? Do you see how those things have shaped your life?

I had a conversation with a trusted friend recently where I admitted that I still struggle with regrets. I can't get past some things I have said and done. I get mad at myself all over again when I think of them. She asked me why. Why am I still focusing on the bad in the past? The truth is, you can't change it, whether you would like to or not. So why can't you just focus your eyes forward and try to make better decisions in the future? Why not just forgive yourself and move on? She gave me a lot to think about. I don't remember everything that she said, but I remember that her point was why not move past the past? Put it behind you, forgive yourself, and move on.

Thanks to Jesus' sacrificial work on the cross, I have already been forgiven by God. I have asked for his forgiveness for the wrong things I have said or done. I have decided to move on. To leave it at the cross and walk on, free. I have a whole future ahead of me, but if I let my past hold me down, I won't get anywhere. I feel free since I have given those things to God.

Can you do the same? Can you move past the past? Leave it with God? Look into the future and see an opportunity to start fresh?

As for the trials, I have seen so many ways to be thankful for the trials, now that they are done. Sometimes it is hard to be thankful in the middle...I sure wasn't. I cried. A lot. I was mad at God. I was mad at some people. But I recently asked forgiveness of God...and someone I have been angry with for four years. It is freeing! You have no idea until you do it. Are you still mad at God for a trial he sent you through? Ask forgiveness. Find something to be thankful for in the trial. It helps. For me, the stuff I went through in 7th grade has shaped me to be sensitive to those who may feel left out. I'm thankful for those experiences now.

Can you leave your past behind? Can you be thankful for the trials? Can you move past the sinful, embarrassing or dumb things you have done in the past? Can you forgive yourself?

And be content to let the past be the past and move forward into a fresh and open future?

I can. I hope you can too.


  1. CHANGE 7th grad, relates and would work for me!!~=0)

  2. Very thought-provoking. Thank you.