Living with regrets

[notice]A fortnightly column by Anna Heydenrych.[/notice]

I was driving on the freeway on my way to a meeting the other day. As I neared my destination, I wasn’t concentrating and I took the wrong off-ramp. This resulted in me driving for 10 kilometres in the wrong direction. I regretted my mistake as I was already running late.

I have heard people say that they live their lives without regrets, because their mistakes have taught them lessons. This is certainly so, and many bad situations can be turned around, and good things are often birthed out of pain and hurt. I do think that it is okay and even good to live life with regrets. When I took that wrong turnoff, it did teach me a lesson. But had I been more prepared and thought ahead and read the signs, I would have avoided wasting my time.

Of course my little trip up the freeway is a mere illustration. But what about real life big decisions — the biggest of all being choosing whether or not to believe and follow Christ? Imagine living your life your own way and only choosing Christ at the end? What a wonderful thing it would be because salvation would be yours! But do you think perhaps you might regret that you did not make the choice sooner?

We crave to realise our purpose in life, and as Christians, we know that this purpose can be found in walking each day in relationship with God. I think it would be a shame to miss out on this. Even we Christians who have chosen to live according to God’s will need to be careful to make the right choices. If we choose to sin, or choose not to do the correct thing when given the opportunity, we will miss out on the joy of a lifestyle of making right daily choices.

So how do we know what the right choices are? Some are obvious. If someone offers you a bribe, don’t take it; we know its wrong. But what about choosing between one job and another? We need to be prayerful about every decision and I don’t mean what to have for breakfast; the decisions that will affect us for years to come. I find that when I pray about decisions though, the answer is not written in the sky for me. It doesn’t appear written in the foam in my cappuccino either. So how do we know if we are going the right way or not? I suppose the more time we spend with God and the closer we walk in relationship with Him, the more our will will be aligned with His. We will also know when we have taken the wrong turnoff and when we need to start looking for the next off-ramp so that we can turn around and go back.

We will live life with regrets when we make mistakes or become distracted by the things of the world. Don’t be afraid to live life with regrets, but if you find yourself regretting something you have done take the very next off-ramp and get back on course as quickly as possible. Aim for a life without regrets but don’t be afraid to live with regrets.


  1. Yes, God doesnt give us the map of the road ahead, He gives us a will to make choices, and some of them are bad and some are good. But He says its OKAY to make u-turns !!!

  2. Great column, Anna. I wish my mistakes had all been as gentle as taking wrong turnoffs, but, yes I have much to regret, but as I look back over my long, long life, I realize that the times that I now regret are ALL times when I strayed from the Lord. I see in retrospect that living my life for Him has given me tremendous joy, stability and built determination, courage and peace. Any folk who read Anna’s column who haven’t committed themselves to God, don’t waste more time on regrets – taste and see that the Lord is good.

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