Life is a battle.
Sometimes the battle is more in my mind and heart than in the world where I live.
To do or not to do? Was I wrong or right? Could I have done it differently or better? These are questions I am tempted to ask myself all the time. And if I don’t watch it, I will camp here.
Not a good thing.
Praying and pondering is a good thing. Seeking the Lord’s guidance, well, what could be better? But at some point, we’re required to “do,” to move forward. If you’re like me, I do take action and then replay the entire scenario in my mind, question how I did something, wonder if I could have done better, and then sometimes even ponder forever over whether it was the right thing to do.
In the Army, they have something called an AAR (After Action Report). Following an event or exercise, they go back, make notes, and write feedback. These are helpful because if and when these things are required again they ideally do it better the second time—that is if folks actually read the AAR.
In real life, an AAR is helpful. Even as individuals we really desire to do things better the next time or help keep others from making the same mistakes we do. These are good things. But there is some line in there where it goes from being an AAR to being a list of regrets.
This is not good.
Last time I checked I was pretty human, making mistakes on a regular basis. I have yet to follow the Lord perfectly every time. I know you’re shocked.
Dwelling on those mistakes, replaying them over and over can take me from a life of abundance and grace to a heart of failure and fear. In about two seconds.
But how do we go from the AAR to moving forward in faith, skipping the sinkhole of regret?
It comes down to one easy word that we have a hard time getting our brain around. It’s called grace. God extends it so freely to us on a regular basis. We extend it to others pretty regularly as well, but we don’t necessarily extend it to ourselves very well.
Today, let’s do that. Realizing that we are human and desiring to do better the next time than we did the last, let’s step forward in faith and hope, trusting that God can take even our worst day and do something good with it. We have to remember, too, that God is looking at our heart and not necessarily our actions.
King David is a great example of this. Dude messed up. Over and over and over. He didn’t just mess up in little things, he had some zingers! But God saw David’s heart. It tells us just that in Acts 13:22, “And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’”
Even in the midst of all of David’s failures, God took an ordinary life and created an extraordinary legacy.
Can you say Jesus?
If He can do that for David, He can do it for me. I don’t desire to mess up regularly, but I know that I will. Today, I am determined to live a life without regret. I want a life that learns from the past but still has courage and faith to step forward into the future, knowing He has called me to more.
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)