Of regrets, I have exactly none. To regret something is to wish it never happened. Relying upon the words of Jeremiah 1:5 (KJV),
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.
Every move we’ve made, every step and misstep we’ve taken was not only known, but required to bring us into this very moment. Even if I had the capacity, my regret would change nothing. So, why bother.
There are certainly experiences in my life I wish I had not been called to endure.
There is not a thing I can do about them. Pause. Give thanks. Move on.
This is yet another season of my growing, and growing seldom comes absent considerable pain.
For all that I have endured in my years, these things I know…
Faith is the lens through which I experience my world.
I do not serve a mean and spiteful God. We do not deserve what we get in life, for better or for worse. What matters are the lessons, and how we get through them. Failing to learn them means we will be tested. Again. I despise retests. God cares not what I despise. Sovereign. Immutable. Like Gravity.
I cannot imagine being hopeless, because even during the worst of times, as William Clark Martin wrote in 1902, I have an anchor.
Though the angry surges roll
On my tempest-driven soul,
I am peaceful, for I know,
Wildly though the winds may blow,
I’ve an anchor safe and sure,
That can evermore endure.
And it holds, my anchor holds:
Blow your wildest, then, O gale,
On my bark so small and frail;
By His grace I shall not fail,
For my anchor holds, my anchor holds.
The myth of the strong black woman is killing us, by whispers.
Zora Neale Hurston wrote in Their Eyes Were Watching God,
If you’re silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.
Neither regret nor silence.
I am doing neither. Let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time,
I encountered the most unanticipated
and yet what might have been considered
the most terrifying experience of my life.
I had no time to be afraid.
I learned that what doesn’t break you, while not necessarily making you stronger, does make you fearless. And, returning over time to the things you most fear, with neither intent nor plan, eliminates their power over you. If it doesn’t destroy you, why on earth would you fear it? There is a difference between regretting something and failing to learn the lesson it was sent to teach you. Do not do the former. Learn not to do the latter.
The things of this world which we fear have less power over us when we call them by name. We mostly fear the unknown. The things we know? They are merely things to be managed, not worthy of fear. As Oswald Chambers says in My Utmost for His Highest,
The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.
A clarification. I am not scared of God.
I fear God, understanding the definition of fear to which Chambers refers. To fear God is to hold the Almighty in reverential awe. No, I am not scared of God. Rather, I am scared by the notion of life without God in it.
And unlike Jeremiah, I am no prophet. However, like Jeremiah, I cannot unsee what I see. Frequently, I find myself called to deliver unpopular truths about where we are AND and that to which we are called. I don’t much like it sometimes, but I am clear-eyed; I have arrived at the place in my life and in my Faith where John Pavlovitz declares,
You’ll know you’ve reached a new level of spiritual maturity, when your beliefs no longer require everyone else to hold them.
And why on earth would I regret that?
I am a very serious person, so I laugh a lot. I write because it helps me understand the way I feel about the world. I married my high school sweetheart, and together we made two exceptional people and raised a dog so remarkable, I wrote a book about the faith lessons he taught me. I envision a world where each of us embraces the Perfect, Precise Image of God that we are, naturally, at every given moment, even as each of us exists in a liminal state.