No Regrets

Today's post is stolen from "Stuff Christians Like" by Jon Acuff. Jon writes hysterical Christian satire. Except on Wednesdays which is reserved for more serious issues.  Last Wednesday, he wrote the following story about a conversation with his coworker, Brian. At the end, I'll add my two cents. To read his post in its entirety, click here.

While at the gym the day before, Brian had seen a man have a heart attack on one of the machines. A crowd quickly formed, but confusion reigned. The gym employees were slow to act and 911 was not called immediately. Brian prayed with a handful of other people and comforted the man the best he knew how, but by the time the ambulance showed up, it was too late. With his wife standing in the crowd of exercisers, a stranger at the gym passed away.

So on an otherwise uneventful morning in an otherwise ordinary conference room, Brian was replaying the whole situation. With the laser focus we all seem to inherit when feeling guilty, he was watching the film of the day before looking for something he could have done differently. There must have been something. Anything that would have saved that man.

That’s a horrible moment that maybe you’re familiar with too. Perhaps the circumstances were different, but somewhere in your life, there’s been a moment you wish happened differently. You lost your job. You lost your marriage. You were too slow to act in a car crash. Your son, the one who used to laugh so hard when you’d build towers of wooden blocks for him to knock over is running away from you and you’re left wondering what you could have done differently.

I don’t know. I don’t know the specifics of your situation. There are some circumstances where we are called to act and have the chance to do something and we don’t. But I think far more often we make the same mistake Brian made. We look back on yesterday or last year or ten years ago and we think we could have done something differently. And if I could tell you the same thing I told Brian, it would be pretty simple.

“God didn’t ask you to be God that day.”

God didn’t turn the reins over to you that day. Just like he didn’t ask Brian to handle a stranger’s aorta tear in the gym, he didn’t ask you to be the God of any particular situation. He is still God. He is still in control. He is still on the throne. And when we act otherwise, it must pain him so.

Because it hurt me to watch Brian that day. It hurt to see him running through scenarios and CPR techniques and a thousand other “what ifs” that morning in the conference room. He had a limitless supply of things that a good person should have done.

Maybe you do too. About your marriage and your job and your childhood and your family. And while I’d never encourage you to shirk the responsibility and accountability God gives each of us, I can promise you one thing, he didn’t ask you to be God that day. He’ll never do that. You get to just be Brian. Or Pam or Sue or Felix. That’s enough. That’s how he planned it. For yesterday and today and tomorrow.

Too often, I pull out thethe "if only's," the coulda, shoulda, woulda" wistful thinking, and then my mind parks there filled with regrets or frustrations.

Jon's statement "God didn't ask you to be God that day" is what really pierced me. Maybe you too. Why is it so hard to relinquish control sometimes? Why is feeling helpless so difficult?

Jon titled his post "Regret", but I titled mine "No Regrets." On one of my son's mission trips a few years ago, he chose a personal theme for training camp and the trip = "No Regrets." AJ didn't want to look back on the trip [or on his life] and have regrets. He purposed to make choices, to go places, to say and do things that would leave him satisfied, fulfilled, with no regrets. Hearing his wisdom, I purposed to learn something from my young son.

For those things that are in our control, let's take the action, say what should be said, avoid what we know to avoid, so we won't have regrets.
And for those things that are out of our control, let's let God be God and rest in His divine wisdom.

What do you think?



Joanne@ Blessed... said...

Great post friend!

I think us control-freaks (or as some are called...mothers) tend to control out of fear. We want things to go the way we want them to go, and anything outside of that is not in our comfort zone.

What a great reminder that God is still on the throne, He is still sovereign, and He is still allowing us to play a part, but we don't get to make the whole enchilada.

Not very poignant I know, but you get the picture.

Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

Enchilada makes the point perfectly! Who needs poignant anyway.
And how great that He allows us to play a part in His awesome plans.

Maria I. Morgan said...

Oh, if we could just be careful to let God be God! Focusing on how we could have done things differently can be a big time-waster. If we learn something from the evaluation, it can be useful for future situations.

I agree with your words of wisdom: "For those things that are in our control, let's take the action, say what should be said, avoid what we know to avoid, so we won't have regrets."

Have a blessed weekend, Susan!!

quietspirit said...

I't not a matter of control/not in control for me. I was moved by John Donne's diary entry where he said "No man is an island unto himself." We all are touched by a person's passing on.

Thanks for your kind words when you visited my blog.

Jen said...

Awesome blog! No regrets... I like it!

Steve Lucas said...

Hi Susan,

Excited to register on your blog.

Praying for success in publishing your book.

Re your latest posting, a thought: while we may not be God that day, sometimes God uses us to do His will...Brian's story reminded me of the time a good friend was sitting across from me eating pizza and i noticed he was looking strange and turning pale -- he was choking on a bite of pizza. Having trained my scout troop in the Heimlich Maneuver, i knew what to do, calmly stood, walked around the table, wrapped my arms around him and squeezed at the right spot, and the offending piece shot across the room. His wife, sitting next to him didn't even realize what happened until, as we were leaving for the evening, he thanked me for saving his life.

Sometime God prepares us and positions us to do His will; and, as you observed, sometimes He doesn't. It is, after all, His will.

God Bless, Steve