It’s a blessed person indeed who can look back at his or her life without regrets. Very few, if any, can truly say, “I wouldn’t change a thing.”
When looking back at one’s life from near its end, priorities often look quite different. Things that caused worry, and things you worked so hard for may not mean much at all. Things you neglected may become extremely important.
But why not prevent those regrets? Why not live in such a way that if you are blessed to have a long life you will be able to say, “I finished well!”
Here are 5 regrets that are completely preventable.
- “I wish I had taken better care of my health.” Once your health is gone, it may be difficult or impossible to get it back. Breaking a bad habit is hard work. But I’ve never heard anyone say, “I wish I had kept on smoking,” or “I regret losing my extra weight.” You may think your unhealthy lifestyle won’t catch up with you, but it will. Your investment in breaking an addiction, eating healthy, or physical exercise will never be wasted.
- “I wish I was closer to my family and friends.” People closest to you are the most important resource you can never replace. Children only grow up once. A marriage untended may not be able to recover. Once parents are gone, they’re gone. Friendships can end. Who do you want around you at the end of your life? Invest your best energies in those relationships. Forgive or make amends if you need to, but don’t neglect people.
- “I wish I had risked learning or doing that.” A travel adventure, a specific education, a business venture, a creative task – there will come a day when it will truly be too late. Nobody looks back and says, “I regret trying.” The surest way to failure is not risking. Be thoughtful. Count the cost as best you can. But step out there and do the things you know you will regret not attempting.
- “I wish I had something to leave for those coming after me.” Sure, leaving a financial legacy is nice. But other things are much more important. Your character and your example are likely to be remembered much longer than your money. What skill or knowledge do you have that you can pass on to someone younger? What ministry, business, or mission can you invest yourself in that will continue to bless others after you’re gone?
- “I wish I had been a better follower of Jesus.” Eternity is a very, very long time. None of us is without the need for God’s forgiveness, and it’s never too late – or too early – to ask Him for it. He will welcome you at any time you turn to Him. But how many other regrets might be prevented if you follow Him all along the way? Like, right now? Your character, your eternal destiny, and your legacy – how great to leave this world knowing God has those things in His care.
Paul had no regrets: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7,8
Here are a few more resources:
- Psalm 71:9 “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails.”
- Isaiah 46:4 “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
- The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, by Bronnie Ware
- Dr Carol’s post: A Bucket List for Christians
Your Turn: Do you have any regrets now? Are there any changes you want to make in order to finish without further regrets? Leave a comment below.
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