Living with No Regrets
Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
I’ve met those who claim to have no regrets. I’m skeptical. Either they have lived much better lives than me – which is possible – or else they’re just not being completely honest. I have regrets. I’ve hurt others in ways that I wish I could take back. God has done a tremendous work in me through my addiction, but in my addiction, I also engaged in behaviors that were profoundly hurtful to those I love most.
Looking back, it’s easy to see where I went wrong. I simply indulged more and more in my will. I didn’t start out abusing pills. I just set out doing what I wanted to do . . . in everything. When my appetite turned to pills, the practiced behavior of doing whatever I wanted assumed control. It took my addiction to make me see what a disaster my way is. In that disaster, I learned regret. I don’t want to return to that misery ever again.
So, how will things be different in the future? How do I live without regret? This was the question I put to God, back in the calamity. His answer was simply to make an honest effort to daily pursue him. This is also Jesus’ message in today’s passage. Put me first. Your way leads to disaster. If you want to know true life, abandon yourself and follow me above all (my paraphrase).
What does this mean? Must I quit my job and live in a monastery? Seeking God may mean radical changes, but it may also mean that I simply learn to follow him while I continue my current job. I often divide life into the spiritual and secular, but I can learn to follow Christ in everyday life.
When I get up in the morning, as I’m getting ready, I can pray. When I’m exercising, I can meditate. When I’m at work, I can seek opportunities to share what Christ has done for me. When I’m eating, I can do it in such a way that I won’t feel remorse about my choices tomorrow. When I pursue my way in all things, I make regretful choices. I don’t do it perfectly – and I won’t in this life – but daily, if I want to live with no regrets, I must work at putting God above all.