If today was the day you died, what would you regret and why?
It’s such a profound, mind blowing question I didn’t literally and openly ask myself each time I meditate about my life. Francis Chan presented this question in his book “Crazy Love” (which was mentioned last Sunday during the church sermon, thanks Dennis) and I find it so amazing to realize how God uses other people to bring light to others. For the past 72 hours I have been quietly mulling over this question, (and again) attempting to find my own answers.
If today was the day I died, what would I regret and why?
I don’t know.
What I know is that I am sure I have regrets and I am sure there are sensible reasons behind those regrets. I’ve got things in my mind and I have this feeling deep inside me which at this moment is somehow incredibly complex to translate using comprehensible human language, something that requires a bit of time and I am certain it will be spontaneously revealed in plain, understandable words (which I’ll definitely share in my next post). And whilst I needed further silence and reflections, I would like to share another related question that came across my mind – and thankfully with clear answers.
If today was the day I died, what would I NOT regret and why?
There are heaps of them but I’ll tell you three things I’m so glad I did/ allowed to happen in my life.
Giving my Best (with the right motivation).
I am not sure whether it was very obvious to my classmates but I am sure I was desperately competitive at a certain stage in my student life. I can still remember that rush of strong “desire to excel” circulating within my veins, my heart pumping that aggressive blood with one aim: to prove that I was the “best”. I got what I wanted (for most of the time). But I wasn’t happy. I was so stressed out, tired and felt like I was so pathetic and helplessly caught in an endless pursuit of keeping up, reaching the top and becoming better than others while being confused why I have to be in that state. And during those times when I did not achieve what I wanted, I was struggling to understand why my best seems not good enough.
After an arduous process of contemplation, I received wisdom from the Lord that I was keeping in my heart wrong motivations. I realized I didn’t “have to compete” and “prove” to others that I was better than them. What God wanted me to do was give my best out of a humble desire to use the abilities he has given me and ultimately glorify His name. When I did that – doing my very best in everything I do as a response to a holy God who has given me more than the best things in the world (His love through the death and resurrection of his son Jesus Christ) – I began to experience such measure of redemptive peace and serenity. And once again I saw myself as whole, never needing to live in that deception that I have to be the best in the eyes of the world for me to be complete.
Giving my best with the right motivation made me see wondrous things I know wouldn’t be able to witness if God didn’t give me that wisdom. And I’m so glad I allowed God to create that change in me.
There were moments in my life when I look back and go over the experiences I had growing up as a kid. My story as a child isn’t one of those abandonment, rejection and starvation of love from parents. However, there were things I felt like I “miss” and there were hurts I thought weren’t necessary (I’m sorry I can’t give you too much details. It’s just a bit sensitive and I prefer to speak in general terms). And then I came to the point of becoming an adult filled with sadness, somewhat blaming myself and others including my parents for letting those “missed things” and “unnecessary hurts” happen to me.
And then I asked myself “What can you do?”
It took me a while to arrive with the answer that freed me from the chain of bitterness and resentment. The answer led me to do two things. One, forgive “others including my parents”. I am always convinced that my parents love me with all their heart and they dream nothing but a wonderful life for me. But there’s this inescapable reality that they are humans and they can’t make me impenetrable from hurts and disappointments of this world and whilst they are giving their best to be good parents they will always be imperfect. With these realizations, God gave me the wisdom to focus on the love that “others including my parents” has shown to me, on the things I did NOT miss, on the joys and happy memories which are worth keeping than those hurts, on the beauty of seeing myself as a magnificent creation who went through pain yet emerging victorious and much better than ever before.
The second thing I had to do was forgive myself. I didn’t think there’s such thing as “forgiving one’s self”. But yes there is. I had to forgive myself by understanding that when I was a child I couldn’t realize that there are things that I could miss and there are hurts that I don’t have to endure and that letting those things happen was beyond my control and that’s okay because I don’t have to live in the past and I have a life right now which gives me the chance to have a taste of the healing love of God.
Forgiveness is not just saying “I’m sorry” and wishing things didn’t happen. It’s more than trying to forget what others have done to hurt you. It is the acceptance of the reality of what happened and reconciling such reality with the healing power of love.
When I forgave “others and including my parents” and myself, I knew I did what is right and it’s something I won’t regret for the rest of my life.
Repenting, accepting Jesus Christ as my savoir and making him as my master – this is the reason why I call my life “life”. Embracing the faith that God brought salvation in my life through the cross is the ultimate “thing-I’ll-never-regret”. I am what I am because of Him who saved me from the grim consequences of sin and gave me a new life of divine purpose and meaning. The awesomeness I have experienced after I decided to surrender my life to Christ is indescribable… beyond words… more than what I feel with all the achievements I had in my life summed up together.
I have encountered many people who ask me why I believe in God. I believe in God because I have experienced Him in my life and He has done some many things to make me feel that He is real.
Thank you for taking time to read this post until these last few lines. There is one more thing I’d like to tell you.
When you decide to truly surrender your life to God by asking forgiveness from your sins and committing to live your life under His direction and love, you’ll never ever regret it.
And I am saying this because that’s what happened to me.