The other day, I went out into my back yard and there, going up the step in the mix of some boring weeds, I saw the most brilliantly colored flower. Nothing has ever grown there before and I wondered what it was doing there now! It was so simple and beautiful and thought surely is was sent to grow there to give me a message.
So, I wondered what kind of message it could be? Let me give you some back-story... I feel closest to God when I am out amongst nature. I feel He is near me and I am more open to hearing his messages. The breeze suddenly feels like a caress. The birds sound like a choir. The colors seem so intense that I feel like I disappear. I don't feel this way every time I go outside, but I know that if I am troubled, that's where I meet Him. And he will comfort me. He will ease my pain. He will scold me. He will give me direction. Not that He whispers to me or anything... I've asked repeatedly for Him to send me a text message, but He must not like that option for me... Any-hoo.... So I feel this random flower was "sent" to tell me something.
Maybe, to look for the rose among the thorns? That would be the obvious choice. And sometimes I do need to be reminded of that. I can get pretty crabby some days and only see things that just irritate the tar out of me and only witness the annoying things about people, but sometimes, hidden underneath the perceived "annoying" there is something truly beautiful there just waiting to be noticed. It was there all along. I just needed an attitude adjustment to see it.
Or maybe, it was stop and smell the roses? Again with the roses? The point being that sometimes I get so busy and forget to notice the small things that make me happy. The little things that remind me why I work so hard. A sunset. The smile from one of my kids or grandkids. An ice-cream sandwich. I am pretty busy... I do work a lot and forget to watch the sun set...
How about, God has it under control? He took the time to create this beautiful, perfectly made flower and bring it to my attention. He's got the whole world in His hands. My troubles are nothing compared to his power and compassion. No problem is too big or too small to take to Him.
But no... none (or all) of those. Because as I was working all day, the next chance I got to go outside and check on my pretty little surprise, it was gone. Orange petals had fallen to the concrete and the center hung low. My conclusion was that the lesson must be: Nothing is promised. You don't know how long you have to appreciate the things and the people around you. Your world could change in an instant.
Yes, that must be it. The flower was here, and when I thought I could appreciate it another day, it was gone. So I pass this lesson on to you. Love those around you. Never let them doubt for one minute that they are important to you. Stop and smell the roses. Enjoy the sunsets. Kiss the babies. Take nothing for granted. The very breath you breathe is not promised. Make sure you use every one as if it was your last. Let no words of ill-will be said to those you love. Always be the best person you can be from one minute to the next. Life is short. Too short.
Forgive. Be thankful. Be kind. Show love. You don't know what you've got till it's gone. Don't live a life of regret. Live every day to the fullest. And even if your day consists of having to go to work, or another day of boring mundane activities, do your best to find the joy in every day. There's a reason you are, where you are doing what you're doing. So when you go to bed at night, before you drift off to sleep, take a moment to be thankful for all the good things in your life. :)
Your blog post today is a product of the magical, distracting power of Disney. I've been trying to work on helping you to let go of your past troubles so they don't weigh down your future. And Disney's Frozen song keeps running through my head, "Let It Go." Excellent advice. "... the past is in the past..." While I will try to keep my singing to a minimum, there is some important and valuable keys to be learned here.
We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. We have all made painful decisions that we wish we hadn't. No one is free from that. No one. I wish I could take the pain away that is associated with your past, the fact is that it happened that way for a reason. You hopefully learned something; grew from your mistakes, and if that's the case- Good for you. Because you have learned to make your stumbling block your stepping stone. You are who you are today, because of the things in your past- good or bad.
But for the others who are carrying around guilt, self-loathing, bitterness and anger, I am here to say let it go. You are dragging your past into your future where it was not meant to be. There is nothing so big that you cannot be forgiven for (Acts 10:43), but the one you need forgiveness from in most cases is yourself. Let it go...
Your brain is a powerful thing. It obeys what you tell it to do. When you put it on auto-pilot, it can dredge up some painful images and show them to you over and over again allowing them to tell yourself things that just aren't true. "You weren't good enough for her." "You aren't smart enough to get into that college." "You deserve to unhappy." "You have done some bad, bad things." Every time you replay those images, they get a little bit stronger. They take over a little more of your thought process. Your brain is SO amazing that not only will it display those images, but it can cause you to evoke the emotions that go right along with it. So if you think on it, real hard, it's like the same painful thing is happening again, right now, making those memories and wounds fresh again.
Is that really where you want to be? Do you really want to punish yourself over and over again for something that you can do absolutely nothing about? You can't change the past. You can't un-do anything that has already happened. But you can make choices for your future. Did you know that your brain will also do what you tell it to do? You don't have to be at the mercy of your memories. When those thoughts come at you, make the conscious effort to change the channel. You don't have to let those memories have control over you. Change the channel.
Quit thinking about it.
Quit talking about it.
Quit replaying the disappointments.
Quit reliving the hurt and the bad choices.
When you can't close the doors on the past, you are practically locking the doors to your future. You know the saying, when one door closes, another will open. Well the new door can't open if you haven't closed the old door! Your future can't truly begin if you're still lugging around the pain from your yesterdays. Change your future by taking control of your thoughts and letting the past stay in the past. Those thoughts WILL come up again, but you have to choose to guard your thoughts. Keep moving forward.
It doesn't matter where you were born. It doesn't matter how you were raised. It doesn't matter if he/she left you. It doesn't matter if you didn't get the job. You are not a victim.
How long are you going to blame outside events for your shortcomings? How long are you going to mourn for your losses? When is it time to turn things around and take on the future that you really and truly want? I'm not dismissing the things that have happened to you. But we have all had things, bad things, happen in our lives that we wish didn't happen. You still have a choice! Let go of the victim mentality. Let go of the bitterness. Let go of the anger, the hate and the anguish. Let go of the ashes so you can see the beauty.
Sometimes not getting what you thought you wanted is the blessing in and of itself. If it was meant to be, then it would be. You are not your past. You can't change your yesterdays, but you do have some input on all of your tomorrows. Use your powerful brain to see where it is that you want to be in your future. See the things that make you happy. Focus on the ones that you love and love you in return.
At some point, we have to decide when to let go. You've done all you can do. Nothing else is going to change for the better. You have to come to terms that it is over and done. We may not ever understand how we came to this point, "but here I stand, in the light of day" and you have to decide to move past it. If you continue to hang on, it will only drag you down. Let it go. Cut off the dead weight and feel the heaviness come off your shoulders. It is not until you acknowledge the end that a new beginning can start. It is where you are unwilling to walk away, that you will be forever stuck. You can't go backwards. You weren't meant to go back. You have a whole new life waiting for you to live it if you will just give it a chance.
Every morning is a clean canvas. A new chance to start over. Unlock the doors to your future. Change the channel. Forgive your past. Let it go.
Forgive those who have hurt you.
Forgive the man that broke your heart.
Forgive the woman that wouldn't give you a chance.
Forgive the boss who passed you over for the promotion.
Forgive the circumstances that led to pain or feelings of unjust.
Forgive. Whether it was something that happened ten minutes ago or ten years ago. Forgive.
This does not mean that your life will be easy. There will be new trials and temptations and painful events that will blindside you, just repeat. Forgive and let it go.
Isaiah 43:18-19 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
Regret- verb: to feel sad, repentant or disappointed over something that has happened or has been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity.
No one makes it through life without regrets. Some can be minor and only bring a minor sting upon its remembrance, but others can feel like a heavy burden being drug around which can effect your present attitude and happiness in your future.
Many regrets come from decisions that we've made that we wish we hadn't but it seems the most painful regrets are the ones in which we chose NOT to do something. We opted to take a safer, risk-free route instead of stepping out of our comfort zone and seeing what would happen.
Let's look first at what we can do with the regrets that we still have hanging around our neck.
-Face your regrets. Really take a moment to look at them. Why is it classified as a regret? Was it a choice you made? Was it something that was out of your control? Something someone else did? Pull all those painful, embarrassing, angry emotions up to the surface.
- Take responsibility for your part. Avoid blaming others when you know ultimately we are rarely ever guilt-free.
-Forgive. Forgive yourself. Forgive anyone else that was involved. Your past is your past. Forgiveness is going to take away those heavy feelings and begin the healing process, which in turn lets you let go.
-Grieve. Now's the time to get all those emotions out and let them go. Sadness, anger, guilt, embarrassment... let them go.
-Learn from them. Let every experience be a learning experience. Don't make the same mistake twice.
"I made decisions that I regret, and took them as a learning experiences... I'm human, not perfect, like anybody else."
- Queen Latifah
And now, on to preventing those regrets of I wish I would have...
-Suffer the pain of discipline or suffer the pain of regret. All growth begins at the end of your comfort zone. Take a risk. You'll never know if you don't try. The hardest part is taking the first step.
-It's better to have a lifetime of experiences and mistakes that helped you grow and hone your skills, rather than an empty lonely heart and a past of empty, un-fulfilled dreams.
-Don't let your past regret dominate your future goals. Reach for your dreams. You may fall short and you may even fail, but you'll never have to say, "I wish I had..." Go after your dreams and don't let anyone discourage you. Listen politely to others. Take the advice you can use, discard the rest. The final decision is yours. You will have no one else to blame if you don't take the chance.
-It's not too late. Start today. You are on the cusp of a brand new year. Take this opportunity to jot down a few goals or just some things you want to concentrate on for the new year. How do you want to improve your mind? Job? Relationships? Finances? How will you choose to give back to others? What new things are you excited about learning? What do you have to do to get started? Take that first step.
"Get correct views of life and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good and when summoned away, to leave without regret."
-Robert E. Lee
The past is a memory. You don't live there anymore. The future is an anticipated thought. All we truly have is this moment. We keep forgetting that because we always look to the future for our happiness and it never gets here. It's always in the future. Pay attention to today. Don't let your life happen without you. Don't look back, into your past, into your memories, and see too many regrets.
Start making your list now, and start on the prep work in between all the holiday shopping, baking, and visiting so you'll be ready when the new year hits and you'll be able to hit the ground running!
Share your progress with me! Get an accountability partner! Get ready to launch an all new no regrets kind of year!!
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