When I die, I don’t want the words “he was a good man” said at my funeral. Not that nor any derivation thereof.
In some of the deeper quandaries I’ve been dealing with lately, a seems to recur: “I don’t want to regret this decision”.
I thought this was a reasonable and good goal in the decision, and indeed it is in this particular decision. But is it even a possible option?
Can I make a decision with consequences as deep as this and even hope I won’t have regrets?
The decision will require a significant change in not just my life, but that of my family. A different future for my children.
Even if I make the right decision, won’t there be times when I look back and regret even just a little?
When I wrote Warm Weather I may not have explicitly said so, but I do miss many parts of my old home and old way of life. It can be reasonably said that I have some slight regrets over leaving my old life. But strong enough that I wish to return? No. Not at all.
So what of life? Is it wise to live life trying to have no regrets as we look back at it?
First there is the opinion: That is such an unreasonable and unattainable goal it’s worthless to even try for it.
To which a response is: Why does God put before us the goal of being Christ-like, an even more unreasonable and unattainable prize?
And the response to that: To prove to us our own inability to get anywhere near His goal and therefore our need to follow him.
Due to the faultiness in our nature, our propensity to sin, we will face failure and accompanying regret, and we will make decisions and wish to make them over again and regret.
It is pointless, in the sense of Ecclesiasties, to attempt to live our lives without regret.
But does that make it wrong to try?
If failing is to be an assured result of trying, we should consider what it is we are trying. Is failure worth the effort?
I think the better goal is to try to live life to the glory of God.
When our focus is on bringing glory to God, we are freed from the navel-gazing, the deep and continuous “real-time” introspection and second-guessing which would rob us of the freedom to act on God’s prompting and in His moment.
When we are trying to prevent any regrets we either get tied down with the weight of ultimate decision for so many otherwise small considerations and spend each moment second-guessing our current actions.
There are two specific benefits to living, not to mitigate regret, but to maximize God’s glory.
God’s glory is a long term goal, longer than our life, or our childrens lives.
It has been said we ought to plant trees for our childrens’ children. We ought to live our lives so that there is a legacy, but not for our own glory or honor. We’ll be dead and not benefitting from any laud our legacy brings. We ought to plant those trees of legacy for God’s glory in our successive generations.
God’s glory is a goal outside ourselves.
In health class we took a test which purported to determine our “locus of control”. Where we thought control of our life originated.
I have an almost completely internal locus of control. I believe I am responsible for my life, essentially. I am to blame for troubles in my life and responsible for making those decisions which will lead to success.
For me, the goal of God’s glory is essential to keeping me focused on the really important things in life, everything besides me.
For someone with an external locus of control, someone who is more likely to believe they are a victim or at least a pawn in life, having God as the goal keeps them focused on something which gives them worth and value, and strength and determination.
For those more balanced in their control perspective, they’ve got it all figured out and so they’re cool.
Just kidding. They get to benefit from both the benefits of this perspective.
Will my decisions bring God the greater glory? Will I still be able to bring God glory after I make this decision?
God will bring glory to Himself regardless of our choices, the important thing is whether I choose to bring Him glory, or whether He must bring glory to Himself inspite of us.