We have been in Tennessee this week. Before we left I made arrangements to change our monthly Writers Group meeting. I put it in the paper that we'd be meeting a week later than normal. I saw a couple of group members during the week and checked with them to see if it would work. I made a mental note to call Betty because she had offered to bring refreshments on May 2.
I told myself several times that I needed to call her so she didn't waste time making something for our meeting.
You can probably guess what happened. I was visiting with my parents on Tuesday night and got a phone call at about 8 p.m. I jumped up and answered it to hear Betty asking if we had Writers Group that night.
My heart sank as I explained that we were postponing until next week and I had forgotten to contact her. I apologized all over myself and asked her to forgive me. I'm sure I rambled on for way too long about how sorry I was. She reminded me that she wouldn't be able to come next week because of another commitment she had. We hung up and I kicked myself all the way back to the couch, feeling terrible.
I forgot about it until the next day when I was taking a walk. All of a sudden I remembered my mistake and a wave of regret washed over me. I had to make a conscious decision to let it go.
I didn't deliberately neglect to call my friend. I said I was sorry. I determined to write a big note in the future so I don't forget to make important phone calls.
It would do no one any good to keep beating myself up over my mistake. I'm sure Betty wasn't too happy with me on Tuesday evening, but if I know her, she got over it quickly and moved on.
I guess I am improving in this area. In the past I might have cried and let my mistake ruin way too many hours of my life. Now I can look at it more objectively and move on.
We have to learn to do this so that we can live happy, fulfilling lives.
This was a minor error that inconvenienced someone. What about more serious mistakes that cost us or someone else lots of money? What happens when a mistake we make leads to someone's injury or death? Are we supposed to hang onto those situations and never forgive ourselves and move on? Will that do us any good?
No. It doesn't do anyone any good. Of course, we apologize. We make restitution if possible and we learn from our mistakes so that we don't commit the same errors in the future.
After all of that, we let it go. We accept God's forgiveness, forgive ourselves, and move forward in faith.
We're human, so we're going to have lots of opportunities to practice the skill of letting things go.
"...one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal...." (Philippians 3:13b-14a NIV)
Do you hold onto regrets? How can focusing on God help you to let things go and move forward with more joy and faith?