If you received a phone call from your doctor today and were told that you only had one week to live, what would you regret as you looked back over your life?
Would it be…
- Not spending more time with your family?
- Not telling people you love how you feel about them?
- Not starting that hobby you always wanted to start?
- Not watching more sunsets?
- Not going to more school events?
- Not taking more time off?
- Not apologizing to someone?
- Not pursuing your dream?
- Not being more thoughtful and courteous?
- Not laughing more?
- Not saving more money?
- Not spending more money?
- Not pursuing God more?
- Not watching those movies with your spouse?
The truth is, we would all have a list of regrets if we were told we only had one week to live. We would all have a history we wished we could go back and change.
But what if I told you it was possible to rewrite your history and rewrite your regrets? Sound impossible? Sound too good to be true? Well it’s not.
It is true that we can’t go back and change things in the past. But some day, you will look back at this time and it will be a part of your history. Your present will someday be your past. So changing things in the present will change your future history. (Confused yet?) In short…you can rewrite your regrets by living in such a way now that when you look back on this time you won’t regret it.
Somewhere in our heart we know this, but we seem to have a lot of trouble doing it. Why? There are lots of reasons, but I think the main reason is we let the urgent things in life drown out the important things in life. It sounds like this…
- “There will be other band concerts, but not another time to close this deal.”
- “I know they want to go for a walk, but I’ve worked hard all day and I’m tired.”
- “I know my family wants me to go to church, but Sunday’s my only day off.”
- “I should probably apologize, but they know I really didn’t mean it.”
- “Maybe when we retire we can take that trip.”
- “How can I go for a bike ride with them? I’ve got too much to do!”
It’s like that old song, “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin Carpenter. The song talks about a young dad too busy with the urgent things in life to spend time with his child. Consequently, when the dad is old his adult child is too busy to spend time with him. (I feel guilty everytime I hear that song.)
So how can you rewrite your regrets? How can you rewrite you future history? You have to follow Tim McGraw’s advice and “live like you were dying.” Ask yourself the following questions:
- If I were told today that I only had one year to live, what would I do differently?
- If someone at my funeral were telling a story about this particular time in my life, how would I want that story to go?
- Would the decision I’m currently making be considered a plus or a minus to those I leave behind?
- What will make the most lasting impact after I’m gone?
These questions will help you chose the important over the less important. These questions will help you rewrite your future history and thus rewrite your regrets.
On another level…
The idea of rewriting your future history so as to rewrite regret is also an important spiritual concept. The wisest man in the world (Solomon) spoke to this in Ecclesiastes 12:1-7. I encourage you to check it out. It may seem a little depressing at first, but it’s not as depressing as a life of regret.
Think of one thing you could do to rewrite your future history and reduce your regret. Start with that one thing and see what happens. Leave a comment and share what you’re doing.
Copyright © 2015 Bret Legg