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It has been said, “Our lives are defined by opportunities, including the ones we miss. Let us not weep over chances we have missed, but rather for the ones we did not take.” When I look back over my life, I can see where I’ve made plenty of mistakes and I’ve also missed out on some wonderful opportunities. Maybe you are saying the same thing. If so, I encourage you to resist the temptation to live in regret. Humans are fallible creatures and we all make wrong choices, but hopefully through our failures and disappointments we can learn more about ourselves and that is a good thing. James Joyce is quoted as saying, “mistakes are the portals of discovery” and there is no doubt they can be a significant part of our personal development process. I realize that keeping our head in the sand is much easier than facing the truth or forgiving ourself, but repentance is a more worthwhile endeavor than living with the overwhelming feelings of guilt and condemnation. We can either embrace the inclination to allow negative thoughts to haunt us and keep us subdued with sadness or we can resist this emotional torture by calling on the Lord to heal our heart and renew our mind. God’s plans and ways are bigger than our mistakes and lost opportunities. He is not only ready to forgive and restore us, He can fill our life with confidence, hope, and victory!

It’s common when suffering from disappointment and regret, to be reminded of the ones we secretly blame for our failures. However, as the water is long gone under the bridge, it’s time to turn loose of the grudges and stop replaying the scenarios of what could have been. You’ve suffered enough! Walking around in this negative and stressful state of mind can lead to depression, anxiety, and even physical health problems. It would be wise to make a list of those we need to forgive and sincerely ask God to help us while making sure our name is at the top. You see, bitterness and resentment can hold us in a spiritual and mental prison, but sincerely giving it over to God is the key that opens the door to freedom. We are the only one that can choose to put an end to us living in the misery of an unchangeable past. Alice Walker is quoted as saying, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they do not have any.” The Bible refers to the devil as the accuser of the brethren and he is constantly trying to flood our mind with negative and damaging persuasions. Some individuals may try to pretend their past never happened or that maybe these memories will all just go away which sounds nice, but running away from reality is not the answer. Denial is living in agony, but being honest with God and ourselves is always the pathway to peace.

In Philippians chapter 3 the Apostle Paul says, “This one thing I do; forgetting those things which are behind, I reach forth to the things which are before me.” He is encouraging us to not only concentrate on the present, but to also look to the future and be sensitive to new opportunities. We have a tendency to deal with our problems our own way, however God wants to help us deal with this once and for all. Let go and allow Him to give you a brand-new start as He’s ready to fulfill the dreams and desires He’s placed in your heart. He loves us and longs to forgive us and to either reinstate our dreams that seem to be lost forever or He can create new opportunities in ways we could never imagine. I believe our Heavenly Father desires to restore the years that you’ve lost and give you a fresh zeal so that you can fulfill your destiny. Being positive and optimistic about your future is a deliberate decision. Will you sincerely believe you are forgiven and accept the spiritual reality that you are worthy of His love? We know that nothing is impossible with God and His Word cannot fail. Psalm 103:11-12 is a wonderful promise about being forgiven and is filled with hope for all eternity. “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Dr. Holland lives is a Christian minister, author, and community outreach chaplain. To read more articles and stories or to request a free copy of his new CD at: billyhollandministries.com