What if your best life is still waiting for you to embrace it? The Bible gives us clear direction on how to let go of regret and experience resurrection life. God wants to turn your “if only” regrets into “what if” possibilities. In today’s post, Heidi McLaughlin shares how we can embrace all that Jesus wants to give us so we can live freely, lightly and with joy.
On a recent episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, we talked with guest, Heidi McLaughlin, who through tragic experiences learned how to recapture her JOY. If you missed that episode, you can listen here [Discovering Joy in the Midst of Hard Times – Episode 112]. We all need more joy right now, don’t we? That’s why I’ve asked Heidi to share more of her insights with us here.
Read to the end for a 2-book giveaway!
How To Let Go of Regret to Move from “IF ONLY” regrets to “WHAT IF” Possibilities
By Heidi McLaughlin
Our “if only” regrets will haunt us, keep us prisoners, possibly make us sick and rob us from living our full potential and experiencing joy. We all have regrets. As I follow the lives of people who take a Grief Share course that I help to facilitate, I see this played out before my eyes. When people we love pass into their eternal home, by natural death or suicide, we always feel we could have done something to stop it. When a husband walks out, our child makes wrong choices, a business goes bankrupt or something goes off the rails, we look back and see how we could have done it differently. We beat ourselves up. Why didn’t we do it differently?
We can’t change the past but we can move forward.
Jesus does not want us locked into our “if only’s.” Jesus came to give us resurrection life, not just meant for eternity, but right now. To live fully, with hearts open wide for all that He has for us to experience and enjoy. But we can’t do that if we hang onto our regrets. How do we let go of regret?
In the familiar story of Lazarus where he died because Jesus showed up 4 days too late, the Bible gives us clear direction how to let go of regret and experience resurrection life.
- “Where have you laid him (Lazarus)?” (John 11:34). Jesus wants to know your regret. What is dead in your life? What anxiety, shame, depression, doubt or fear have you hidden away in the depth of the soul where you thought it would be nice and safe? Jesus wants to know where you’ve hidden it and what it looks like.
- “Take away the stone.” (John 11:39) What you’ve kept secret is not lost and hopeless. Jesus wants to reach into the depth of your stench, ugliness or deadness. He wants nothing to block the intimacy and flow of love in your relationship with Him. Whatever “if only” is hidden away, you have to face it, name it, give it to Jesus and move forward into your new resurrection life.
Jesus doesn’t want us walking around in our grave clothes.
Jesus had to die to give us resurrection life. In order for us to have this enriched life and not walk around in grave clothes, we have to surrender our regrets and embrace all that Jesus wants to give us. To live freely, lightly and with joy.
What if God is the God of second chances and wants to turn your “if only” regrets into “what if” possibilities? What if you roll the stone away and your greatest joy is behind that barrier? What if everything you believed about your situation is a lie and God is waiting to reveal His truth?
What if your best life is still waiting for you to embrace it?
Letting go of secret shame, regrets or guilt is not easy. Jesus died so that we could give all our “if only’s” to him and live a fully alive, resurrection life. What do you need to give to Jesus today? Putting it off is only prolonging your pain. May God give you the strength to roll the stone away.
What “if only” regrets do you need to give Jesus? We’d love to hear in the comments below.
About Heidi McLaughlin
Heidi McLaughlin’s passion is contagious as she inspires her audiences to grasp the truth that there is nothing more beautiful than a woman who knows she is loved. Heidi speaks all over North America and overseas and is an award-winning author. She has written several books, Study Guides and hundreds of articles and blogs. Her upcoming book is called FRESH JOY!
Heidi has been widowed twice and is the mom and step-mom of a blended family of 5 children and 12 grandchildren. Heidi has experienced much tragedy but has learned how to recapture her JOY.
Stay connected with Heidi: Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest
2 Book Giveaway!
In conjunction with this post and the podcast interview Discovering Joy in the Midst of Hard Times – Episode 112, Heidi McLaughlin is giving away two free copies of her book, Fresh Joy: Finding Joy in the Midst of Loss, Hardship, and Suffering.
Leave a comment below sharing with us one thing you learned about letting go of regret and you will be entered into the contest for your chance to win one of 2 copies of her book.
You could also share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter then comment here to tell us where you shared it and you’ll also be entered into the drawing.
The winner will be selected at random and announced next Monday, June 14, 2021, here on this post. Continental United States only.
How I NEEDED to read this message today!–“What if everything you believed about your situation is a lie and God is waiting to reveal His truth?”! Due to a situation that happened TO ME, and my beliefs about myself and everything else related to that situation, I have been bound up in the graveclothes of depression FOR OVER A DECADE. (Isn’t that exactly how satan works–uses situations that are deeply personal and linked to our insecurities and wounds, to make what happened to us A TRUTH, a validation of all our fears?!) I have been tucked away into a very dark place of grief, BELIEVING my best days are behind me, and that I am all alone, even though loved ones and others have tried their best to convince me otherwise. It had become extremely difficult for me to even listen to anything about God, or to hope, because I had been so long in that tomb, that I felt abandoned by Him. It has been as if MY THOUGHTS AND BELIEFS have KEPT that stone firmly LOCKED in place, blocking the way to the LIGHT, DESPITE anyone’s attempts to try to budge it open to help me. YOUR MESSAGE was like a lever that pried that massive stone up out of that rut, that groove, that it surely sat in all these years defining the boundary of the dead tomb, from the living outside, and rolled that stone away just a crack to let the light in and give me a fingerhold on it to peek outside–it woke me up out of my stupor just enough, for me to BEGIN to hope–to question, “What IF everything I BELIEVE about my situation IS a LIE?! What IF God HASN’T left me, but is waiting on the other side of that stone CALLING me to get up and come OUT of that dark tomb, so that my graveclothes that have had me bound for so long can be removed?”! I do wonder what His truth is, but for THIS moment, it is enough that I am questioning, “What if everything I believed about my situation is a lie?”. Thank you SO MUCH for this much needed message of HOPE. You’ll never know how timely it was to read it today.
Wearing graveclothes … what an incredible picture! I often came back to wearing my graveclothes when I thought about many regrets happening in my life. Yet Heidi’s message reminded me I had to let those go and relied in Jesus.
Bless you Tammy for your vulnerable and honest comments. My heart is full as I read your words that will give you new hope. Yes, “WHAT IF”…the enemy is using your pain as a lie to keep you stuck. May God heal you, empower you and give you a strong voice to rise up an take hold of the new possibilities.
It has been a process learning to release my parenting mistakes and the guilt and shame of having a son in rehab for alcoholism.
Oh Cheryl, that must be so hard, I am so sorry for both you and your son. But something I had to tell myself to let go of shame was: “I did the very best I could with what I knew at the time.” The enemy uses our pain and shame to keep us stuck, BUT GOD wants you to move forward into new possibilities. May God help you and give you the power to let go of regrets that keep you tied up. May your best days be ahead of you. God bless. heidi
This is such a powerful post, Heidi and Michelle. While I know you were directing this post to individuals, I feel as though the Church has been wearing graveclothes and as a body, we also need to step into resurrected living. Tweeted and Pinned. 🙂
Thank you Tammy, I agree. I think the grave clothes come upon us so subtly and slowly and we often don’t even recognize it. May God help us all, to open the yes of our understanding and enlighten our hearts to embrace all that God wants us to know and have. The enemy is blinding us and we don’t even know it. Thank you for reading my blog and commenting, I value that. Heidi
I too share the pain of having “what ifs” that are binding me and keeping me from finding the joy and peace I seek. I’ve been praying for God’s will and to be able to be closer to my grandchildren for the past 5 years, but it seems I’m stuck. God knows my heart’s desire and I must trust Him to leave my longings and despair and look forward to His Resurrection Life to bring me His best.
Thank you hp7285katgmail for your comments. Those ugly “what ifs” stop us from embracing what God wants us to have and enjoy. It takes a bold step of courage and faith to declare that you will now be entering into your best days, resurrection life days, and the enemy no longer has any control over your “whats ifs.” May God give you the courage and anticipated joy of moving forward. God be with you and bless you. Heidi
I was so very blessed by the podcast and this blog message. I realized many years ago that my childhood and the regrets I had with my depressed mom all those years had me bound. Early in my Christian walk I attended a Women’s Bible Study that truly opened my heart to forgiveness and not allowing the ‘If Only’ times of my life to hold me back, tied, stopped, stuck, in my journey with the Lord. Both the podcast and the blog brought it all back to remembrance so I can rejoice that I am not bound anymore. I have already shared this on Facebook and would love to have one of Heidi’s books.
Karen, this is a wonderful comment, thank you so much for sharing it. I am DELIGHTED that you can now rejoice that you’re no longer bound. How wonderful…praise God. May joy abound. Blessings, Heidi
So much beautiful wisdom here. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you Mary for reading my blog and entering into my raw story. May God give you nuggets that will help you to live with more JOY and resurrection life. God be with you. Heidi
There is much encouragement in this post for everyone and applicable to many circumstances. “If only” situations can hang on for longer than we think they do; and I’m so grateful the Lord makes freedom possible. Thank you both for sharing your wisdom!
Joanne thank you so much for reading the blog and I am glad it encouraged you. May God continue to give you courage to move into your resurrection life in every way and give you fresh joy. God bless you, Heidi
Letting go of “if only” often means letting go of anger and unforgiveness. I speak from experience.
I also re-tweeted one of the comments.
Edwina how wonderful that you came on to read the blog and comment. Thank you that you also re-tweeted. Yes, I believe you do understand but “if only.” God bless you. Heidi