The “What Ifs” and “Should Haves” Will Eat Your Brain

Image Credit: Credit: We Heart It

Image Credit:
Credit: We Heart It

#FWF Free Write Friday: Quote Prompt

Image Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Image Credit:
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Just as Splenda and Aspartame can cause all sorts of health problems, including brain tumors, migraines and seizures, to list just a few, so too, will constant worries about the “What ifs” and “Should haves” in life, eat away at your brain, your heart and your soul… I don’t know about you, but too many times in my life, I’ve been consumed with guilt and bitter regret about the things that I should have done and could have done, but didn’t do, for whatever reason. Have you been there too?

Sadly, for many of us, we waste much of our lives replaying our past mistakes over and over again in the dvd of our mind’s eye, often unable to move forward and overcome those past errors in life. And here’s the sad thing… We spend so much time living with regret, that it can hinder us from growing beyond those mistakes in life. Is this God’s will for us? Of course it isn’t. I love the Apostle Paul’s outlook on his past failures…

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

15 Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.

~ Philippians 3:12-16 — NLT ~

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Think about it… The Apostle Paul was one of the greatest servants of Christ, and yet, before he began to serve Jesus, he persecuted the church — even going so far as to participate in the murders of Christians. I think if anyone would be consumed and tormented by guilt and regret, it might be Paul, and yet, Jesus, the very One whom he had persecuted, forgave Paul and called him to minister for Him. If Paul had been unable to get past his own past, he would not have been an effective minister of the gospel of Christ…

That’s why he said that he had to forget those things that were behind him and look forward, pressing past the regret, past the pain and anguish of his past, past the guilt and the shame, so that he could reach the mark… My friends, what has God called you to do? And what hinders you? Do the “What ifs” and the “Should haves” stifle you? Do they keep you from being all that you could be… all that you’re called to be? Do they hinder you from being the person you were created to be? 
If so, ask yourself these questions…
  • Have you repented of the past sin(s) that now torment you?
    • God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now He commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to Him. ~ Acts 17:31 — NLT ~
    • But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. ~ 1 John 1:9 — NLT ~
  • Do you believe that God has the power to forgive you, cleanse you from your sins, and use you for His glory?
    • “Come now,” says Adonai, “let’s talk this over together. Even  if your sins are like scarlet, they will be white as  snow; even if they are red as crimson, they will be like  wool.” ~ Isaiah 1:18 — CJB ~
    • 18 “Stop dwelling on past events and brooding over times gone by; 19 I am doing something new; it’s springing up — can’t you see it? I am making a road in the desert, rivers in the wasteland. 20 The wild animals will honor Me, the jackals and the ostriches; because I put water in the desert, rivers in the wasteland, for My chosen people to drink, 21 the people I formed for Myself, so that they would proclaim My praise.” ~ Isaiah 43:18-21 — CJB ~
Image Credit: Troy Knechtel

Image Credit:
Troy Knechtel

If you have sinned in the past (and we all have), but you have confessed your sins, repented and asked for forgiveness, then how can you continue to condemn yourself with the “What ifs” and “Should haves”? Surely you are not more righteous than He is, are you? Therefore, if He deems you worthy of forgiveness, and you deem yourself unworthy of it, you are in essence, calling God a liar, and negating the work that Christ did on the cross for you and me. In fact, as long as you maintain this attitude, you are hindering God from accomplishing all that He would like to accomplish in you and through you…

My beloved readers, it is my prayer that if you are tormented by the “What ifs” and “Should haves” in life, that you will allow the Almighty One to deliver you once and for all. Otherwise, according to John O’Callaghan, “the “What Ifs” and “Should Haves” will eat your brain”. 
My friends, to avoid this unfortunate state, you must…
    • Repent and confess your sins to God, accepting His forgiveness and His mercy as He cleanses you from all unrighteousness…
    • Don’t dwell on your past errors…
      • Learn whatever lessons need to be learned from them…
      • Then forgetting those things that lie behind you, look forward to what the Lord has called you to do, and press on toward His call…
    • Accept God’s mercy and forgiveness with thanksgiving, refusing to let regret hinder you from all that God has called you to do…

In closing, I leave you with one final thought to bless you… If you are a child of the Most High God, saved by His grace, and the life, death and resurrection of His only Son, Jesus, then hold fast to these words…

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. ~ Romans 8:1 — NKJV ~
© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

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