A benefit of aging is often an increased amount of time to slow down and think. Though my life is full, I am fortunate to still have control over how much quiet time I have and how I use it. In that space, certain things stand out as worthy of thought. One of those is “bucket lists”, about which I’ve already written. So I now suggest what could be its cousin – our list of regrets.
I see a common theme emerging as I address issues common to those entering and in their fourth quarter. It is the concept or principle of intentionality. We are accustomed to television and movies promoting the normalcy of life ending with regrets. Could we instead, be intentional about coming to the end of our lives with few to no regrets?
I believe that if we are to finish our lives well, we must first know God’s call on our lives and then focus on what is of true importance. If, in every other stage of life, we have taken care of our most vital responsibilities, isn’t it equally as important to attend to our priorities in these later years?
Facing Potential Regrets
I encourage you to face with courage and intentionality, what could become a regret if ignored. Here are a few suggestions to consider for your “Regret List”:
- Relationships with unresolved issues.
- Time not spent with people you love.
- Forgiveness not extended toward someone who’s hurt you.
- Apologies not appropriately made.
- Debts never repaid.
- Borrowed items not returned.
- Unnecessary hardships created for loved ones.
As you consider these and other categories of potential regret, it’s helpful to view them as if you knew your life would soon be ending. Yes, our willingness to resolve issues like these will involve difficult and uncomfortable conversations. They will also require self-awareness and humility. Sadly, because of these challenges, many choose to ignore such issues.
Encouragement to Conquer Regrets
We at Q4 seek to encourage those approaching and in their 4th quarter of life to exercise wisdom. To live in a way that models the truth and freedom that comes from obedience to God’s Word. Hebrews 12:14 says, “Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life” (NLT). Romans 12:18 also says, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone” (NLT).
What I am suggesting DOES take work and intentional action. It is not always easy, nor is there any guarantee the results will always be what we desire. Yet Scripture encourages that as we obediently and intentionally seek the peace of God in every relationship and situation, He WILL be with us (2 Thessalonians 3:16). As with many of our topics, acting to limit our regrets is a call to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23, paraphrase).
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to face your final days with few to no regrets? Exercises such as this are not easy. But they ARE wise if we desire to build a strong fourth quarter of our lives.
Will you make your list of regrets today? As the years pass, you’ll be glad you did.