I came across this Jonathon Edward’s resolution in a book I am reading, and it gave me pause and direction to consider how I spend my time, my life.
Will I look back in regret on my life, wishing I had put my limited energy to other endeavors?
Here is what I have decided.
I will never regret the time I spend communing with God. I will never regret times of prayer and reading the Word. I won’t regret mornings of coming before God with praise and petition and worship. I won’t regret times of confession, repentance and asking for direction. One thing I have learned about this chronic pain life is that it often gives us ample, uninterrupted time alone. And in that isolation, I will never regret the times I used it to know God and be known in return.
I will never regret the time I spend investing in people. I won’t regret the times I schedule for meeting friends and talking to family on the phone. I won’t regret putting my limited energy towards conversations with people I love or listening to my client’s speak about their lives. I won’t regret putting other seemingly necessary tasks to the side. Dishes and laundry and cleaning the bathroom can wait; it is people who will be worth it in the end.
I will never regret the time I spend maintaining and giving life to my physical body. When you have chronic pain, so much time is spent simply maintaining a broken body. But I realize I won’t regret this effort. I won’t regret the time I spend resting, pacing myself, or saying no to things my body cannot handle. I won’t regret the time spent on exercising, walking, and cooking nourishing foods. I won’t regret doing all of these necessary things that can seem like such a waste of time, but in the end allow me to be more faithful with what I have been given.
I will never regret the time I spend giving and serving. It is those times of maintaining my body that allow me to give and serve. And I won’t regret the effort I put into counseling at my jobs or serving in small ways I am able. I won’t regret putting my limited energy towards making a meal for a friend or visiting someone who needs company. I won’t regret time spent investing in the online chronic pain community or finding creative ways to serve from my couch.
I will never regret the time I spend learning and growing. I won’t regret the times spent reading, studying, and contemplating. I won’t regret learning about theology, counseling, social issues, or this world. I won’t regret the lists and bullet points and outlines of subjects that are near and dear to my heart. Time spent learning and growing is always time well spent.
What will I regret?
It is mainly this that comes to mind: I will regret those times of guilt when I felt like I should be doing something that I was physically unable to do. I will regret those times when I lived not in the moment, but in a place far far away, inaccessible to me and the life I was given. I will regret those times when I wished so hard for life to be a different way, that it took away my ability to live the life I had.
Those are the moments I will regret. Those times when I could neither rest nor work, but lived in a state of restlessness. Those time when I neither took care of my body nor invested in other people, because I pushed myself beyond my limits. Those times when I was too busy thinking about what was not and what I couldn’t have, that I never took hold of the good things right in front of me.
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