Last night stirred up some old memories from my past. Fifteen years old doesn’t seem quite old enough to have a “past,” but trust me, I have a lot of old memories.
I did gymnastics for eight whole years. They say I was good, but that’s not why I did it. I did it because I loved gymnastics, and it was pretty much synonymous with my own name.
But I’ve changed so much since I was eleven.
I had my life all planned out. We’d work hard, my best friend and I would, and go to the Olympics. If that didn’t work out, we would go to college for gymnastics, and become coaches. If not coaches, then judges. And that was that. That was all I knew, and that was where God had me and my priorities at the time.
And then I stopped.
Last night, as I was getting ready to go to said best friend’s competition, I stared at myself in the mirror, comparing my image with the one of baby-faced me in a red and white leotard. And the thought came to me – so much has changed.
But I can think that thought without regrets. Sure, I wish I still had a six-pack, and could do countless push-ups and sit-ups, have backflips at my disposal, and be able to climb a thirty-foot rope without using my legs. (Seriously.) But I don’t regret where I am today.
I have a blog with all of you lovely, vibrant readers, where I can share the amazing things God has taught me.
I can focus on things that matter to me, like writing, and reading, and editing.
I have made wonderful online friends, who fangirl shamelessly share my faith and interests, and are wonderful, encouraging people.
I’ve had time to develop musically and teach myself how to play guitar, piano, ukulele, and how to sing.
I learned how to surf and now fight off bad guys amuse myself with karate.
I’ve fostered so many new passions and interests, and matured so much in my faith.
Things that were once such huge players in my life have become nothing more than occasionally resurfacing memories.
And you know what? I’m good with that.
So many times, we let our pasts take hold of us and let us continue to ask about “what could have been.” That’s not right.
A poem by Robert Frost, called “The Road Not Taken,” talks about this. The speaker is faced with two paths to choose in life, not right and wrong per se, but two choices, and he must go one way or the other.
The last stanza goes like this.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
(Read the full poem here.)
The poem isn’t called “The Road Less Traveled,” but “The Road Not Taken.” It’s about how we will never know what life would be like if we had chosen to do something else.
As much as I love Frost’s poetry, I don’t think our lives should have such a melancholy undertone over “what-ifs.” Of course we’ll never know what things would have been like if we chose a different path. But we needn’t hinge our thinking on that fact.
I’m learning every day to be okay with where God puts me. The choices I’ve made – such as stopping gymnastics, and removing that thing that I let define me – have brought me to where I am today.
I’d like to share something with you.
Your life is not a mistake.
God has a plan for your life, whether you’re eleven or ninety-seven. And whoever you are, know that you are exactly where you need to be. You don’t need to spend so much time dwelling on the fact that you never finished your education, or that you never achieved the high goals you set for yourself, or that you have an apartment rather than a mansion.
It’s okay to not be rich or famous, it’s okay that you never followed the glamourous dreams you thought you wanted, it’s okay, because you are still living the life that God has planned for you.
If you want to go out and try something new, to be bold in your faith, to start fresh, go for it. But don’t look back, because honey, you can’t change what’s happened. You don’t look behind you when you want to move forward.
We all have trials. We all have bad days, bad months, and bad years. But with God in our lives, we cannot classify our lives themselves as bad.
God has known from the dawn of time the choices we’d make. And through good and bad, He loves us.
Don’t regret where you are. It may be hard, but don’t look back. We needn’t dwell on the past because that life, that part of us, that person – is gone. We are who we are now. Let’s make the best of it, and live to be who God has created us to be.
32 Replies to “Don’t Regret Where You Are.”
Thank you, this is really encouraging. xx
I appreciate that! You are welcome. 🙂
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Reading that last half of this post, one of my favorite Francesca Battistelli songs popped into my head: “I don’t need my name in lights, I’m famous in my Father’s eyes. Make no mistake, He knows my name.” I don’t always comment on your blog but I read all your posts first thing in my inbox in the morning and love them! They’ve become my daily devotion. Keep up posting! 🙂
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Yes, I love that song! It’s such a good reminder of what’s really important.
Oh, that means so much, Emily! Thank you for that! 🙂
I loved this post! You did an amazing job. Thank you so much!
I’m so glad, Gabs. (Honestly, I wasn’t sure how it would quite turn out — it was late!) Thanks for reading. 😀
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I had so many plans for my life. By age sixteen I’d planned to be in college, be driving, have my first Rizkaland Legend published, be a successful actress, and at least have a guy to be courting (not dating – courting)
I’m now almost twenty-one. I’m not in college yet – I still have a few items of Highschool to finish. I’m not driving yet – though I now at least have a permit. I only finally released WPFP last Summer – but it was my seventh book, and I had released Sew at sixteen. I haven’t done any acting in two … three years? And there are fewer young men in my life now than there were then.
I’d promised myself that I’d never work at McDonalds, and yet I am now. It’s been two two years since I was first highered, although I did leave for six months so I could write and publish a few books.
My life has been completely unlike what I’d planned. And sometimes I resent that. Other times I’m perfectly content. I think the important part is that you continue to move forward and trust God, and not get mired in the past, or in the plans that didn’t come about.
It’s hardest to let go of the things that are most important to us. I get it. We make all these plans, and it’s tough when they don’t happen.
I often forget that good can come out of any situation. That everything is really God’s plan. If you had published WPFP at sixteen, I probably never would have even met you. (Good gracious, I’d have been eleven then too.) Keep reminding yourself that whatever you’re doing now is preparing you for the future–and that’s not a bad thing. It’s easy, like you said, to get mired in the past, but we can miss out on great things when we dwell so much on those things we so badly wanted. But when we think about it, do we want what we wanted, or what God has planned in His infinite wisdom?
Please keep reminding me of this. 😉 Thanks for commenting.
If I had published WPFP at sixteen, it would have been terrible. I needed the experience of Bookania and the Ankulen before I could write it properly. Now that I’m ready … there’s no stopping me!
Yes ma’am. Haha. We all need experience in things – I wanted to start blogging at ten or eleven, and that would have been atrocious as well.
Thank you, Amanda! I really needed this, and I almost cried as I read it. ❤
Oh, wow! Praise God that He knows what we all need to hear. That’s really cool. 🙂
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So true. Your gymnastics sounds a lot like my dance, I did practically nothing but dance until I quit just after I turned 12. I planned to do nothing but dance throughout high school. My parents decided it was just too much (and I never would have admitted it, but I was getting burned out). I didn’t really want to quit, but I’ve learned so much since then. I took art classes, took piano lessons, learned to play the violin, taught myself how to sew, actually finished writing a chapter book which led to becoming a published author, started babysitting, helped with a girls’ Bible study…so many different things I never would have had time for if I was still dancing. (Then there’s the whole Disney trip every other year thing that wouldn’t have happened either. 😉 ) Sometimes I do wonder what things would be like if I’d kept dancing, which dances I would have been in in the Nativity Ballet, what classes I could have taught, possibly dancing beyond high school even though I’d planned to stop, but that’s not where I’m supposed to be. I’m supposed to be here, with the gifts I’m using now, the people who are in my life now that I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise, and I’m okay with that.
I never really thought of The Road Not Taken that way before, but it’s very true. It also makes me think of a book I just read. It’s just a kids’ Star Wars book, Jedi Quest: The Shadow Trap, but it really has a bearing on this subject. SPOILER ALERT Anakin Skywalker feels responsible for the death of Jedi Master Yaddle. He wasn’t careful enough to avoid capture. He did what the bad guy (Granta Omega) wanted and asked Yaddle to meet with Omega. He was in danger and Yaddle saved him, and in stopping a bomb she never would have been around otherwise, she gave up her life. Anakin keeps thinking about the ifs. If he’d been aware of the thermal detonator that knocked him out. If he hadn’t dropped his lightsaber. If he hadn’t asked Yaddle to come. But Obi-Wan Kenobi (Anakin’s master) tells him not to focus on the ifs. The past can’t be changed. It’s not Anakin’s fault that Yaddle died. Dwelling on the ifs doesn’t change the fact that she’s gone. That’s what was supposed to happen. END SPOILER ALERT We can’t change the past, we can only learn from it. And really, God always has a reason for causing us to take one path over another. We’re where we are for a reason. And I’m okay with that.
Wow, they do sound alike. (And I was getting burnt out too, and it was crazy expensive.) You have done a lot, and that’s great! Like I said to Kendra, too…if you hadn’t quit dance and written your books, I would not have met you either. So I’m glad I have.
It’s easy to think about the past and wish it was different, or that we could change it, but like that book tells us, we can’t focus on what we can’t change now. And you’re right, God does have a plan for us and the things we choose, even when we think life should or could be different. Thanks for your thoughts on this!
You give clarity to these questions that we all have thought about, but we often don’t dig too deeply into….life only makes sense when we realize that God has a plan for each of us and that right now we are exactly where we are supposed to be.
Another great post.
Thank you for your comment! That’s so true. We can ponder about what things could have happened, or we can know that God’s plan is best and He is trustworthy. (It’s hard sometimes.) I really appreciated what you had to say. 🙂
Sometimes you write the things I think but don’t know how to communicate them. Please keep it up. Bob
Thanks, Grampy! 🙂 I’m really blessed to hear that, and so enjoy writing here. Thank you for reading!
Wow. Just wow. I really needed this today, thank you so so much!
I’m so glad to hear that, Chloe! Thanks for stopping by my blog. 😉
Okay, wow. All of your posts are amazing, but this one really hit home.
(But real quick, before I get into shtuff, let me just say: You’re more like Clara than I knew. o.O And I also didn’t know you sing! So do I!)
There was a time about two years ago that I looked back and started to regret what my life had been for the past nearly five years (at the time), since my family moved to Florida. It was a difficult period in my life for several reasons. I was almost fifteen years old, and since about age thirteen, I had almost completely closed myself off from my family. At that same time, our church situation had become a source of turmoil. We’d left the church we moved here to help start, our family was having relationships trouble, and that caused us to question everything. Were we wrong to move here? Had we somehow missed God’s plan? In addition to all of that, I was going through some really difficult struggles in my own personal life, and all of it was locked inside me. I was ashamed and didn’t have a relationship with my parents or really anyone I could ask to pray for me or anything. I deeply regretted those few years that had slipped away and left me alone. It’s really only been in the past year or so that things have drastically changed in my life. And since then, I’ve looked back at those other years, and started to regret them. But you know what? In the past several months I’ve been learning that God works beautiful things out of our messes. What we see as wasted time, He sees as a growth opportunity. His plans are amazing and greater than we could ever imagine. ❤
You’re so sweet, so thank you. (I know, right? I’m certain that Clara’s 100% me…XD Awesome! And I love your voice. I listened to what you linked to on GR.)
Wow. Things like that are tough–when you make a decision that you feel was right, and then it falls through. It’s so easy to question, to wonder why it didn’t work, and to regret stepping out when you realized you’ve fallen. But you are so right, and that’s a great point. His plans can form from our messes, things that we couldn’t have planned on our own. And as rough as our lives can be, it’s so worth it to trust in Him. 😉
Great post Amanda! You could of done something great for your self but you didn’t, you chose God instead. You put him first, instead of what you wanted to do! You don’t have anything to regret at all.
Wow, Amanda, here I am scrolling through your blog, and your posts continue to speak straight to my heart! 🙂 This is once again exactly what I need to hear at the point where I am now, and it encourages me so much to read about what you’ve learned from the part of your story that you so openly shared. Because just like you, I feel too young to have “a past,” but there have been incredibly hard things with bad memories – and I need to be reminded to face forward and not look back or dwell on what’s past. Thank you for this timely wisdom and truth!!
Thank you so much! I’m so blessed to hear that my blog is speaking to you. Praise God that we don’t have to stay stuck in the past, because that’s so easy to do, unfortunately. God bless! 😀