Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Effects of Regret on Showering by Candlelight

When we returned from our vacation in the alps reality smacked us in the face in the form of a power outage. As I type my computer is plugged in to an outlet in the hallway of our apartment building because the electricity to our unit was shut off while we were gone. We came home to liquid ice-cubes, a room temperature refrigerator, and total darkness.

Our power was turned off because we have not paid our bill. We were not ignoring bills, we simply never received one. I would like to say that we were so overwhelmed with life and school that we didn't even notice we were not receiving electric bills, but that would be a lie. We were very aware. We even asked several friends and colleagues about electric bills, since we were concerned that we had not received one. We were told not to worry about it, because in France the electric company often only sends bills once a year. It seems that we did not get totally accurate information. And I do not blame anyone but myself.

Why? Because I KNEW in my knower that something was amiss. I knew down in my gut, and I failed to do anything about it. I am not a worrier, but I could not let go of the feeling that we needed to further investigate the absence of an electric bill these past three months. And still, I did nothing.


I regret ignoring my..., my...., well, my instincts, I guess. Or my common sense? Or was it the Holy Spirit I ignored? Either way, I am filled with regret. And I hate regret.

I try really hard to live a life that is free of regret. That means I am intentional about what I do, and perhaps more importantly, I embrace what IS. I choose to like my life, to delight in my circumstances, and to accept my fate. But then there are those moments when, despite my best efforts, I make a bad choice, and I CANNOT like the outcome.

I have dealt with power-outages in the past, most often as the result of bad weather. In those instances, I could carpe diem! I found the candle light romantic, we played non-electronic games as a family, we ate take-out. It was an adventure. But my response this time was quite the opposite. I resented having to shower by candle-light, and I was disgusted that the change in eating plans obliterated my grocery budget for the month.
So I wonder why I can enjoy a power outage that is not my fault but I despise one that is my fault. I mean, the resulting circumstance is the same, no? But in one circumstance I am innocent and in the other I am culpable. And my guilt produces regret. And regret is a nasty thief. Regret makes me loathe myself and binds me to my mistakes. But there is hope....

Jesus came to free me not only from my sin, but from the GUILT of my sin. With Jesus, regret has no power over me.

I said, "I will confess
my transgressions to the LORD"--
and you forgave
the guilt of my sin.

So, I stopped licking my wounds. David and I apologized to the boys for our oversight which resulted in this inconvenience (NOT tragedy) and we started looking on the bright side:

  • By taking our suitcases full of dirty clothes to the laundry mat we had piles of clean clothes in 2 hours instead of in 2 days, which is what it would have taken in our tiny washer at home.
  • We finally got to try the Kebab take-out restaurant in Chilly-Mazarin.
  • An outlet in the hallway outside of our apartment is close enough for us to reach via an extension cord. We are utilizing this source of power for a few necessities.
  • We are warm and have had hot showers because heat and water are centrally controlled...and we are very thankful for both of those luxuries.
You see God is faithful despite my mistakes. When I mess up, He doesn't force me to sit in a puddle of regret. He says, "Repent! Get up! Shake it off! Learn! And move forward."

And so I have.

1 comment:

  1. thank you for sharing your frustration and the encouragement to move beyond and receive the grace of our loving God...I have been thinking of your family lately though I've only seen you once when you were leaving, however, I saw your family's mission to France paper on the fridge of a family I'm very close with (Ladines,whose father David is the pastor in spangle)so I figure that God has your family on my heart for a reason! I just wanted to let you know I am keeping you all in my prayers.....jeeesh.enough said for me! God bless!!!!!!!