By Kenneth Stepp
I had a friend years ago who coined a phrase that stuck with me. He inherited a failing heating and cooling company when his father died. He’d been working in it as his siblings did as well. When his dad passed away, he took the helm. Nothing came easy. He righted the ship and as we spoke of it, I asked how he did it. I woke up every morning and did the next right thing.
My friend’s words rang in my ears for a long time, now they are part of my mantra. As I prayed this morning, I call it focused prayer because I stop everything and go to my knees, I began speaking. I live with so many regrets and ask God’s help in dealing with them. My prayer ended today with, Father, you know my regrets, please help me not to create new ones today. Those words rang in my ears the way, the next right thing, did.
Why do we live with regrets? Do we not forgive ourselves of our mistakes? I think it’s so much deeper than that. My regrets have a pile on component to them. First, God has somehow made me an empath. I care too deeply, too quickly, and try to do too much beyond my ability for others. This has never felt like a blessing. I also have to control urges to help the unhelpable.
I believe another issue is that my heart stays too exposed to others. I like pretty much everyone I come across. Because of that, I over invest and almost always pay a price for it. I tend to care more than they do. I have with wisdom, began removing them from my life. When a human being becomes a regret, it needs to be fixed, distance seems to help me in this regard.
I’ve been fortunate to have 4 people in my life that I have a balanced relationship with. 4 amazing individuals I love and care deeply for. Of course, I search the world for more, but they are like unicorns. Hard to even verify they exist. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for them though. I believe they feel the same for me.
Regrets are awful things that we all endure daily. What makes them worse is that many of us become regret manufacturers. What causes this? A lack of integrity, or maybe a lapse. Also, loneliness, need, and I believe distractions are the impetus for most of them. There are so many distractions. As a single man there are many.
I can become distracted by almost anything. Business or the thought of a twist in business. I love competing and the business arena is the absolute best place to compare your abilities with others. I’m a retired fighter and use to get that fix in the ring. I was forced to quit in January 2014 at an age I had no business anywhere near a fight. But there I was, proving myself to myself.
Most everyone reading this is single and an adult, so I’ll admit to other distractions. Sexual in nature. As a single man alive in social media, I have distractions every day of my life. I have learned, finally, to see them only as distraction. They aren’t real unless I allow them to be. I’ve grown enough in God not to succumb to those temptations. Strangers aren’t seen as quests any longer. It wasn’t always this way.
So as I begin my day asking my father to remind me not to create more regrets, I am thankful for His spirit that reminded me to ask that. The trinity is for me, connecting the dots and together, they guide me to do the next right thing.
“Father, shine your light on the path you want me on, not the path with distractions meant to ensnare me”