Tag Archives: opportunities

Five Ways To Avoid Regret




Years ago, when I was still in college in Ohio, I’d go home during the summer to find a temporary job.

At the beginning of my senior year I talked with another music major in the conservatory about what we’d done for our summers. I had worked at a self-serve gas station. My friend told me about her three months working at a national park in Montana. She had cleaned rooms and served food at a lodge. During her free hours, she and some other music theater students had rehearsed skits and songs that they later performed for some of the guests at the lodge. My friend looked refreshed and happy. She fairly glowed as she told me about her experiences.

As she told me what her summer had looked like, I felt a huge sinking inside my chest. I had missed out on an exciting opportunity where I could have used my musical talent, gained some valuable experience, and enjoyed a season living in one of the country’s most beautiful parks.

Why hadn’t I done more research about the possible summer jobs for college students? Why hadn’t I been at the right place at the right time to hear about national park jobs? (This was way before one could do a google search on the computer.)

Of course, this wasn’t the first, or the last time I would miss out on an opportunity.

I’ve thought to myself many times that it’s not the things I’ve done I regret; it’s the things I haven’t done that haunts me, and might plague me at the end of my life.

Today, most of the times when I miss out it’s because  I’m living on auto pilot. When I forget to live intentionally, and fearlessly:

  1. to really hear when people talk
  2. to ask questions everywhere I go
  3. to reflect on what’s the very best that I can do, (I always find this “best” in the Bible.) not just what’s okay, or good enough
  4. to pray to God each day: “What do you have for me to do this day? I’m listening.”
  5. to obey God’s gentle nudge to volunteer, join, phone, invite, help, host, befriend, etc.

I don’t want to look back with regret. To kick myself because I was too afraid, or too unwilling to give up some emotional or physical comfort in order to respond to God’s call to do my “best.”

I remind myself every day: It’s not usually what I do that I regret (okay, maybe sometimes); it’s what I don’t do that fills me with regret.

Five ways to avoid regret?

Remember HARPO:

Hear, Ask, Reflect, Pray, Obey.





What I Didn’t Do

During my senior year at Oberlin College, a friend had just gotten back from her summer job working at a national park in the west.

She said that she’d been able to rehearse with other singers and actors to perform skits and songs for park campers. The young employees all lived in cabins, and in their free time they were allowed to ride horses, go hiking, and play sports.


My summer had been spent working at a self-serve gas station as a cashier.


I so regretted that I hadn’t checked out other summer job opportunities, like my friend.

I was afraid of unfamiliar thing so I chose to do the safe thing and go home to live with my parents for the summer.

There aren’t too many activities that I regret taking part in.

The things I regret are what I never did. Usually because of fear or insecurity in my own abilities.

Or God’s ability to sustain me.

  • Opportunities
  • Invitations
  • Auditions
  • Risky Ventures
  • Relationships
  • Ministries

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve jumped into more and more life challenges that I might have shrunk from when I was younger.

My biggest fear is looking back with regret at what could have been.

Are you like me?

Are you taking more risks now when God calls you?

Are you willing to trust God when He calls?

Are you determined not to look back with regret?

Can you shake your fist at fear?

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes.” (Jer. 17: 7,8 NIV Bible)