Twenties’ Top Three Regrets

My days as a thirty year old are numbered. And thoughts of entering my thirty-somethings has me reflecting on my twenties – the good, the bad and the ugly. Well, mostly the bad and the ugly actually. After this post I promised myself to turn my focus to the good so I can give God the glory He deserves. And yet, even in the bad and ugly, God shines through as a faithful Friend and Father!

Now, let me preface this (I’m the queen of prefaces by the way and my prefacing skills are only being honed by academia! haha). Several years ago, I had a conversation with someone who told me that he had absolutely no regrets from his life. Well, then, you’ve lived a perfect life, I retorted. To which he responded that it’s not that his life had been perfect, but that he had seen God work, even through his mistakes.

A post about regrets does not discount the marvelous ways in which God gives beauty for ashes. Quite the contrary! If you don’t realize that what you brought to the table was ashes, you won’t truly appreciate the beauty God’s created. So I will not go into details about my sooty, nasty, ashes, but they’re part of my testimony of the grace, mercy and kindness of God to me! Funny thing is, even though they’re different, all the regrets are the same…Anyways,

here we go:

1. Academics

Truth be told, I scraped my way through college. Not for lack of mental aptitude. But somehow, between middle school and college, I lost my focus. There were glimpses of potential along the way, but I failed to improve my opportunities. Knowing now, as I do, that our excellent performance in the classroom is a witness for God, my heart aches for the impact I could have had on my schoolmates! Wasted opportunities galore. All because I did not have the discipline to apply myself to the task God had given to me.

2. Boys

Every single dating relationship I have had registers as a regret (well, maybe with one exception…maybe). Each time, I went into it without consulting God. Each time someone got hurt. Sometimes I knew, beyond a doubt, it was not the right thing to do but I did it anyway, in spite of counsel to the contrary from dear friends, the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. I regret the unnecessary and irreparable damage done because of my stubborn insistence on having things my way.

3. Calling

During my sophomore year of college, I sensed God calling me to take a year off of school to get Campus Ministry training. There were practical and logical reasons why I shouldn’t…but then there was the call!
I didn’t obey.
The next year was probably the worst year of my 20s – I almost lost my faith altogether. I should have obeyed. No matter what the cost. Nothing is worth losing God for!

These are not the only awful things I’ve done in my life. Oh no, no, not by a long shot. But, I think I most regret these because in each instance, it was clear to me the right thing to do but I chose to disobey. How does a Christian explain the choice to disobey God? I can’t! It makes no sense. It’s like Ellen White says in the Great Controversy:

“Sin is an intruder, for whose presence no reason can be given. It is mysterious, unaccountable; to excuse it is to defend it. Could excuse for it be found, or cause be shown for its existence, it would cease to be sin.” GC  492

Yet through all the foolishness of my twenties, God stuck with me. He stuck with me. And He is still with me. What a faithful God we serve! It is my privilege to love Him.

how was GYC?

A conversation I had with a Croatian friend of mine during our first year of college in the US stands out. She said, “Sikhu, I don’t understand why Americans ask, ‘how are you?’ when they don’t really want to hear your answer!” She would actually take the time to craft a meaningful response to their question, but by the time she opened her mouth, they had already moved on.

Over the years, I’ve developed quick responses designed to be more descriptive of my true state of being. For instance, “I’m awake” = Waking up was rough, this morning, but here I stand nonetheless/I’m really sleepy and would like to get to bed soon! Or, “Can’t complain” = Things aren’t going the way I’d like but because I trust God is in control, any complaints would be unwarranted. So when I say that “I’m doing well, actually,” it means that I’m actually doing well!

Another one of those #Idon’treallyexpectananswer questions is the post-vacation “how was break?” or in my case, for those that know I went to GYC, it’s “how was GYC?” My quick response for that one has been, “It was different!” Sometimes people actually want to know how GYC was for me, and they’ll inquire further as to my meaning, but sometimes, it was just a conversation filler (and that’s ok!) For those who are actually interested in knowing what GYC was like for me this year, I’ll share a bit of my experience.

For starters, although I’ve always volunteered for GYC, this year was a different kind of volunteer experience. You see, several months ago, JMac called and invited me to be the morning devotional speaker for the Conference. After talking with God, a LOT, about it, I agreed to do it, only if 1. He wouldn’t make me do it alone i.e. He’d be with me the whole way and 2. He’d be fine with it being me up there speaking – I couldn’t be anyone other than myself and I’d do it if He was fine with that.

The first morning I had to speak, I was so scared. So I just kept reading the texts that bring me comfort anytime I have to speak for God (Ex 4:12, Jer 1:4-9). Standing there in front of everyone, the thought struck me, “this wasn’t a joke! it’s for real I’m supposed to speak now!” Then I remembered God’s instruction to Jeremiah not to be afraid of their faces and the fear dissipated.

I must not have gotten enough sleep that night because waking up was very challenging the next morning. By the time I had to speak, my mind felt so foggy, I had no clue if what I was about to say would make sense. Praying that God would help me, I went up and, after the fact, I knew God had helped me because my mind was clear the whole time I was up there.

But then day 3 and 4 of speaking came with challenges unique to any of the times I’ve ever spoken in public. Never, before, had I preached while sick but on that Sabbath morning, I woke up and my body was just not right. The fever that had started the night before hadn’t broken, my body ached and I knew I’d need God’s help in a unique way.

Having spent the day resting, I hoped my body would be back on my side Sunday morning but that was not to be the case. When I woke up Sunday morning, my voice was gone. Now, music was always my thing growing up, and I’ve had situations where I had to sing a solo but I was so sick I had no voice, yet when the critical time came, a voice emerged. But never before had this happened to me before preaching. And singing a 3-5minute song is one thing…preaching for 45minutes is quite another!

Many prayers were ascending in my behalf that morning and God came through once again. No voice before and after speaking, but the record shows that something came out of my mouth that morning.

I have committed and continue to commit the messages that God used me to share at this past conference. Maybe they can help someone in their spiritual journey. In the miraculous way God works, I know it’s quite possible they could bless someone.

But as for me, I learnt a new way of depending on God at this past conference. I learnt that if we give Him our meagre selves, He could do something miraculous in our behalf. I learnt that even though I’m so small and, in the broad scope of things, apparently insignificant, God would condescend to let me work with Him. I learnt that it really is sweet to trust in Jesus.

So for me, this year, GYC was way different!