25. The Other Side of Regret

I just got finished talking about regrets and how they often come in the form of bad decisions we’ve made that resulted in consequences that we would’ve preferred to avoid. But that’s only one side of the equation.

How many times have you looked back on your life and asked the question, “What if ____________?” I mean, that question can really become all-consuming and cause us to lose so much time and energy. Not only is there nothing we can do about the past, but it also prevents us from seeing clearly the opportunities right in front of us. 

I heard someone say “the highest price you can pay for a mistake is being afraid to make one.” The last thing any of us want to do is to miss out on something because we were afraid. Maybe we’re scared of making the wrong decision. Maybe we’re afraid of what we might miss out on if we choose one thing over another. I can’t count how many times I’ve paid the price because I was paralyzed by fear about a decision to the point of missing the opportunity to make it at all. This becomes even more difficult when we realize that being afraid to make decisions can come in the form of something huge like a major life change, but also in something as small as whether or not you should make a certain purchase or hang out with a certain friend.

One such experience that I’ve personally had was when I decided to quit my full-time job at Budweiser. I know I’ve talked a lot about my time there, but I learned many life lessons in that season, both on the job and off. For a while, my coworkers and superiors saw me as immature and/or just someone who didn’t take what I was doing very seriously. After a few months of working there, I did reach a point where I began to truly enjoy what I was doing and started to see this as a career. At the time, all I had was a car payment and a cell phone bill while I was still living at home. Because I didn’t have to spend a whole lot of money on expenses, my money basically went to whatever I felt like spending it on in that moment. I vaguely recall my parents briefly telling me about creating a budget and learning the discipline of saving money for the future, but there was too many things I wanted to buy in order to “keep up” with what my friends were doing. Because of this, I was setting myself up for failure, though I didn’t realize it at the time. 

I went to work one day and my boss had informed me that I wouldn’t be riding along on my normal delivery truck. They needed me to load up a van with some cases of beer and a few kegs because there were some liquor stores that were running low and weren’t expecting a delivery soon, so I had to bring them some extra beer to tie them over. No big deal. As I went about my day, I eventually came to my last stop in Tifton at a liquor store that needed two or three kegs for their regular customer who liked to get a keg each week. Because I was on my own and I had been taking my job more seriously, I wanted to get my route finished quickly to show my boss that I was out goofing around. I was walking back out to the beer van to get the last keg and bring it inside, and I hastily decided to manhandle the keg straight from the can to the hand truck instead of using the proper lifting technique to safely move it. A full half-barrel keg weighs about 150 lbs. and even for a bigger guy, it’s not wise to do what I did. Long story short, I dead-lifted the keg but it quickly dropped down in the direction that I was aiming for and landed flat on the lip of the hand truck. In the process, my upper body followed the keg, placing my head right in front of the vertical body of the truck and when the keg made contact with the base, it caused the vertical body to jerk forward and smack me right in the head. 

A few weeks later, (forgive me if I’ve shared this story previously) I woke up one morning to the worst shooting pain in my back that I remember literally causing me to almost levitate out of bed in the worst panic. I remember the pain lasting several moments before it subsided, so I went about my morning getting ready for work. Luckily, the route I was working that day was in town so I wasn’t far from the chiropractor. In fact, around 10am, we had just pulled up to a convenience store one mile down the road from the doctor that I would end up going to visit. I was following the beer truck in a “chase van,” and as I turned in my seat to get out, I remember stepping on the ground and start limping. It began to hurt tremendously to walk across the parking lot. After a brief call to my supervisor, he told me to take the van and go to the doctor, where I had X-Rays done and a checkup to see what was going on. Upon reviewing the scans, the chiropractor sent me back to the office with a report stating that I needed to stay away from heavy lifting and take it easy for the next few weeks. Unbeknownst to me and other coworkers at the time, the owner of our company was finalizing the process of buying out one of what would be many distributor acquisitions over the next few years, and they were working on redoing the territory maps to accommodate the new warehouses. 

My boss offered to let me begin learning that side of the business and helping with those tasks in order to keep my job, which I did for about a month. This opportunity was perfect because I could work in the business that I had come to love and enjoy and still make good money. Somewhere in that second month, I made the very premature decision that I could do better than this or some other crazy, illogical thought and pulled my manager aside and told him that I was going to begin looking for another opportunity. 

Had I decided to stay, I feel as though there would have been a good chance that I could still be working at one of the many locations they now have and have had the opportunity to make really good money and see advances in my career. The other side of this regret is simply that I have reached the place in my life that I’m at because of all the decisions I made over the past eleven years, not due to this singular decision to quit Budweiser. God had a plan for everything and I eventually hit rock bottom, rose up and met Hannah and we got married and had our beautiful baby boy and now here we are. This is why I try so hard to not see these types of situations as regrets. I am where I am because of so many choices and circumstances and I now just look back and thank Him for what I’ve learned. 

If you’re wrestling with a decision, or like me, in a situation where you may think you can have it better if you just do something else, my challenge to you is to stop and, if you are a person of prayer, to pray long and hard about the decision before you. You likely are in a haste because you feel that you don’t have time to stop and pray. If you’re working in a job that is paying the bills, whether you enjoy it or not, let that be your cue to hang tight and trust that you will end up in a much better place by simply being patient and really taking the time to weigh out all of the pros and cons of what you’re trying to accomplish by making a big decision. If you are a follower of Jesus and His teachings, you’ll understand that everything happens in His perfect timing, if you’re willing to put your faith and trust in Him and not on your limited understanding and perspective. 

Philippians 4:11 (ESV) says: “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” There are many other verses about God’s timing and His will for your life, but I think this perfectly sums up how you should live your life, as I should live my own. God, at all times, has you right where He needs and wants you to be, and even when times are hard and the weight of life’s pressures are seemingly insurmountable, He will bring you to peace and understanding if you’ll just trust that He knows what He is doing!

I hope this helps and if you know someone who is facing a hard time and could use some encouragement, please share this post with them. A big part of why I write this blog is to take the lessons I’ve learned and to make sure that I allow my experiences to help someone else avoid unnecessary trouble by simply being patient and trusting in God for all of their needs!

Until next week, I hope you have a great weekend and joy this cooler weather!

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