My dad used to say often, “If I had to do over again …” He was a perfectionist when it came to working with wood or various fix-it jobs.

Some people say, “I wouldn’t change a thing,” when asked about their life’s path. When I hear that, I think, “Really? Nothing?”

We can live life either as a person always second guessing or as someone who never takes a serious look at bad decisions. The key is knowing how to learn from past mistakes and at the same time let the past be the past.

One time I was on the beach and watched a couple of dogs frolic in the sand and I thought, “Dogs don’t feel regret” (I know, I have a weird mind). They don’t sit around and lament lost chances, failed adventures or broken relationships. They live in the moment.

I don’t want to be a dog, but dogs may have something to teach us about living in the moment: Live it to the fullest, enjoy it, be grateful, make the most of each day.

Yet, God put a memory in us for a reason, and also a conscience. God wants our conscience to be directed by the Holy Spirit. The Bible speaks a lot about training in righteousness and growing in faith.

There it is again — a call to live life in balance. That balance is being fully present in the moment, but also aware that our choices do shape us. Bad choices from the past can be forgiven and hopefully most of the bad choices in the future can be avoided, but only if we are intentional about living in the Spirit-guided present.

Faith is followed by action.

Learning from what is behind, let us press forward to God’s best for our future!

Paul Almquist is pastor of West Chehalem Friends Church

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