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Living Without Regret

I recently read a very telling article about the most common regrets of the dying.

Bonnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last twelve weeks of their lives.  She writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom.

Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.  ( most common regret)

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. – came from every male patient

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying – Bonnie Ware

It makes you think, doesn’t it?  I mean, each of us has a limited time on this earth and none of us know when we will take our last breath. Jesus says that He came “that we may have life, and have it to the full.”  One translation calls it “a rich and satisfying life” Another translation calls it “abundant.”  

So, I ask myself this  – Does an abundant life include regret? I am a child of God. God has richly supplied all that I need in this life.  I have His Word to direct me and His spirit within me. I don’t want to “wish I had..” on my deathbed. I want to rest. I want to anticipate being in God’s presence for eternity.

This is truth: Christ died for me and in Him alone, can I experience an abundant and rich life.

1. There is no one else like me. God has given me freedom to be myself. I’m not driven by other people’s expectations, nor by all the “shoulds” in this world.

2. In Christ, there is balance.  There is a time to play, a time to work and a time to rest.

3. I don’t fear for He did not give me a spirit of timidity but one of power and love and self control. I can be authentic. I can express my feelings and I can empathize with others.

4. I am not going through this life by myself. God has created community. I need others and others need me. I have rich, meaningful relationships.

5. I can be silly. Life isn’t all serious. I can laugh at myself and find humor in life. I can experience happiness but more importantly, I can live joyfully – above all circumstances in this broken world.

“Abundant” –  abounding, big, bountiful, enough, expansive, extensive, full, galore, generous, great, large, lavish, no end, plentiful, rich, roomy, unrestricted, free. This is what I desire.

Abundant life in Christ is freedom from regret when I face death.

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