Monday, August 5, 2013

You Didn't Waste Your Time

Regret. Maybe you poured yourself into a job that was a dead end. Maybe you were in a long-term relationship that ended poorly. Maybe you spent thousands of dollars on an education that doesn't seem useful or applicable in your present life.

You look back at that time and shake your head, wishing you had made different choices. You spent time, energy, and money, and for what? You have nothing to show for it except frustration, heartache, and perhaps an overwhelming amount of debt. If you could visit your younger self, you would say, "No! That is going to be pointless. Do it a different way. Listen to the advice of so-and-so who has a better plan."

What a waste. Or is it?

I have my Master's degree in school psychology. I haven't been employed as a school psychologist since earning that degree. I used my education for the year I worked in social services (educational advocate for kids in foster care), but I haven't brought home a pay check in over two years. I have no plans to return to employment. It would be easy to look at the three years and roughly $10,000 I spent on that degree and see it as a waste of resources.

Better than a paycheck

I know better. I grew significantly during those three years. I learned about how the education system works, about my classmates from widely varied backgrounds, and about myself. My relationship with my husband deepened during that time, as we dated, got engaged, and got married. I learned more about living independently, both financially and emotionally.

I thought when I chose grad school over seeking employment with a BA that I was following what God wanted. I still think so. Even if I was wrong, though, it would not have been a waste. God takes all our experiences and uses them to shape us into who we are. Whether your regret is relational, professional, or something else altogether, let it go.

It wasn't a waste. You would not be you without that experience.

Maybe as a result, you've been motivated to learn something new. Maybe you turned to God or brought your faith to a new level. Maybe you learned that, in fact, you can live without that person. Move forward with your life. Let go of the bitterness and anger that have been following you.

That experience wasn't a waste. Holding onto regret will be.


  1. You cannot take back experience an knowledge you gain in different situations - it shapes the person you are. Totally agree!

  2. Precious children! I love their names. Our youngest boy is named Peter too.