1, I’d more ruthlessly guard my heart against sin. As a young man, I viewed one hard-core porn movie. That God forgave me is unquestionable. Yet even forgiven sins have consequences. The consequence comes in the form of a lifelong vulnerability to temptation in the sexual sphere, despite having a wife that makes me the envy of other men. Certainly I’ve been physically faithful to her, yet decades later, that videotape buried in my mind replays scenes from that flick. I believe this realm of spiritual battle, which all men encounter, is more heated for me because of my exposure to those gross scenes.
If you haven’t exposed yourself to such a video, please heed my warning. If you have, like me, keep an accountability partner who will consistently ask you hard questions about personal purity.
2. I’d maintain a more consistent time of family worship with my wife and two sons (now 38 and 40 years old). Through my sons’ elementary years, we met together two or three times a week. But during the middle school and high school years, jam-packed schedules, complemented by their declining interest in such family times, negatively affected my initiative for family worship. Oh, if I could do it over again I’d be a stronger, less passive leader in my home. I’d at least gather us for my reading of one chapter from God’s Word; my sharing of one truth I saw and its application to us; and I’d solicit needs from them for which I could pray, and tell them how they could pray for Dolly and me–all in a 15 minute span. I wouldn’t fret over how creative I was nor allow their disinterest from keeping me from the family time.
I can’t recapture those years, but in conversation or letters today, I can still share with my sons, in a winsome manner, something God is teaching me from His Word, and I can assure them that I pray for them regularly.
3. I’d pray more often with my wife, Dolly. Though we’ve managed consistency in our individual quiet times with the Lord, we haven’t regularly prayed together nor shared with each other what God is teaching us in our individual devotions. I’m not saying it never happens, just that our own intimacy as a couple has been compromised because I’ve been too passive, and haven’t called us together to pray at least weekly.
When it comes to this third item, it’s never too late to do what is right. Whether or not you know me personally, you have my permission to hold me accountable for at least a weekly time of prayer with my bride of 44 years.
4, I’d get a dog much earlier in life. Not until I turned 57 did we obtain Farley, our 8-year-old dachshund. What a thrill to be greeted so enthusiastically every single time I enter my house! How special I feel when he follows me around the house, wanting to sit with me whether I’m in my office or in the den–or taking a nap on the bed! The gift of his unconditional love and presence is especially meaningful in view of chronic depression over the years. “Father, make me half the man that Farley thinks I am!”
On my website,www.terrydpowell.com, visit the blog archives for January 2015 and read the post, “Farley and Me.” There I describe two relationship lessons taught to me by Farley.
If you were starting over, what would YOU do differently? Can you do something about any of those regrets NOW?